I was sitting on the park bench chatting with some friends, and I looked around for Claire just to make sure she wasn't getting into trouble. She was a little ways away introducing herself to the people who came into the park. She could've cared less about the dogs at that point, since she'd had a pretty busy afternoon at the river with Gracie and Asya.
One of the guys who was loving on Claire called over to me and asked if she's the dog who sits on the bench. When I said that yes, she's the one, he asked if she does that because she's afraid of the other dogs. I told him how she's been coming here since she was a puppy, so she knows most of the dogs who frequent the park as much as we do. I said that, it isn't that she's afraid of the other dogs, it's just, now that she's older, she has a certain routine for herself when we come to the park.
Claire spends a half an hour or so sitting next to me on the bench observing everything, and then she goes and plays a little bit with her friends. She checks in with me more during this playtime, and, if she finds a tennis ball that meets her high standards, she'll ask me to throw it for her a couple times. Sometimes she digs a hole or two under whatever bench I'm sitting on. And every so often, Claire will stop whatever she is doing and will go find Asya; she likes to antagonize her until she agrees to chase her in circles around the park. After that, Claire just hops back on the bench and sits with me for awhile until she lets me know that she's ready to go.
When Claire was a puppy, we used to go to the park for hours on end, and Claire would just run and run the entire time. It's funny how her needs have changed in the past couple years. She's not old by any means - she's just three! - but she certainly doesn't have that constant flow of energy anymore!