Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Dog Park, Today

Phoebe and my weather station sensor
Hiking the dog park
We got a break in the bitter cold spell today, so off to the dog park we go, something we try to do frequently. We have a great one here in Santa Fe. It's huge, has bunches of arroyos and other interesting terrain, and is used by lots of people and their dogs, and I'm grateful for it.

The routine is set, and Phoebe knows it well; we always do a long hike, out to the edge of the park, and then beyond, on to land that no one seems to know who owns but is just desert and is just there. She ranges around, vanishes for a time but always returns to a call, looks back to make sure we're keeping up when she gets ahead, and makes sure we don't get too far ahead when she's lagging behind dealing with smells or more interesting humans. Then we circle around back to the area where all the dogs congregate to play in the park proper, near the dirt parking lot. There are usually between a few, and a few dozen dogs there, depending on a bunch of things like weather and the time of day or day of the week.

The dogs all play. People have put lost keys, eyeglasses, hats and whatever else they found on the trails on the plastic tables in this part of the park. Good Samaritans bring bottles of water and leave them every day, lest they freeze in the winter when the fountains are off, so the occasional irresponsible waterless dog owner can water his dog. When we encounter people who have had their dog run off, like ours did at first, we tell them we'll hold their dog here for them if we find and capture him. I've corralled two, but they were escapees from nearby homes that chose the dog park when given the choice of where to go on their own.
In the dog park

One of the things I like about the park is that people are usually comfortable talking as we stand around watching our dogs interact. We have a ready made conversation starter in our dogs. It's a good place to meet new friends. I've made some, and I'm glad for that.