I love the dog park. I really do. Sometimes I think that I love it more than Claire does - or just as much, anyway. But from time to time, people do stupid things there. Sometimes I feel like the dogs are smarter than the humans. My friends and I have this running list of things that just drive us crazy, so I wanted to share:
1. When people pretend that they are deeply engrossed in a book or in their phone conversation while their Mastiff is getting ready to eat someone else's Pomeranian for a snack. I know that you know what's going on. Everyone knows that you know what's going on. So, unless you want all of The Regulars to call you out on your passiveness, get up and do something!
2. When people pick up their dog because they think playtime is getting too rough. It's like dangling candy in front of a 3-year-old; they'll do anything they can to get it, and you will get hurt in the process.
3. The people who get dressed to the nines for an afternoon at the park and then get mad when they get dirty. I want to go ahead and just tell Claire to jump all over you if you come wearing the equivalent of a ballgown. You lose another fifty points if your hair is perfectly coiffed and if you are wearing a solid five pounds of make-up. And don't even get me started on the hipsters...
4. Bringing your toddler and letting them waddle around the park while dogs are running at full speed and wrestling with each other. What makes you think that's a smart idea?! You will NOT get my vote for Parent of the Year.
5. People who think that everyone else's dog is the problem when all signs point to their own dog being an instigator.
6. When people bring their dog's favorite toy to the park with them and then get mad when other dogs grab hold of it and rip it to shreds. I mean, Claire doesn't know that it's your dog's favorite toy! She just hears something that squeaks (aka: sounds like a squirrel or chipmunk) and knows that she wants it!
7. Smoking cigarettes is always gross but it's even worse that people throw their cigarette butts on the ground. Some curious little puppy is going to try and eat that. What's your address, because I'll send you the vet bill.
8. People who bring treats for their own dog and then get annoyed when they become the Pied Piper of the park.
9. The dog trainer who brings his clients and their dogs to the park for training. That's just cruel for the poor dog, and your philosophy is idiotic. To bring them inside the park, expect them to pay attention to you while every other dog is trying to engage them, and then to yell at the dog for being confused is just ridiculous and uncalled for.
10. On behalf of my dear friend Amy and her dog Kingsley: all of the horse jokes that people make when a Great Dane comes in. Examples: "You need to put a saddle on that thing!" or "Look, it's Mr. Ed!" Not funny, and very unoriginal.
11. When a dog is trying to take a bite out of another dog and I see the naive owner running toward them shouting, "HE'S JUST TRYING TO PLAY, I SWEAR!!!!"
12. When people drop off their dogs at the park and leave them unsupervised while they go run errands. I'm sorry, but it's not a day care. And you are irresponsible.
13. Children between the ages of 4-10 who run around screaming at the top of their lungs and trying to poke the dogs with sticks. I just want to yell, "WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS?!?!" I mean, are people unaware that there are separate parks for kids and dogs?
14. The people who try to sneak in their full-blooded pit bull by saying that it's a lab/boxer mix. Same goes for the people who try to sneak in their wolf hybrid by saying it's a purebred husky. We weren't born yesterday, and there usually won't be a problem anyway unless your dog is aggressive and out of control.
15. I'm so glad that your dog likes to fetch tennis balls. Really. Just throw the ball to your dog in an area where people are scarce, because if your aim sucks and I get hit in the head with a tennis ball, I'm going to be furious! You know, after I shake off the unconsciousness that you caused in the first place. [Please note that I am one of those people who have terrible aim, so do not be offended if you, too, throw like a girl.]
Feel free to comment with anything that I forgot to add!