Wow, January went by like a blackout. I feel like NYE was last weekend (but glad it’s not because I would still be nursing a hangover – on a Wednesday). I am super excited to start reading my new book and equally excited for Ryan’s birthday (2/10) and Valentines day (2/14), but I would appreciate it if time slowed down a little bit.
It’s been about a week since I wrote last, which I am surprised because in my brain I feel like I’ve had many of conversations on here between – but that’s just pure insanity because I haven’t actually posted anything. I did write a full blog-post entitled “Dealing With Psychos And Pretending You’re Not One 101,” but I decided that there was a lot more researching and social-experimentation to be done. So with that being said, I decided that I would share one of my most recent passions with my loyal fan-base:
The Dog Park
I have discovered that the dog park is the single most best place on earth. Let me explain why. I think the dog park is the best place in the world because if you’re lucky enough to have a socialized/friendly/perfectly submissive/perfectly aggressive/extraordinary dog, like myself, than it becomes the place that brings you the utmost joy. First let me organize this by listing such reasons:
- There are so many dog parks to choose from (i.e. different terrain, lighting, style, crowd, etc.)
- Therefore, you get to explore your city far more than people who aren’t looking for the next-best-dog-park
- You’re spending time outside
- Your dog is spending time outside (fresh air is good for everyone)
- The dogs that are allowed to go to the dog park are the nice ones (most of the time)
- The people who bring their dogs to the dog park are the type of people who care about their dog’s health and happiness (dog people)
- You get to hear how much your dog rocks (compliment city)
- Your dog gets to run around and socialize (i.e. happy dog = happy owner)
- Your dog gets tired!!!
- You get to meet some fascinating people (food truck owners, local celebrities, local business owners, etc.)
I am sure there are more reasons but for now, this will do. Now it is my full intention to further explain each of the reasons I’ve listed above.
1/2: I explored dog parks in my area based upon their type of terrain (hilly, long, grass, dirt, pebbles, fenced vs. non-fenced) and whether or not they were well-lit. These all matter when deciding what park is best for your family, especially when you are going after work and the sun has gone down. In addition, I took into consideration the proximity, which is what led me to going every day. Most likely, you have a dog park extremely close to you. It’s been incredible that in the past 2 months of having Remy, I have seen more of my city than I had prior to owning a dog. Whether he gave me the motivation that otherwise didn’t exist (or what), I am grateful that I am not spending my weekends rotting inside. Whether exploring dog-friendly hikes or dog-friendly restaurants, there are always opportunities available to get you and your dog out of the house. I have been to so many amazing dog parks and while I have loved exploring, I didn’t realize what that was stopping me from doing: making puppy and people friends by becoming a dog park frequent. BUT in order for that to happen, you can’t just split your time between every neighborhood dog park – especially when you live in a place like Arlington, VA – because then your pup doesn’t get to know the “regulars.” So while exploring has been awesome, I’ve found that the love sparked from becoming a regular.
3/4: Last weekend Ryan, Remy, and I, went on a wonderful walk/hike on Theodore Roosevelt Island. Teddy Roosevelt Island is very-dog friendly, manmade island sitting between VA and DC with beautiful views of DC along the Potomac. There are public trails and more private (off the beaten path) trails that both have their perks. The public trails were littered with dog families, which was awesome for Remy because he got to play with a few as we passed. Unfortunately, they also have a lot of runners (w/ strollers) that can sometimes spook dogs. There was a really cool stretch of trail (along the north side towards DC) that was bridged due to the surrounding marshland. Remy loved jumping off the bridged path and getting himself a little muddy exploring the marsh. Theodore Roosevelt Island rules prohibit off-leash walking, so all dogs must be kept contained at all times. We ended up spending just under an hour walking the ‘Swamp Trail’ (just over a mile and a half), but took many segways through the private trails (ended up walking 2 miles). By the last leg of the walk, Remy was finding every opportunity to “sniff” a tree and park his ass down for a nap in the dirt. While Remy isn’t the best at being an outdoorsy dog, he certainly benefits from spending time outside and breathing in the fresh oxygen – as do I. Because Remy is at home during the days (while we work), I try to make sure he spends at least an hour outside every day. Sometimes that means on our porch, other days that means doing something fun and active – it just depends on the weather and Remy’s mood.
5: This is a hard one, because the majority of me (96%) believes that every dog that comes to the dog park is a good one. Now, that’s because I love dogs and completely understand that not all dogs are each other’s cup of tea. BUT that last 4% is due to the irresponsible people who bring their asshole dog with a conundrum of “dog-park triggers” and ultimately ruins the party for everybody (but especially Remy). But, I’ll spend the majority of this explanation focusing on the 96%. I love going to the dog park because 9/10 times I have an amazing experience both with the people and their dogs. The majority of dogs that go to my dog park are well-socialized and well-behaved. Remy is always the most submissive, which normally makes him the center of bully attention, but recently he has been teaming up with other submissive dogs for some one-on-one rough play. Sometimes he learns that new toys are cool (i.e. sticks and tug toys) and other times he chases dogs playing fetch with their owners. He is a frequent people-pleaser, so I have to watch him and make sure he isn’t bothering anyone. Remy likes to greet any and all newcomers and follow the obsessive-pisser so he can mark every place that dog has relieved himself. I can confidently say that Remy is the absolute perfect dog-park dog. He is a dogs-dog and a dudes-dog. He is the perfect dog.
6/10: I have yet to be at a dog park and not engage with a stranger. Whether there are 50 people (Shirlington) or 3 people (Del Ray), there are no weird hurdles to get over in order to start casual conversation. Not only does the dog park sift through all of the horrible non-animal people in the world, but it also plops a bunch of similarly interested people in the same fenced plot. In addition, the dog park also sifts through the people who are too lazy, pathetic, and shitty to care about their dog’s health and happiness. I have met people from my neighborhood and people visiting, but every person I have had the pleasure of meeting has been extremely nice and pleasant to small-talk with (note: I hate small talk). I full-heartedly believe that the people who prioritize their dog’s health and happiness are innately good, therefore I trust them by default. This theory has yet to be broken. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a lot of really interesting people, this normally happens at night when there are a fewer dogs present and you can really push past the small-talk. In Del Ray, I’ve met a lady who was one of the first people to hop on the food truck business in DC (who now owns multiple successful catering businesses) and I’ve met a gentleman who owns a pet store. ~Cool~
7/8: When you have a dog who is extremely well-socialized, friendly, submissive, and people-pleasing, going to the dog park is like asking for 1,000 compliments. People are overly willing to compliment your dog on his manners and behavior, which ultimately fills you with pride for your furry-family. Every time I have gone to the dog park, Remy has made a friend. Remy frequently gravitates towards the underdogs, which is why I think I get bombarded with compliments. Remy would much rather get his butt handed to him by a dog that normally gets mounted within 20 seconds of being there than getting mounted himself, so he normally manages to find the victim and stick by their side. This allows owners who are used to constantly monitoring their dogs to relax and engage in conversation, which normally starts with “is that your dog? I haven’t seen my dog play like this in ages!”
9: This one speaks for itself: the reason that you go to the dog park is so your dog can exercise, play, and get a days worth of energy out. Don’t be a douche and assume just because your dog is happy to see you that he doesn’t need to run-it-out.
So that’s all folks, the many reasons you can catch me at the local d.p.
My hope is that this post motivates you to do 1 of 3 things:
- Adopt a dog
- Take said dog to dog park
- Go outside, dammit