Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sit Back and Enjoy

No explanation necessary.  Just click and enjoy. Have a good weekend. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

When It's 109 degrees . . .

 . . . do you think to yourself, "I ought to move to Dallas?" (Granted, the heat makes you lightheaded and unfit for serious decision-making.)

Well, according to Erica (Joey and Coco), it might be a smart idea because Dallas is home to an enormous indoor dog park complex—the first of its kind. Here are some photos from the Web site of Unleashed Indoor Dog Parks. (To see more photos, look here. To see a few reviews from visitors, see here.) The facility—just minutes from downtown Dallas—boasts 2,500 square interior feet and 2.5 acres for outside play.

Wow, right? Apparently, the complex contains a very special and intense cleaning and deodorizing system that allows for hundreds of dogs to do their biz on material that looks like astroturf. The park also has a cafe, lounge, and a pet supply store, and there is day care and grooming services on-site. The cost for the park itself is $7.50 per dog per day, with unlimited number of visits per day. Dogs must be pre-registered, and owners must show that all vaccinations and flea/tick preventatives are up-to-date. Interestingly, no pit bulls are allowed. 

The whole thing looks amazing. It seems so Dallas, too. "Darlin', it's just too hot to walk them dawgs. Why, oh why, cain't somebody invent a state-of-the-art, indoor, air-conditioned dog park?"  Whereas Austinites are all about the sweat. That's why they jog along Lamar Boulevard at lunch hour in August and race in bright spandex pants down Bull Creek (Le Tour de Bull Creek) on their way to work at the University or the State. Austinites say, "Why hold outdoor music and food festivals during the cool autumn or winter months. Let's gather with 5,000 of our closest friends and sweat! It's organic!"

I love A/C as much as anybody, but I gotta say that the photos of all those people and dogs inside the indoor dog park building make me feel a little claustrophobic. At least we've got 80-some acres to sweat in at our Dog Park. So we'll continue to brave Dog Park in the triple digit heat because like all things Texan, it's not easy; it's the cowboy way. Yee haw, everybody. Stay cool.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Roma Speaks: Meet Some Dogs

What? You want me to do what now?? You're kidding. Why can't you do it? Fine. Okay. I said fine

Since Herself seems disinclined to write today's blog, I, Roma-dog, will do it

Meet these guys. The tough one is Bandit. She's all right. I respect her. She doesn't take any guff. Now, it's kind  of a mixed message when the guy puts the water down in front of me and then she tries to bite my head off, but I get it. It's a turf thing. I'll just go over here to this other water bowl. Fine by me. Okey-dokey.

The other two don't bother me. They're okay by me. They mop the place up with that Muzzy character. Muzzy. What's the deal? Everybody's got to grab that kid by the ears and talk in swoopy voices. "Oh, Muzzy, you're sooo cyooote." I was never cute. Cute is kids' stuff. I had a litter of puppies and was shipped off to the shelter before I was year old. But I was patient. I didn't bark or whine or do any of that stupid doggie stuff at the shelter. I waited until the right mark walked in the door and then I bagged her. I wanted one I could push around, give the cold paw to, and get away with murder. And I did, too, for a while. Then came the training and commands. Pheh. So we compromised. I do what Herself says—most of the time. Now I pretend I can't hear her. After twelve years, can you blame me? I have heard it all, sister. Believe me. It's enough to make a grown dog cry.

The gig hasn't been so bad. Herself is all right most of the time. And the kid has learned to stay out of my face, too. There's plenty of food and walks. I bag a lot of treats on those walks, too, let me tell you. The "sad eyes" bit slays them every time. "She looks so worried." Heh, heh. Suckers. And I've traveled. I've played in snow, splashed in the ocean, and hiked the Appalachian Trail. I've lived in two time zones, eaten rat poison, and been sprayed by a skunk and lived to tell about it. No big deal.  

All right, already. Enough. Where's my cookie?

Photo of Bailey, Maggie, and Bandit courtesy of Scott.
Photo of Roma courtesy of Herself

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Dogs Don't Carry Wallets

Why don't my dogs have to carry wallets or purses? Because they don't have to. Because a wallet would ruin the lines of their coats. Because they've got lackeys to find keys, open doors, pour water, dispense food, scoop poop, drive the car, and throw balls. You all know the drill. So although my dogs are thoroughly convinced that they are contributing to the household (as guard dogs and cheap entertainment) they are, let's be honest, parasites. I love them. But they don't do anything except make me smile. They certainly are not the hardest working dogs in show business or any other workplace. 

Which brings me to my point. Most of my dear readers know that I am unemployed. This blog has been the fruit of those idle hours, and it has brought me much joy to write and share my thoughts about our favorite place and beloved animals. My dogs and this blog are the two reasons I get up every day. I can't thank you enough for your participation as readers and commenters and fellow brainstormers. So, I need to ask you your opinion. 

Blogger, the host of this and a gazillion other blogs, has an option for monetizing blogs. Monetizing. I'd never heard the word until recently. One monetizes by allowing Google (Blogger's parent) to post advertisements on one's blog. According to what I've read, the ads would be appropriate to the content of the blog. If I were to click the "Yes, I want to monetize my blog" button, the next day, we'd find ads for dog and pet-related products and services. 

I've held off on this for a few reasons. One, I hate advertisements, especially ads that are not funny or cool or clever. Web advertisements especially tend to be blinky and flashy and really  dumb and distracting. Second, I like to think of our blog as a little, out-of-the-way place where we can escape the glare and noise of daily life. It's a spot we can visit for some mindless distraction and a fun take on Dog Park. I hate to impose advertising on you. Finally, I tend to think that our community of readers is so small that any monetary benefits would be tiny anyway. So why even mess with this monetization thing? But there is this nagging voice in my head that asks, "If someone will pay you for your space, then what's the harm?"  

So I ask you for your thoughts—through comments here or at Park. Stay cool, everybody. See you at the DP. 

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!  

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Dog Parkist: What Was Your Name Again?

Q: For some reason, Dog Parkist, I can remember the name of every dog I meet at Dog Park, but for the life of me, I can barely remember the people's names. What is wrong with me? Is there a trick you can share with your readers?
—Nameless in Austin

A: Dear—I'm sorry—Nameless was it?—I share your embarrassment. How uncomfortable is it to realize that you have just spent 20 minutes sharing intimate life details and personal problems with a person whose name you can't remember. You stare at the reflection of yourself in his dark sunglasses. How puny you look! You are so distracted that now you can't even remember your own name. What do you do? You pat the person's dog on the head and then excuse yourself to pick up poop. Later that night, as you drift off to sleep, the name Esme or Dwight or Raymond or Alice hovers above the dark, elastic surface of your mind, like a dragon fly fluttering over a tranquil pond. It disappears in a flash of green and gold, only to be devoured by an unseen but portly frog. You will never see the dragon fly or remember the name again. Alas. 

But, my dear, it doesn't matter. After all, who is the one likely to be running in the parking lot or chasing the garbage man or charging into the creek after a coyote—Frankie or Muzzy or Bailey or Scooter or Joey or Teddy or Max— or that dog's owner, whose name escapes me at the moment? Really, why do you even need to know the owners' names? We are a pretty civilized bunch. Are the people likely to roll in poo? Hump strangers? Jump up on other people's cars to get at the doughnuts? Stick their paws in other people's water supplies? Generally, no. So don't worry about the names. 

But, since you asked, here are some tips. 
  • Just call the person by the dog's name. Example, "Hey, Wilson's mom! He's rolling in something gross!" 
  • If you insist on using a name, try this formula. For women, use one or more of these names: Laura, Sarah, or Kathy. Those three names cover most of us. For men, try Mike, Dave, or Doug. There's a million of them. 
  • If you don't recognize either the person or the dog, why even bother with civilities? Use colorful descriptors that match the person's offending behavior. Example: "Hey, jerkface! Get off the effing phone and call your dog!" Warning: This solution may induce a situation in which you will probably have to learn the person's name in an unforgettable manner. 
Thanks for writing!