Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Must Love Dogs

One of our new Charlotte activities is taking Gilbert to the area bark park. It's an awesome park; just five minutes from our house, lots of dogs, and about eight acres for our dogs to run and play. While I'm sure it's fun for Gilbert, it is also fun for us. The dog watching and people watching are unparalleled. 

We'll start with the dogs. You get to see every breed of dog imaginable. You'll see pug puppies that could fit in your pocket right next to a 200 pound Italian Mastiff. This dog is huge. He could hold his own in any men's locker room. Somebody needs to get that dog some underpants. One of my favorite things to do is to give the dogs new names. Most of the dogs have pretty boring names. You've got your Scouts, Buddys, Snoopys and Marleys. I think those dogs deserve better than the typical dog names. I usually name the dogs based on what they look like, often times based on celebrities. There's an Afghan that I call Sarah Jessica, a couple of labs that are Oprah and Gail (these dogs REALLY like each other). A corgi mix that I call Wild Baby Dingo. The skinny dogs are Lohan, Ashley, and Mary Kate. The list goes on and on. 

While the dogs are entertaining, the owners are really the stars of my little reality show. There are some crazy dog people. I guess we would probably qualify as such (depending on your criteria) but these people are nuts. The crazy ones are usually women in their 40s or 50s. They always come along (well, except for their dogs) and always come at the same time. Spotzie's mom says things like "oh, Spotzie gets cranky and has nightmares if I don't bring here here." Ashley's mom freaks out anytime another dog approaches her dog. I'm not quite sure why she brings her damn dog to the bark park if she is going to freak out with dog on dog contact, but whatever. I'm pretty sure that these women dress their dogs up and send out their Christmas card/picture with just the dog in it.

There are several bark park rules. Some are written, others are just common sense. The first (written) rule is no children under 16 allowed. This rule is not followed very closely. I'm okay with the typical 8-12 year old being there with mom or dad. Not because I like children, but because I think it's fun when my dog starts humping their dog, and the kid says something like "mommy, what's that dog doing to Scooter?" It's awesome that my dog can determine when they have to have the birds and bees (or dogs and dogs) talk with their kids. Some people really break the 'no kids' rule. There was a lady who brought her newborn in one of those hippie cloth sling things across her chest. I think she made it about ten minutes before realizing how incredibly stupid that was. Oh, and last week there was a lady who brought a kid in one of those SUV strollers. She just parked her stroller next to the bench and started talking on her cell phone while a dozen or so dogs sniffed/jumped on her kid. Gilbert was more interested in the diaper compartment below the stroller and focused most of his energy and poor behavior on that.

While child endangerment gets honorable mention, the winner of 'dumbest thing to do at a dog park' is bringing food. Bringing dog treats in your pocket is pretty stupid, but somewhat understandable. People think that if their dog misbehaves, they can just bribe him with a treat. What they don't realize is that every other dog in the park (including mine) will realize that they have treats and will maul them. So dog treats are dumb but understandable. Bringing in a picnic lunch for you and your kids is just idiotic. It doesn't take too long for someone to realize this. As soon as my dog (or another dog) steals their cheeseburger they get the idea.

So that's life at the bark park. It's a pretty good time. I've gotta go now. It's lunchtime and Gilbert knows it's time to go to the park. I don't want the baby to get fussy.

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