Today it was so beautiful outside, we decided it was finally the right time to take Dempsy to the dog park. From the moment I walked through the double fence it was crystal clear to me and the others that I was a newbie and out of sorts. Eric was lagging behind me and I since I was alone and not quite sure how Dempsy would react with the other dogs I played it safe and kept him on his lead. Dead giveaway number one right? I stood out like a sore thumb to the other dog moms and dads (God, I hate that saying). I mean who goes to the dog park and makes their dog stay on his leash? Ahaha, this girl.
After Dempsy spotted a couple other dogs playing, I decided it was do or die time so I let him off his lead and was immediately scolded by the other humans because I didn't take his prong collar off. Uhm, what? Oh nevermind it's just a choker, you're good. Phew, thank goodness I was good, cause I could tell a scolding would have followed. Yeesh. Holy pressure at the dog park, and not the warmest welcoming, that's for sure!
I think most of us, who have common sense, can figure out the basic etiquette at the dog park:
If your dog doesn't play nice, go home.
Pick up after your dog.
Have your dog vaccinated.
Don't bring a dog in heat into the park.
Leave small children at home.
But there are other dog park 'unwritten' rules out there. Oh don't kid yourself. Rules that us green dog owners need to learn, and quick before we end up shunned like we're in high school again (and believe me, there are cliques at the dog park). In the half an hour that I was there it didn't take me long to realize that these doggy parents police (I think they make up their own laws too) that park pretty strictly and have ZERO problem telling other dog owners where they are slacking (and I thought moms were the judgiest of all, moms of dogs are far, FAR worse). I think I need tougher skin.
So today I learned that I should never, ever bring a ball. (How do I make a sad face? And what if there are no dogs around for Dempsy to play with?) I get that you probably shouldn't use a ball if there are other dogs around, I'm not an idiot. I understand that it could create a territorial behaviour from mine or someone else's pup. But I felt like a scolded 5 year old when I was told to "lose the ball". No hello, no f*ck you, just LOSE THE BALL. Just like that, after the scolding about a non existant collar that was the next sentence out of their mouths. Sometimes I hate people.
I also learned we should bring some water. I guess I assumed there would be a water station/fountain/tap like at the city owned cemeteries. Wrong. There is a community water bowl though. Go figure. My dog drank a lot of other people's water today. I'm a bad dog mom.
And for the love of all things canine, we humans no longer have our own identity. You do not ask another human being's name once you are inside those fences (I felt like I was at an AA meeting). We, as individual people, no longer exist. I am merely Dempsy's Mom. Ugh. This reason alone makes me not want to ever go back to the dog park. But since he enjoyed it so much today and it was a decent experience for him overall, we likely will try it out again.
This time I'll be prepared. This time I shall trade the ball for the water. This time I won't be so 'green'. This time I might throw the 'tude back at them (I figure if I pretend to know what I'm doing in the confines of those fences I can probably pull it off) when they make me feel like the worlds worst person. I'm kind of glad my boy Demps didn't go over to them when they called his name. I'm glad he ignored her. *Now how to I make a sticking out my tongue emoticon on here?