Friday, June 12, 2009

The Dog Parkist Rides Yet Again

Q: I'm kind of embarrassed to ask this question, Dog Parkist. I love my dog but he is not the brightest tube of neon. In fact, he's kind of a spaz, and the other dogs at Dog Park don't really know how to react to him. What should I do? How can I make my dog fit in at Dog Park?
—At My Twit's End

A: Dearest, dearest AMTE, please don't be embarrassed by either your question or your dog. God has a special place in her heart for good people like you who not only tolerate, but also love and care for dogs that are, for lack of a better term,  'tards. The fact is that you take the burden off of those of us who simply can't imagine how to handle a dog that is anything less than a genius. Point of fact, both my dogs are honor students at Highland Park Elementary School. (Go Westies!) I wouldn't even know to address a dog that couldn't keep one paw in its lap while seated at the dinner table. So good on you. 

Still, context is everything for your doofus dog. Is he perhaps more doofus-y at Dog Park than when at home watching cooking programs on the Create channel? Perhaps he simply feels overwhelmed by all the talented, intelligent, overly stimulated dogs that surround him and bare their teeth at his throat. The Dog Parkist certainly understands. She once knew a girl long ago who was dispatched to a class called Special Gym. No one explained why she had to spend twenty minutes a week catching a red rubber ball with one hand while standing in a circle of children of mixed abilities. Of course she had no eye-hand coordination. Because of her coke-bottle glasses and poorly patched broken front tooth, her mother had routinely forbidden her to move, let alone play with other children. "Watch the tooth and the glasses" were the words she learned to live by. So, instead of throwing, running, catching, and dating, she sat quietly and read books. Eventually, she grew up to become a woman almost as intelligent and well-regarded as the Dog Parkist herself. Sigh. The Dog Parkist loves a happy ending. 

So my point is, dear, perhaps you need to find a different outlet for your dog's special needs. Perhaps all he needs is some quiet time in which to become introspective and bookish. You may ask, "What is the equivalent of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte for dogs?" Discovering the answer to that question may be you and your dog's spiritual journey, and it may make secure your dog's reincarnation as the Michael Jordan of dogs in his next go 'round on the wheel of life. In the meantime,  it is important for your dog to learn some social skills and develop some confidence. Suggest that he limit his sniffing of other dog's (and owner's) butts to under ten seconds. Also,  he ought not to charge up and stick his big drooly face in other dogs' personal space, especially the parts that contain sharp fangs. A little reticence and hesitation might make him more alluring to the others. So might a more delicate aftershave. Good luck, my dear; we all know that you'll need it. 

Dear Readers: The Dog Parkist thanks you for all your outpouring of support. Please keep the questions and candygrams coming. 


  1. What about those dogs that crawl under the gate to bark at cows? Or that display suicidal tendencies as they chase cars down the driveway? Clearly my dog is not scoring off the charts on the doggie SATs.

  2. Parkist, you are so wise!

    My dogs are, of course, A+ students but I suppose that learning to deal with the "unfortunate afflicted" is good for their doggie constitutions.

    We will try to be compassionate when dealing with the chipped-tooth, coke bottle crowd and not mutter, "what a spaz" under our collective breath when we pass them on the trail.


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