Besides being loving to his people, Roscoe excels at one thing – he can catch a Frisbee like nothing you’ve ever seen. Like most herding dogs, he is full of energy and needs a task at all times. As long as he gets in a good workout in the morning, he’s fine. Since we’ve adopted Roscoe, I’ve developed a pretty good throwing arm.
The experience of getting up every morning to take Roscoe to the park has been good for all involved. Roscoe is happy and healthy. It helps me to start off my day with a little bit of exercise. It gives Sue and me some time together every morning. But more important, being around a bunch of dogs every day is truly fascinating.
Every dog knows his or her place in the pack. There are definite rules of “engagement.” Some dogs are more dominant. Others are submissive. Some love to play. Others spend their time begging for treats. Occasionally a fight breaks out - but they are resolved quickly - usually without human intervention. Roscoe taught all the other dogs to stay away from his Frisbee and, through trial and error, they have learned.
But, of course, in addition to the canines, there are also dog owners at the park. We, too, have formed a pack of our own. We see each other every day and share our lives for 40 minutes each morning. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are a lot of things you can learn from a dog park.Here are a few musings, observations and rules I have gleaned from my daily sojourns:
1. Everyone is equal at the dog park – it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you love dogs you belong. We have store clerks, retirees, lawyers, engineers, and rabbis (yes – more than one) who join us on a regular basis.
2. Everyone is responsible for their own mess (and those of their four legged friends).
3. Dogs have a lot to teach us about how to play.
4. Nature needs to take its course. The pack will usually regulate itself – but sometimes you need to step in if it gets too rough.
5. Bring water and share it with others.
6. Check in on regulars who don’t show up. If someone who usually comes misses several mornings in a row – they should get a phone call or at least a Facebook message.
7. Dont worry about getting dirty. When dogs show their love – it can be messy.
8. You can learn a lot about a people by observing how they treat their pets.
9. If you bring treats – you have to share them
10. Everyone is happier when they’re not on a leash.
I think that some of these rules apply to other areas in our lives, don't you think?