LaVida (l) and Sammie (r)
I live in a county with several dog parks. Dog park adventures have become a regular part of my life with my new dog, a long legged totally tan sprinter that is the fastest dog I”ve ever had in my household.
Her name is Sammie and she’s my second rescue from the Escondido campus of the San Diego Humane Society-- which has become my favorite charity in retirement. This dog is quite unusual-- she’s a mix of wire hair fox terrier and whippet. Sammie’s most favorite thing in the world is going to the dog park, When she sees her pink leash come out and hears me ask “ Want to go the Park,”, she goes to the sliding glass door in my office and waits patiently to be hooked up.
Whippets are English site hounds developed by breeding italian greyhounds to wirehaired fox terriers. the breed standard suggests whippets should be smooth coated and every one I’ve seen at the dog park is exactly that. but not my Sammie. At this time, her coat is wirehaired mess with a stand-up fringe of neck hair that’s quite distinctive. My dog definitely needs to be groomed, but she’s not keen on being any where near a pair of clippers.
My 6X a week dog park adventures help me fully understand why dogs are defined as “pack animals.” the first thing Sammie does at the park is look and sniff out her dog buddies and then begin to sort herself out within a pack.
Then the fun begins. Apparently, dogs remember which pack members like to run and which dogs likes to engage in puppy grabass games. Sammie is popular with her pack buddies because she does both without being overly aggressive.
But there is one activity at the Dog Park where Sammie is super competitive; running flat out along the inside of the fence that marks the half-acre plot reserved for small dogs, weighing 25 pounds or less.
Apparently some dogs are born competitors. Sammie, for example, delights in starting her buddies out with a fast gallop. then the fun begins. Without fail, one of the three terriers that are members of her early evening pack will try to accelerate past my mixed whippet, something my dog finds objectionable, Her response is to shift into hyper drive.Within seconds, six dogs are making high speed banked turns on a self-defined course.
One of the things I really love about the dog park experience are the kids who bring their pets. When the racing begins it’s not uncommon to see and hear six to eight year olds cheering their speedy terriers, fleet footed chihuahuas, stumpy legged corgis or bossy poodles as they go racing around the enclosure.
And any dog who jumps over another dog to get in front of another pup is loudly booed as a “cheater dog.”
Saammie the cheater racing dog sniffinf a cokapoo dog park buddy.
My Sammie is a known “cheater dog” at the local dog park.I wouldn’t change one thing about her.
I actually have two dogs, “Sammie” and “LaVida,” a palomino color patterned Chihuahua rescue from Escondido campus of the San Diego Humane Society.
LaVida the chick chihuahua on the left.
I’ve evolved into a dog person because of Retirement dog 1.0, a Chihuahua named “Perro” who was about nine years old when I met him as a volunteer dog walker during the first of several firestorms that raced through Northern San Diego County several years ago.I was about one year post stroke when Perro came into my life. He was the best stroke rehab buddy anyone could wish for.
So who rescued who? My life was changed by amn older Chihuahua thst made his den on my bed. But Perro did have a vice.He loved the interaction with other dogs at the dog park.
I still think of Perro and when I go to the shelter and see the tile memorializing the little dude and my mother, Lois Sele, I smile.
Dog Parks are cheap theater as well as venues to scope out other breeds.
But most importantly, a tired dog is a happy dog.--Jim Forbes on January 25/2015.