As The Dog Park Turns…

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been working on launching a new business for myself which is just a formal version of the business I have been doing… it is called Imaginations and Libations and it is at-home painting parties in the style of a Tupperware or Avon party. So that has been keeping me busy… and so has Oscar.

Oh my is he getting big! Ok not really… he is definitely a medium sized dog… but he is still growing and he is much bigger than the last time I posted.

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He is still very much a puppy at 6 months old now, and has a ton of energy. I have been taking him to the local dog park quite a bit but I have to say… I absolutely hate it. If you have dogs and have gone to the dog parks before you may be able to relate. Let me paint you a picture…

I live in Boca Raton, Florida. I never meant to pick this part of south Florida to settle into, I just simply did not know better when I bought my house. And I absolutely LOVE my house. If I had known that the population of Boca was demographically OLD (70 is the average age in my part of town) as well as mostly VERY WEALTHY North Easterners (NYC, Long Island and Rhode Islanders mostly) I would have bought my house anywhere else in south Florida. And this is not a blanket statement about North Easterners, I am originally from Pennsylvania so I fall int that category… but it seems the majority of those here are the privileged rude ones.  There are plenty of jokes to be had about this area… “Boca is where old folks come to die” … and any number of Seinfeld episodes (Del Boca Vista)…. but it really seems the people who have settled here and the snowbirds as we call them, are just generally miserable and rude. In fact they take rude to a whole other level I have never seen prior to moving here. Anyway, I digress…

Boca is the most technicolor manicured area of south Florida. We have topiary. We are landscaped up the wazoo. Every neighborhood is a gated community with waterfalls and fountains in the middle of man made lakes. It is simply stunning in a Disney kind of way, and the flowers are out of hand. Every color… every where. The grocery store is packed with Gucci and Valentino and all the other designers I cannot spell, afford or even remember. It’s just not my thing. The parking lot is packed with Mercedes, BMW, Hummer, Land Rover etc etc… my base model Honda Element looks like a go cart in comparison.

The one oasis in the midst of all this wealth and topiary is the county park that I ride my bike, run and enjoy. It is natural Florida and really beautiful. And it houses the dog parks. The small below 30lb dog park, and the large dog area for those over 30lbs. And somehow… someway… it is a magnet for the freaks of Boca I never knew existed, who are normally hidden, to come out in droves. Not just any kind of freak either. The DOG FREAKS… and you know them because they have a weird vibe about them and when one of them shows up the others all acknowledge in their own ways… saying hellos by name of dog and dog’s “Mommy” or “Daddy”… “Oh hello Jazzy’s Mommy!”… or a group grunt that someone has shown up… “Oh no it’s Packer and his Mom”…

I am clearly not “in the know”…

Look, I think there are a few rules to be followed at the dog park. #1 you watch your dog and make sure he/she is not causing trouble ie jumping on people, biting or scratching. #2 you pick up your dog’s poop (See #1 watch your dog).  #3 you let your dog be a dog!

Apparently there are other rules I know nothing about but when my dog or someone else’s does break one of these unwritten invisible rules… let the squawking commence!

  • There are the women who think their dog is a human and over analyze everything the dog does, like tucking their tale … “Oh Trixie is so shy, look she’s such a lady! “
  • There are the people who think their dogs humping is disgraceful and get pissed if another dog does it to theirs… or reprimand theirs for showing dominance.
  • There are the people who do not pick up their dog’s poop and pretend to be on the phone distracted.
  • There are the people who have ridiculously HUGE dogs that they do not have any control over at all and refuse to reprimand them when they are relentlessly pummeling a smaller dog (mine) and act like victims to whatever their dogs do.
  • There are the people who like to lecture you as if you have never owned a dog prior and know absolutely nothing about your own.
  • There are the folks who seem so desperate for human contact that they tell you all kinds of gossip about every other person and their dogs in the park.
  • There are the very butchy women who walk up to you with their hands in their pocket smirking at you like you are a complete novice at all things dog park and talk to you in that manner, about all things dog park like when the maintenance is done and to make sure you close the lid of the poop trash can nice and tight.
  • There are the people who own an entire pack of dogs who come in like a clown car and let their dogs run amok without picking up after them or stop them from ganging up on other dogs.

It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. I have been knocked over by big dogs in the park (I am pretty small at 4’11” and 105lbs. I have been jumped on, bashed into by dogs being dogs… but when my dog gets picked on by the likes of Sampson, a 130lb chocolate Lab 6 month old PUPPY (can you imagine how big he will be at full grown?) where my dog is cowering and running from him and he is launching himself at Oscar like a bull… then i start to get upset.

Look I know dogs play, and they roughhouse… and they hump and bite and growl and all that. But there is a difference when my dog cannot get up from an attack and 130lbs is landing on his 40lb frame over and over again, pinning him to the ground while biting his face! I have on more than one occasion broken it u and had Sampson charge right back into it. He is a huge boy for me to try to control… and his owner (the victim I mentioned) stands back with arms hugged around her like she is at a loss. C’mon… YELL AT YOUR DOG! TRY at least… there is no reason on earth why I should have to control someone else’s dog let alone protect mine from a hefty vet bill.

So we try to avoid the dog park now. I know he needs socialization and I am allowing that for sure, but in spurts. I take Oscar on long walks in the morning and sometimes again in the afternoons if he is super hyper. I may take him to the dog park during the week but I try to avoid prime Sampson times…  it is also such a strange dynamic. The dog park clique. It gives me the heebie jeebies!

Not sure what I prefer… the rude… or the dog freaks… it is a tough call!!!

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~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on March 12, 2013.

6 Responses to “As The Dog Park Turns…”

  1. I don’t care for the dog parks at all. You just don’t know if the other dogs there have had their shots or could be sick. I have several friends who just love taking their dogs to the park. Well the other day, one of their dogs got bitten by another dog. She didn’t think much about it until later that night the dog couldn’t or wouldn’t get up. She had to take the dog to the vet and the bite was beginning to show infection. She not only felt bad about the injury but the vet bills were really expensive. I remember seeing some show where the wife didn’t want her husband to take their little dog( can’t remember the breed or the show) to the dog park, but of course he didn’t listen and he did take their dog. The dog was attacked by another dog there and it died from the injuries. It’s just not worth it to me to take a chance of being hurt. I’d much rather take my dog on long walks, they can be socialized that way too.

  2. I could not agree more. Pet owners run the gamut and you just never know. I watched this woman walk the path around the dog park the other day while her dog barked in the face of this much bigger docile Rottie incessantly! I mean it was ok at first but it went on for almost 30 minutes without her addressing it, until I asked the Rottie’s owner who’s dog the barker was. She said REALLY LOUD and clearly frustrated as she had tried to break it up numerous times, “The dipshit in the red over there ignoring this!”… well Dipshit heard her and finally came over and leashed her dog to stop it. But that could be interpreted in many ways, including rabid.

    You never know what could be amiss with any of those dogs. I have also heard that Parvo and Kennel Cough are common in dog parks especially in the sharing of the water fountains. Another reason to avoid…

  3. […] posted this on my Facebook page yesterday commenting on my post As The Dog Park Turns… I just had to share… too funny and scary […]

  4. I laughed, I cried, I related! More like this, please…

    I guess they’re (dog parks) the same in any country or (especially) any big city.We always think we’ve found a nice, non-clique park but then come back the next day and it’s entirely different in character and we’ve already been talked about and assigned a label based on our apparent non-regulation of our dogs and what it says about our own moral turpitude. I do watch my dogs, and will intervene as needed, but I cannot explain nor can I control everything that goes on. And most of the time they work it out themselves.

    I especially love (not!) the ones who are offended by the humping. They simply cannot be helped, and I wonder how they negotiate the modern world without taking offence at absolutely everything. A protruding dog penis is not one of signs the Apocalypse approaches, though I’ll have to check that and get back to you if I’m wrong. I think it involves horsemen, not slutty dogs.

    Good to hear the tone in your voice has sharpened back up, Michelle!

  5. HAHA! I have been waiting for you to comment Alex!

  6. […] (and every day for that matter) I took Oscar for our morning run. I am avoiding the dog park (see As The Dog Park Turns) so I take him for a three mile jaunt around the neighborhood. We are working hard on our loose […]

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