I have to get in my “steps” and activity points wherever I can. I have recently found, thanks to a very dear friend, a dog park that has a sort of circuit to walk. It’s very clever in that you can’t ever see just how far ahead you have to go because it’s sort of a circle. It’s a circle surrounding a kind of swamp land, so there are lots of bushes and trees causing you to only see ahead …. which curves, so even then you can only see a couple hundred yards.
I do not like walking, personally. I don’t like knowing how much further I have to go. I don’t like having nothing to do while walking. I don’t like the random lists and thoughts that form in the absence of any stimulation. I am also not a DJ, so putting together the right playlist fails me every time. The off leash dog park, however, is nothing but distraction and fun for me. I don’t realize how far i’ve gone, and how far I still have to go and i’m usually distracted by my 2 mutts anyway. Before I know it, i’ve logged 3K steps! It’s amazing!
What’s not amazing about it, I discovered today, is taking my children. Oh it’s all fun and games in the planning stage. But it never ends well. Here are the stages of taking the bigger animals (kids) with you to the dog park:
1. Wake up to beautiful sunshine and think, “We need to be outdoors today!” Hey, dogpark! Everyone will get exercise and sunshine, it will be a bonding experience for sure!
2. Remove invisible fence collars from dogs, replace with actual collars ….. remind yourself after a year and a half you should probably update that dog’s tags.
3. Let the kids fight over who gets which animal. In fact, it’s really the leash the 4 year old wants anyway. Carry the small dog, 4 year old carries leash, big kid takes the other dog.
4. Convince the dogs they can, in fact, cross the invisible line of ZAP to get to the car. Put shaking, confused dogs into car without their invisible fence collars.
5. Endure the whining, shouting demands of who gets to ride beside whom. … one mutt is in a crate, but the hope of eliminating one argument by doing so proves false.
6. Arrive. Alongside all the other sun-starved humans and activity-deprived pets
7. Disembark the van, and untangle all the legs from all the leashes. The retractable leashes. … if only the legs were retractable too …
8. Navigate a parking lot a` la Frogger (drivers with pets in various stages of ‘dangerous’. Hanging out of windows/doors/sunroofs. On laps/consoles/head rests)
9. Get inside the dog park.
10. Ask yourself “What was I thinking?!” As a Great Dane lumbers towards your 4 year old.
11. Walk, keep walking, continue walking while unleashed dog(s) sniff, snort, leg lift, and poop.
12. Field all the “Eeeeewwwwe” comments and questions children are fascinated by when anything in a 1 mile radius poops outside before their own eyes.
13. Enjoy the brief wonder as the children take in all the dogs. The swimming dogs, the muddy dogs, the tiny dogs, the tall dogs, the ball dogs, the old dogs, the barking dogs.
14. Try to locate your own dog in a panic
15. Pull a child out of the way of a bounding puppy
16. Intercept your dog from following the wrong human
17. Ignore the complaining about something called “Being hot” – in the 55 degree weather
18. Ignore the complaining about tired legs
Intercept the intelligent dog from trying to escape from your family Convince your rescued dog to come back to you
20. Ignore the complaining about being thirsty
21. Wonder if it’s legal to stop for a drink on the way home at a bar, leaving kids and dogs in car
22. Reach the end, find your own pet to leash. Convince pets it is, in fact, time to leave the haven with the whining, moaning, groaning children
23. Navigate Frogger parking lot again … avoiding poo puddles and poo mines
24. Get in car and speed home not caring who is hanging out of the window panting and crying
26. Thank little baby Jesus for the 8 millionth time the kids are school-age and tomorrow is Monday and you will never do this again.