Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Dog Parkist: Dating? At Dog Park?

Q: There's a person I like at the Dog Park, and, well, I just don't know what to do. May I ask this person out? I do not consider the Dog Park to be a "scene," but it is one place where I meet people who seem pretty sane and who obviously love dogs. 
—Sleepless at Dog Park

A: Well, Sleepless, first of all let me express relief that your interest is in a person, not a dog—although the Dog Parkist herself is the first to admit that dogs are much more likable and reasonable and better behaved than most human beings she has known and married. Second, the Dog Parkist is touched that you are seeking her permission before inviting a fellow Parker on an outing that may or may not lead to non-dog related activities, such as viewing a motion picture, fine dining, or hand-holding. Really. I'm moved, if not completely qualified to answer. But before you expose yourself to potential rejection—or, of course, ecstasy—, let's consider a few things, shall we? 

First, you are right. For whatever reason, the Dog Park is not a "scene." There was a time, many years ago, when the Park was the backdrop of a romantic couple's illicit passion. I never learned the individuals' names; in fact, I never saw their faces, as they were glued together in a most disgustingly slurpy fashion. The man, who was married, apparently told his wife he was going running, and thus donned inexcusably short running pants in order to jog his flabby self to the Park and into the waiting arms of his lover, an indiscriminate blonde whose dog went quite ignored during their encounters. Much groping and sucking ensued. Ick, ick, and ick. It was a horrible sight to behold, Sleepless; I can't begin to tell you. The offending parties have since departed Dog Park, and the romantic possibilities there dwindled considerably. At most, Dog Park has spawned only one or two relationships whose participants still currently speak to one another, which is probably better odds than the gene pool at, say, the office or the cereal aisle of your local grocery store. ("You like Koko Krispies, too? Awesome! We must be soulmates.")

But back to you. If you are a reasonable adult of sound mind (let's leave the body of it, please), then you may proceed with the asking out of the individual of your choice. I wish you all the best. I'm sure the object of your affection is a wonderful, caring individual with a robust sense of humor,  a paying job (a veterinarian, you say? Mazel tov! Well done!), and dogs that make room for guests on the bed. But please forgive me. I must point out an obvious and painful fact: If you break up, one of you will have to give up the Dog Park. 

Please don't look at the Dog Parkist as if she's just stepped on your tail with cleats. She's a realist. Even if you and your intended are the most humane, decent, and open-minded people on the planet, Dog Park is turf, and you will tussle over it, as if it were a rope toy or a piece of mummified squirrel. And it will not be pretty. The Dog Park is a community. Don't ruin it for the others, my dear. If you do, Crazy Guy and the terrorists win. Thanks for writing!

Dear Readers: The Dog Parkist thanks you profusely for your continued interest in her humble proclamations. She welcomes questions, comments, and rebuttals, provided they are written in grammatically correct English. Ta!  


  1. As usual, Dog Parkist, you are right on target. I noticed, however, that you neglected to warn them about the dangers of rolling about in Dog Park during poison ivy season. Coincidence?

  2. Sorry Parkist, but I have to disagree on this: "If you break up, one of you will have to give up the Dog Park."

    It doesn't have to be so and if you are mature about the non-start or breakup and can remain friendly you then have someone who you can trust to swing by your house and pick up your dogs and take them to the park when you go on vacation! Not naming names, but it has been done.

    Married trysts aside, I would love to hear a story that starts, "we met at the dog park..."

  3. But it worked so well in 101 Dalmations . . .


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