Monday, November 06, 2006

Sid's Trip to the Dog Park (Y1/M7/D5)

So it turns out E and I are stereotypical new parents (and by "parents" I, of course, mean "people with a puppy"). E is prone to whipping out his cell phone (at poker nights, no less) and passing it around so people can admire the latest photos he has snapped of El Sid. And while I like to mock him for this, I have to admit that part of me actually thinks people want to see these photos; people need to see the amazing cute fuzziness that is El Sid! Dammit.

Well, today we got our first reality check. You know, that moment when you realize that your pup is not actually the first pup ever and is also (possibly) not totally enthralling to everybody else. We learned this hard lesson when we took our dear sweet pup to the leash-free dog park for the first time.

In preparation for this monumental outing, we decided to outfit the SUV with a doggy safety restraining barrier thingamabob so she could travel in safety and comfort. Seventy dollars (and a wee dispute over the Proper Installation Method) later, we have the barrier in place and El Sid is loaded into the truck. El Sid promptly lays down and goes to sleep. Which makes us question whether we needed the restraint at all. I ask E if the mere sight of the barrier discouraged her from struggling to get to the front. He is uncertain. Together, we ponder whether we could have created some sort of illusion of a barrier (that cost less than $70 and was considerably easier to install) and gotten the same result. We decide that despite Sid's suddenly Ghandi-like demeanor, the barrier was a definite necessity (in part because I don't know what I did with the receipt).

While driving over to the dog park we begin saying things to each other like: "Don't you think she'll be the cutest dog there?" "She'll probably draw a small crowd." And we also begin to fantasize about how tired she is bound to get from frolicking with so many other dogs -- how batshit happy she is bound to be at the site of dozens of dogs running and playing. "She'll sleep like a rock tonight!" we say. And we are positively giddy over the idea of Sid passing out cold so we can watch a bit of TV or have a glass of wine without constantly saying: "Sid! Please don't eat that! Sid! No!" and "Honey, can you get that from her? Honey, can you just... hold her for a second so I can get that away from her? Is that my bra? How did she get one of my bras?" Because this is how we spend endless volumes of time each evening.

So we park the truck and unload her and get her off the leash and she just sort of... stands there. "Well," we think, "she's just overwhelmed by all this newness." So we walk her over to a group of dogs and kind of encourage her. Nothing. No dogs will even look at her. She will not approach them much either. Even the other dog owners scarcely look in her direction. Can it be that we have an ordinary dog? Can other people really be blind to all this beauty?

Just then a Husky comes over and tackles her. He seems vicious. She whimpers. We are beside ourselves with horror! Who owns this vicious creature?! WHO?! Is there no security here?! Are we powerless to stop this reign of terror?! And before we can even collect our thoughts the Husky has moved on like it never happened. Even El Sid appears to not care at all that this transpired. We are relieved.

Still, we're a little shaken. We encourage her across the park for a drink of water. We look in the communal water bowl and it seems... well... dirty. El Sid looks in the bowl and looks at us kind of like she's trying to say: "Ee-yew. It's dirty." Just then an Irish Setter comes over and literally gets in the bowl. First he sits in it. Then takes his rump out and leans the front half of his body in it. Then he shakes and repeats. I think he is bathing in the water bowl. I wonder if I smell like wet dog now that my left leg is covered in shaken-off dog-bowl water. I decide to run the hose and flush out the communal bowl and El Sid wisely drinks directly from the hose. I take it as a sign that El Sid is more highly evolved than the Setter.

After about 15 minutes more of just roaming about aimlessly, during which time Sid never once broke into a run or played with another dog, we decide it is time to go back home. Sid seems totally fine with that. Back home, we all settled in for a long enchanting evening of saying: "Sid! Don't eat that! Sid, come here! Sid, drop that right now!"

No comments: