Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Dog Park

So Tucson has really stupid laws about dogs. No dog can EVER be off it's leash anywhere in the entire city unless it's in your own, fenced yard, or in one of five City of Tucson regulated dog parks. I remember how misled I felt the first time we pulled up to the dog park. I was imagining a wonderful place with lots of grass and trees plenty of room to run. Instead it was about a half an acre of dirt surrounded by chain link. A "paddock" for dogs, so to speak. Disgusting. The dumbest part of the whole situation is that there are hundreds of washes that stretch for miles and miles throughout the city. But if you're caught with your dog off it's leash in one of them, you have a mandatory fine. So stupid. So the City acts like they're being all giving by setting up these dirty patches of land. And we don't have a yard, and Penny needs to run and be socialized with other dogs while NOT on a leash (so says Caesar Milan), so I have no choice but to take her to this dog park when she starts getting weird and unbalanced. I should probably take her more often than I do, but I really can't stand it. Well today was one of those weird days where she just sits and whines at me, so I loaded her up in the car, grabbed a book in case I needed to appear busy to any weirdos, and off we went.

Just as gross as I'd remembered, though there were less dogs this time than last time. One was a Brussels Griffon named Daisy that looked JUST like it's owner - a larger, elderly lady with a squashy face. Anyway, these two ladies joined me at the picnic table and before I could pull out my book, one of them starts laughing and pointing - "LOOK! That dog looks just like its owner!!" If I had at least had my nose in my book, it would have been more obvious that I had NOTHING to do with those ladies, but as it was, all I could do was pray that dog's owner didn't hear. A Brussels Griffon isn't exactly the type of dog you'd be flattered to be compared to. I mean, I guess you wouldn't be flattered to be compared to ANY dog...but really now. Who does that??

"Excuse me, has anyone told you lately that you look like this? ...Well, you do."

Anyway, so sure, Penny's little compared to big dogs, but she's definitely not tiny. And some people bring TINY dogs to this dog park, and I always get nervous because Penny is so clumsy, I worry that she'll trip and inadvertently crush a teacup chihuahua to death. She's constantly falling and running into things, so much so that I'm really starting to worry about it a bit. I think I'm going to take her to the vet to see if there's something else other than clumsiness going on. Like, the other day, she leapt down the entire set of concrete steps in front of our apartment and skidded on her face for at least four feet before finding her footing. Her poor little lip was bleeding...then once it had scabbed over, she busted it open again. I'm not sure if it was her running into the metal chair that did it, or her knocking her mouth on a ceramic mug in Jon's hand (those two events happened within 30 seconds of each other) was probably a combination of both...anyway, afterwards her lip was bleeding again. It was funny when she'd be walking on the couch and all of a sudden fall off...or when she'd take a running start to jump into your lap and totally miss, but when she started actually hurting herself, it became less funny.

So anyway, there's this tiny little teacup at the dog park today, and I'm worrying a little about Penny crushing it, when all of a sudden this little thing came at her with a passion. She rolled over and took the humping with a worried little look on her face until the owner intervened. I thought it was hilarious and was preparing my phone for a picture, but the guy seemed really weird and embarrassed when he grabbed his dog away so I decided against underhandedly encouraging it so I could get a snapshot ("hey...little dog...come here again....). Hello - 3 pound chihuahua overpowering a 20 pound cockapoo? One of the funniest things ever.

We stayed there for about an hour and a half, until she was thoroughly filthy. Then instead of going to Petco afterwards (as was the plan) I had to take her home first for a bath. Her original owners opted against clipping her tail, so the grotesque long hair was completely matted with sticks and leaves and mud. And since she's got such curly fur all over her body, she became this gross grundgeball. I'm not kidding you, I carried her inside so she couldn't set foot on my floor, threw her in the bath, and had to fill up the tub three times since the water got so dirty. Then after her bath, she went crazy in the house, like usual, scooting around, rubbing her face along the carpet, and barking her head off.

And then.....she fell asleep. And she's been sleeping ever since. Thank goodness. All that just so she'd leave me alone. She always gets a little weird when Jon leaves. The other morning I couldn't find her, and when I went into the bedroom, there she was, curled up on his pillow. Awww. Too bad she's not allowed on the bed, ew. But he'll be back from Florida on Monday, then she'll mostly be back to normal.