Dog and I are having our issues ‘getting in’ with the dog park crew. Three houses down, at the end of our block, is an unofficial dog park. It’s a big open field set up for soccer or baseball games but is mostly used as an off leash area for pups and peeps of all kinds.

We’ve been there several times now and each time has been it’s own individual adventure but I’ll start at the beginning. The first trip to the park…

A few weeks ago on a Tuesday:

We get there at 6:45 a.m. Sun is shining and the park is empty. At this point I had had dog for all of 4 days. Dog and I play fetch and chase each other and are having a great time when, all of a sudden, a herd of 7 humans and 5 dogs come marching in. The peaceful field is all of a sudden over-run with foofy AKC dogs and well dressed, perky, already showered and caffeinated humans (dog and I are none of these things).

I thought, ‘Ok, we’ll just see how dog does with this. Personally, I am totally overwhelmed and now, overly aware of my sweatpants, slippers, and rainbow coffee mug but dog will be fine. Dog did pretty well but got a little nervous with all of the different noses all up in her business, as did I. The first few minutes were a sniffing free for all. No genitals went unchecked… and then double checked. Dog and I made it through that but when the balls began to fly she became completely indiscriminate and started to chase them all.

She is part retriever and this instinct is unstoppable. If she sees you make something go away she will bring it back, regardless of who or what. I can tell that she thinks this is her duty in life, and she loves her job. She is so proud to bring it back to you, whatever it is, who ever you are, like, “Hey, you dropped this. Here you go. Found it. Found it for you, cause you had it and then you didn’t, but now you do again cause I went and got it and brought it back for you as fast as I could. I can do that again if need be. Actually, I would really like to do that again. Go ahead, try me… throw it, hide it, toss it, drop it, anything! Seriously, I’ll run as fast as I can and bring it right back. It’s what I do. Ok, ready!?!”

I thought it was hilarious, and although it was rude in the human world to be chasing ODB (other dog’s balls) in dog’s world she was multitasking and doing everyone a great service. Plus, the other dogs were having a blast chasing each other and trying to catch her. Anyway, I couldn’t stop her from doing that or get her to focus on her own ball and decided we had had enough for our first morning at the park.

When I went to put her leash on I crouched down and asked her to sit, which she usually does on command. However, this time she took my asking her to sit as a request for a big bear hug and as her paws lifted for my shoulders I lost my balance and she sort of knocked me over with a big kiss, which, again, I found totally adorable and amusing. I laughed, gave her a kiss back and then this woman standing less than ten feet away loudly mentions to the man standing next to her, “That dog needs obedience school!”

I wish there was a way to recreate the tone she used. It was so loaded, so snobby. It was like this exclusive, members-only, doggy-mommy group and dog and I snuck in. I was the new, uninvited, mom- the sloppy, careless dyke mom with the new, hyper, out of control kid. And I don’t know where this woman comes from but the way she said it made it feel like we were having one of those sitcom moments, where the people in the living room are talking about the people in the kitchen, and even though there is no barrier between the rooms and they are less than ten feet away the people in the kitchen magically can’t hear the people in the living room talking about them… only I could hear her, because we are not on tv and I was right freakin’ there.

Bad! Rude woman! No! No barking at the new folks just because her dog is faster than your dog! It took me off guard enough that I didn’t respond, which is still driving me crazy.

I got home, recounted the whole event to Violet and we spent the rest of our morning coming up with witty, snippy, come backs. The way that Violet was just as offended as me over something so silly was great and made me feel like we were very much in this together. And ooh, did she have some things to say to that woman! Dog and I are well equipped to run into her again, let me tell you.