Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo and canine organized sports

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Yeah, I know, sort of anticlimactic after yesterday’s Star Wars festivities (May the Fourth be with you!)

But I celebrated a little differently.  Have you ever stood on a cliff face and wondered what it would be like to step over the edge?  Okay, I know that sounds a little too morbid, especially coming from somebody who is chronically depressed, but in a way, that's what I did yesterday.

I was on the way to town; I had to drop off a bank deposit and pick up a couple of essentials from the grocery store.  It was a beautiful warm day; I had both dogs with me and I thought why not (eerie music plays: bum bum bummmm), let's stop at the dog park.

OMG!  Trying to get two leashed dogs from the appropriately named parking lot into the park was like trying to unbraid a Rastafarian's hair.  The tethers were going in every direction at once, and of course, every blade of grass, tuft of shrubbery, tree trunk and fence post had to be individually sniffed and then peed on.

When I at last got them both going in the same direction and we crossed the bridge that separates the skateboard park from the dog park, I was pleasantly surprised that there were only two dogs in the huge enclosure.  This was Cory’s first outing, and I had some mental reservations about how he would socialize with other dogs.  I had little to worry about; after the requisite butt checks, the four little guys set about frolicking. 

I was conversing with two mommies about breeds, adoption and personalities when another mommy came with her two dogs.  Then another arrived, and then two more, and two more, and then three parents simultaneously, each with two of their own.  Soon there were in excess 30 canines running about the park.

The dogs eventually broke out in four or five packs, each with a self-elected alpha quarterbacking the activities.  There were the occasional skirmishes within the squads; sometimes a parent would have to intervene as a referee, but most of the time it was settled by a negotiated trade with one of the other teams.

The fun came as each new arrival would enter through the double gated sally port.  All the teams would rush the new recruit and vie to draft him or her onto their team.  This frequently ended in loud arguments between multiple alphas, and often involved a parent or two venturing into the swirling tempest of snarling muzzles in order to separate the running backs from the defensive linemen.

One of the more entertaining sights was when my Sebastian would be taunting a big dog (he loves to play with dogs at least four times as large as he), and he would get in the big guy’s face (literally, he stands on his back feet and puts his front paws on the other dog’s face), sometimes the bigger dog would react with an end around blitz that would knock poor Sebastian to the ground.  It would not deter my little guy; he is confident that his 20 pounds of spry, cunning offense is no match for any 100 pound defensive linebacker.  But every time Sebastian was knocked over, Cory would sprint from whatever third string practice squad he was assigned to, and pounce on the big dog to defend his brother.  I would have to jump in and tell Cory it was okay, that Sebastian and his friend were only playing and that he’d better get back to his own team or he would get cut (again) and have to sit on the bench during the games.

Eventually the length of their tongues dangling from their mouths told me it was time to get the leashes reattached and head back to truck where I had a cold bottle of water waiting to quench their well-earned thirst.

It was good for all of us to get out, and I think I enjoyed it almost as much as they did.  There is little doubt that we will be visiting the park again soon.

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