Dog Park Dogs... Who is Socializing Who?
Every day we see articles and write ups on social media, tweets, instagrams, texts, private messaging, and pinning. We sit at our computers, laptops and clutch our smart phones like a life line, afraid we will somehow disappear into obscurity if it is not attached to us in some fashion or form. I am not bashing this habit, I am guilty of all of it but somehow the battle rages within me like two sides of a coin or the beloved character of Batman Two-Face. I LOVE IT, I HATE IT... no, no I LOVE IT... damn, I HATE IT.I love living in the now and drool about the adventures of the future. But are we really getting closer as a society or are we getting more removed, separate and desensitized as one human being to another human being? Has the ability to have so much communication and information coming at you all the time made us more tolerant to others, compassionate, forgiving, and accepting? Has it freed our minds from judging others and helped us to become better people? (Drum roll for the answer) I HAVE NO IDEA.
Here is what I do know (stay with me, sometimes I am long winded and I like to talk).Besides photography, fishing, motorcycling, gardening, flowers, grilling, eating, drinking, partying, movie-going, family loving and photography (oops, I already said that one), my husband and I LOVE DOGS! We have dogs (huge plural on dogs), our family has dogs, our friends have dogs, we help rescue dogs, we like to pet dogs, we foster and volunteer our time and resources for dogs.Dogs are the bomb!
So recently while talking to one of our kids he asked us to join him at a dog park he takes the grand dog Bruce to so he may play and socialize. Now we normally do not frequent dog parks. The horror stories we have heard, the inability for some of the grown humans to get along. There could be fights that sometimes break out and the possibility of a dog getting hurt keeps us away. Our pack play time is akin to a full contact sports like football at our house, not badminton. To some people and dogs it could be scary. Besides we live on acreage so we have no need to go to a dog park. We loaded the latest member to join our family and I grabbed my camera and away we went to go see the kid and the grand dog.
We found ourselves at Kasmiersky Park and! WOAH! This place has changed since I was here last, which were many many moons ago. Kasmiersky Park is part of Conroe Parks and Recreation and was established in 1985 and this is probably the last time I was at this park. What a lovely place this park has become, it was beautiful.In the back they have a fenced area off-leash dog park and that was our destination. We were early (that's a miracle in itself).There were a couple of dogs in the park but for the most part it was empty. We started chatting up the few people in the park and petting the doggies.
Me..."Not many people here, do you come here often?"
Stranger with a cute puppy.."Stick around its about to get busy, lots of people start coming around 5:30ish, it becomes "YAPPY HOUR"
YAPPY HOUR? What's this Yappy Hour he is speaking of?
Slowly but surely something, in my eyes, beautiful took place. They started coming in one by one (sometimes two). I heard the clink of the gate being opened, the commands of sit, the excited small barks and yips. The crazy ones doing flips when the owner is trying to remove the leash, the calm ones waiting patiently until the next gate was opened. The people smiling and waving at someone already in the park.
I grabbed my camera. One by one they came in, short, fat, long hair, short hair, white, black, brown, red, yellow, young, old, disabled or challenged, tall, skinny, males, females, and that was just the dogs.They greeted each other with excitement, calm reserve or kisses. What was happening? In a society with so much "Social" capabilities that often we still fall short from human interaction, judgment, diversity, tolerance and compassion, I was watching a pack of dogs get it right.In turn the human beings smiled at each other, they put their smart phones down and communicated by talking, hugging, laughing. In the magic twilight dog park "Yappy Hour", the human beings did everything right, they got along, they enjoyed another person company that maybe they would have never talked to before, never would have become friends with, never would have given that person a second glance on the street. They used problem solving skills to nip issues in the bud before they got out of hand; they worked together as a team to provide support to the next person needing help with their chair or bag. Each person was very different but yet they were the same with their dogs and for those brief couple of hours they all received something that I am sure they were all unaware of receiving, ACCEPTANCE.
Me.."Why do you come to the dog park?"
Stranger..."I want to make sure my dog is socialized properly and can get along with other dogs."
REALLY , let's be honest.. Who is socializing who at the Dog Park?