A few days ago, Erica reminded me to check out one of my favorite Web sites, Schott's Vocab. The word of the day was doglers, defined as "dogless dog lovers who ogle other people's pooches." (The verb form is to dogle. Perfect!) I was once a serious dogler. Until I got Roma, I swooned at the sight of any and every dog. "Adogadogadogadog!" I would squeal from the passenger seat as we passed one on the street. I wanted to lay hands on every one I met--to ruffle its ears, pat its tummy, and smooth its brow. Logic dictates that the best way to remedy this ridiculous response to the mere sighting of a dog was to get me one. I am sure that my boyfriend expected the utter mundanity of walking, feeding, and scooping up after a dog of my own would cure me. Alas, after 15 years of dog ownership, I am still a dogler.
And Dog Park provides the perfect opportunity. So many dogs, so many ears to squinch and butts to pat. The proximity of big dogs (Labs Barney and Dooley, @120 lbs apiece, with their pancake-sized ears), pocket dogs (peanut-sized Daisy, Sadie, and Andy), tough dogs (Bandit and Elphie), scruffy dogs (Dasher and Willie), herders (Cocoa, Bindi, and Daisy the heeler), sleek dogs (Naya, Bailey and Mindy), low dogs (Arlo the basset), ball chasers (Joey and Wilson), and singing dogs (Elsa the coonhound as well as Teddy and Frankie) makes me a little giddy. I just love to pat them and to marvel at how different they all are.
Muzzy is less happy about my ogling than Roma ever was. Roma was too busy making the rounds, running her treat-stealing scams and searching for illicit tidbits to care about what I was doing. Talk about a confident dog. Muzzy, however, is more sensitive about my cooing at others, and so I try to rein in (or leash) myself a bit. I can't help it. We always think we want what we don't have. I love the Muzz, but I do sometimes wish she were small enough to carry in the crook of my arm or had spots or was a little less spazzy. So we have a simple deal--one that will sound familiar to any Parker. What happens at Park, stays at Park. I don't talk about other dogs at home, and Muzzy sits firmly at the center of my universe.