Dog Daze of Summer

Friends for Life

Bubba and Penny

My husband and I take our dogs Bubba and Penny to the dog park a couple times a week.  And, without fail the dogs just seem to have this “sixth sense” about when we are taking them.  Perhaps it is the tennis shoes or the words “dog park” that give it away.  Whatever it is, they work themselves into a frenzy.  The front door opens and there is a beeline to the car.  Up and in they go, tails wagging, excited barking as if to say “we’re going to the dog park, we’re going to the dog park.”

Once we arrive to the dog park, it becomes an automatic reunion.  Off go the leashes and they are free to run, run away.  They recognize old buddies and welcome the butt sniffs of new friends. Surprisingly, humans and their dogs get along.  When you look out across the dog park, it is like being in a different world…the world of dogs and we are the outsiders.  Dogs RULE the park!

Every trip to the dog park has moments that just fill my heart with joy.  There, represented is every type of person you could imagine…the young, the old, the fat, the skinny, the polished, the unkept, the subdued, the nervous, the aggressive, the excited.  Oh wait, sounds like the dogs.  Yes, I’ve come to think that people do look and act like their dogs in many cases.

Squirrel, did someone say “SQUIRREL?”  Ball, did someone say “BALL?”  Oh, and don’t forget the water.  What is it about the lake?  They won’t go near the pool at home, but lake…they are so there.  And why is it that after the water, it’s let’s go roll around in the sand pit?

The term “dog days of summer” comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, the Dog Star, and its close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather two months out of the year.  Living in Florida, we experience the Dog DAZE of six months of summer.   But that to is coming to an end with fall weather right around the corner.  The dog park changes too.  The dogs are more frisky and their owners stick around a little more since it’s not so hot.

Both of our dogs are loving, faithful companions.  Mutts actually.  One from the pound and one from a homeless camp.  They are not famous dogs like Benji, Lassie or Astro from the Jetsons, but they certainly have the family paparazzi following them around and taking pictures all the time.   Speaking of dog celebrities, our family was trying to think of some good movies with dogs…here are our favorites.  Benji (of course), Homeward Bound, Lady & The Tramp, Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians, Snow Dogs, Cats & Dogs.

Something I found interesting and perhaps not too surprising is that Americans spend more than $50 billion on their pets.  That’s a lot of Snausages!  One look around PetSmart and I know why.  There is everything one would expect to see in a pet store, but then after looking again, there is stuff I never knew existed…doggie diapers and tablets to keep
your dogs from eating their own poop.  Really?  Truth be told, our Bubba needs something to keep from thinking the cat poop is a Tootsie Roll just made for him.  I did ask my vet about that and when he said his dog does the same thing I figured it was nature’s way of helping to clean the litter box.

If you don’t have a dog, borrow a friends’ or just show up and take a look around.  I would recommend Fleet Peeple’s park in Winter Park.  You won’t be disappointed.  What can we learn from dogs?

  • Tolerance.  Unconditional acceptance.  Color, gender, size, breed…don’t judge.  For us humans, take it a step further…race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc.  You get the drill.
  • Greet others with a sense of decency and curiosity. I know, I know…the butt sniffing thing is not a decent way to greet other humans.  A handshake and a smile is appropriate though.  And please, no fishy handshakes.
  • Exercise.  Whether it’s running, swimming, jumping around.  Just do it!
  • Enjoy the car ride.  Like dogs being thankful it’s not a trip to the vet. (or for us, the doctor)
  • Don’tbe intimidated by the size or stature of others.  Small dogs think they run the show and big dogs often think they are lap dogs.

And I will leave you with two of my favorite quotes as they relate to dogs and life…

“Be tuff, the dog days of summer can be wuff” and “If you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”