Annie and I took our first trip to the dog park this morning. I knew Saturday morning probably wouldn’t be the quietest time to go, but I woke up early and the temp was still in the low 70s, so I decided to take a chance.
The park is maybe an acre of fenced field, mostly bare dirt and low-mowed weeds. Occasional benches dot the area, and a patch of aspens in the middle promises shade in a few more years.There’s a water fountain at the front gate with a high spigot for people and a low spigot and bowl arrangement for the dogs. You enter through two different gates, with a bit of an entry area between. That’s where the poop bags and trash cans are located.
By the time you take your dog through the inner gate, his or her leash must be off. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect when I unleashed Annie. There were about 20 dogs in the park, and I didn’t know if she’d go dashing off to meet them or stay near me. There were big dogs, little dogs, wet dogs, and muddy dogs. A tall white poodle, a squatty white bulldog, a lab, a golden, a husky, and lots of mixes. The pit mixes made me a bit nervous, but I worked hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.
As it turned out, Annie was as uncertain as I was about what to do and what to expect, and for the most part she stayed close by. She tried a few hesitant greetings with other dogs, her tail between her legs the whole time. Several times she got wrapped up in a swirl of three or four dogs and got bowled over. Scared, she got a little snippy once or twice, yelped once, and decided that under my bench was probably the best place to be. Aside from that, she seemed quite interested in everything — especially the smells. O, the smells she smelled!
She didn’t go tearing around the field with the other dogs, as I’d hoped. But she probably burned a lot of nervous energy. Thankfully, she did stay out of the mudhole — hog wallow — that some of the other dogs found irresistible, so I didn’t need to use the hose and tub in the corner to clean her off.
We got home about an hour later, with the temp pushing 80. Annie cameled up and crashed in a cool corner, while I poured a cold drink and crashed on the sofa.
All in all, not too bad for a young dog who hasn’t had any others to play with (entirely my fault). We’ll go again when it’s not as busy, and maybe she’ll have more fun. If not, we’ll be quite content with each other’s company, leaving the crowds behind.