An Inauspicious Start
The Week in Lists

bum bum bumbumbum bumbumbumbum DOG PARK!

(The title of this post is how you are required to say "Dog Park" in our house, by the way. You are also permitted to rap on a nearby surface. However, so far I seem to be the only one following this rule.)


So. The dog park.

It's not really an OFFICIAL dog park...just a random open field that the Dog People have claimed as their own. There's actually a sign that says THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK, which everybody ignores. The flagrant law-breaking impresses me, actually, as you know I have a documented fear of Imaginary Authority Figures, so I always take Ceiba's leash with me, just in case the police show up to make examples of us all and we need to scatter, a frantic mob of dogs and tennis balls and plastic baggies full of poop. And I imagine the die-hard Dog People will be yelling about how it doesn't matter, they'll be back on the field in a couple hours, maaaan, and maybe a small crowd of die-hard Non-Dog People will show up to cheer the police on, and at this point I realize I've got my imaginary cops decked out in full riot gear for some reason.


Anyway. I am not really sure which side I will be on, when the great Dog People vs. Non-Dog People war comes. Because I do not think I particularly like the Dog People.

Dogboy vs. Crazy_cat_lady_1

Your illustrated guide to the Coming Conflict.

It's possibly due to the fact that out here, in the wild untamed 'burbs, Ceiba does not really count as a dog. I am constantly telling everybody that we just moved here from the District, you know, because that's the only possible explanation for why I'm taking my hamster out for a walk. I come from the city! From the Place of the Pursedog! The Land of the Teacup Poodle! Plus, I'm probably on drugs.

In our old neighborhood, there were no less than FOUR other Miniature Pinschers. Four! Poor Ceiba was the runt of that bunch too, but still. Everybody had little dogs, except for that one lady with the gigantic sheepdog, and seriously, NOBODY could look at her and not shudder a little bit at the thought of what her apartment must look like.

Out here, we're total freaks. We are in Labrador Retriever Land, and nobody knows what to make of Ceiba, and no, thank you, but my dog does not quiero Taco Bell.

We met one lady with a small little white fluffy thing of a dog, although she was really quick to let me know that this dog was a Katrina rescue. (Translation: NOT ON PURPOSE.) Oh, and also she used to do all the advertising and videos for PETA (Translation: OH SHIT, DON'T TELL HER WE DECLAWED THE CAT).

Some of the Dog People are a little...intense, is what I'm trying to say, I guess.

Plus: They only ever talk to your dog, as Rell aptly noted in the comments the other day. This means you never learn anyone's name, or anything about them, but you are properly introduced to Mugsy, who is four years old, yes she is, and who! got! a big! bone! in her Christmas stocking, because Mugsy is a very good girl.

Plus Plus: Are there rules for the Dog Park That Is Not A Dog Park? No one will tell me. Are only big dogs supposed to hang out with the other big dogs? Is there a small-dog kiddie pool area that I don't know about? Is it okay that we bring our kid? (Noah: OGGIE!) (Yes, it's official. I heard it myself and everything.) Is it frowned upon if you don't have one of those remote-control dog-zapping collars that everyone seems to have? Because seriously, I don't think they come that small. iPods don't even come that small yet. And am I the only person on the planet who doesn't have a North Face jacket?

Plus Plus Plus: German Shepherds.

This one is totally my damage. I'm sure they are very nice dogs. Okay, no. I'm not sure. Since I'd been REPEATEDLY assured that the dog who attacked me was "a big baby" and "totally friendly," there's just no way I can take the word of some random person at the dog park that their dog is charging at me because he wants "to play" and not "to eat your delicious thigh flesh."

And I know it's really annoying when someone acts afraid of your beloved smushiekins. When Ceiba was younger she had this bad habit of jumping towards people we passed on the sidewalk. She never nipped or anything, and we were always there to snap the leash back. Most people just kind of laughed at her, but one time she startled a woman who screamed and jumped about three feet off the sidewalk. I apologized profusely and explained that we were still training her, but the woman just gave me a dirty look and kept walking. Like WHATEVER, lady. It's a three-pound puppy. Seriously.

And this was terribly unfair of me. Small dogs bite too. Maybe she'd been bitten as a kid or something. Or maybe she just thought DC's rat problem was seriously getting out of control.

Anyway. I can't help it. I'm scared of German Shepherds, big sweet softies or otherwise. And there are a lot of them at the dog park. And they are running around off leash and I try to act cool and even petted one the other day and then had to come home and have a drink, because I COULD HAVE DIED.

Ceiba came home and cowered under a chair for awhile too. Poor thing. She's all, "WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME HOW WEIRD I AM?"

Sigh. You are weird, little dog. Very, very weird.


Luckily, you're with the right people.



They are the freaks. I and my three purse oggies will back you up in that fight.

Say not to the North Face Jacket. Ugg has awesome down jackets ;-) that will let you be original.

Ceiba and Noah look so very tiny in that big field.


Intense dog people make me a little uneasy too (of course, all I have is a 14 lb. cat, which may be bigger than Ceiba...just sayin';)). As for Noah saying 'OGGIE!, my daughter (14 mos) will now actually say DOg (you can barely hear the 'G') in the right situation (ie, she sees one) and the other day I thought she was saying 'dog' while pointing at the door, but I think she was actually saying door...oh man, either she thinks doors are dogs or she needs to start enunciating her final consonants so mommy stops getting confused!


Christmas with my family: 6 Labs and my adorable 12 pounder. Everyone mocks him, until they see that he doesn't try to eat everyone's food, doesn't feel the need to fling himself off the dock and come back smelling like river water and cuddles up quite nicely in the bed. And when I tell them it takes him at least a month to eat a 8 pund bag of food, they are very jealous.


What is it about German Shepherds?
I was bitten, on the thigh, by a German Shepherd who's owners were friends of my parents and the damn thing was a police dog. I have been terrified of them ever since.


My earliest memory is of my mum and I being followed home from playschool by a German Shepherd. I was so terrified, I was a blibbering mess when we got home. I've been scared of them ever since. It didn't do anything to me you understand, it was just there. Hovering.

I SO want a little ratdog but I'm not allowed.


I'm afraid of German Shepards too (really, all big dogs, but German Shepards are included in the "big dog" category) and I was never even looked at funny by one. I just don't handle big dogs well.

I had a boyfriend in college whose parents bred Mastiffs and they had a male who was so big that he could have easily fit my entire head in his mouth, which was what really freaked me out when I woke up one day and it was standing about a foot away from my head just staring at me.

Okay, so I guess a big dog did look at me funny.


Navigating the world of dog ownership is treacherous and intimidating, yes. I got a dog from the pound last year and when I take him on walks and encounter other dog owners, I am always filled with unease - will they be mad if my dog sniffs their dog's butt? What if their dog bites me? What if they ask me what breed he is and I say "lab mix" and they say "mixed with what?" and notice he is a pitbull octaroon? It stresses me out. Especially since you never know what a dog is going to do when he meets another dog. Smile? cower? snarl? frolic? it's a crapshoot.


i HATE the dog people, I have two 70+lbs lab mixes. A word of advice though, small kids + dog park = VERY BAD IDEA. We took our kid to the dog park all the time, in the stroller. then she started wandering aruond, and has absolutely no fear of dogs, so we would stay on her the entire time, making sure she wasn't antagonizing a non-kid friendly dog or something like that. Adn in the mean time, our dogs were getting bitten and roughed up by other dogs, because our eyes were on the kid at all times. So given Ceiba's diminutive stature and Noah aptitude for wandering, i would not take them both to the dorg park....


Yep, you're right.....Before I had my son, I left my "real job" to go work with animals and worked at a super fancy shmancy pet resort here in VA. Loved, loved, loved it!! Rest assured I saw many a wacko dog owner, but I have to say the cat owners were the ones that proved certifiable.....


AMEN. We have a Dog Park That Is Not a Dog Park too. But we haven't taken our dog there because she is wee. Not as wee as Ceiba (seriously, are there any dogs that are as wee as Ceiba? I want to eat her for lunch, she's so adorable), but wee nonetheless. And all the dogs there are LARGE.

Whenever we take her on a walk around the neighborhood, and there's some dog off his leash (always some monster of a thing too) we pick up our dog as we walk past. The owner will assure us their dog is friendly. My response? "Ours isn't." Because, like all small dogs, they have a complex about their size and if Friendly Big Dog was to sniff her butt she might morph into Very Scared and Angry Little Dog and that wouldn't be pretty. That's called starting a fight she can't finish. So yeah. No Not A Dog Park for us.

Oh and also? My mom had a big german shepherd thing too. She used to have dreams about them when she was little. Me? Mine is pit bulls and rottweilers. A rottweiler once chewed through a fence to get me I swear to GOD.


Also I apparently cannot spell Shepherd correctly. Sorry about that! (Am an idiot today)


First off: I caved into the trend a LOVE my North Face jacket. So warm and toasty.

Now onto business. We have a 100 pound Lab and a 4 pound Chihuahua. Imagine the looks we receive at the dog park. It gets even better when we explain that their names are Jack and Jill.


The reason the sign says THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK is because it isn't. Really. look again at those 2 pictures. Just Noah. And Ceiba. Not another dog to be seen. Sorry Amy but I think you wandered into an empty field. And field people are way scarier than dog people.


Field people! Of course! We've been trying to make friends with the hobbits!

Silly us.


Sorry, no advice about the whole Dog Park etiquette thing... but what interested me is, (and you don't need to tell me, I am already aware that seeing a photo of a gorgeous child and a cute dog and only being able to think of the crap is not normal and yes, I will be going into therapy very soon thank you very much) do people poop scoop at dog parks? How much dog crap did you scrape off those wee white shoes Noah is wearing on the photo?


I would imagine if little Ceiba wore one of the shocky collar thingies, and you used it, you might want to keep some epinephrine handy. It might act as a defibrillator. You would have to yell CLEAR!! when you zapped her!

And German Shephards scare me too. They just look pissed off all the time.


Chiming in to say that I also think that small kids + dog park = bad idea (but I won't go ALL CAPS on you).

I've taken our dog to an "official" dog park once or twice. That park has a sign saying no children under 8 allowed.


I hate German Sheperds. I dated a (freak) guy once who parents bred them. They made a big deal out fo introducing me to their two prize
babies" when I arrived, and all was well until "Eva" (after Eva Braun, I wish I were kidding) jumped me and tried to eat my head. Luckily she was on a choke chain and some kind of muzzle so she didnt do any physical damage, but I kind of lost it and ended up dumping him and his freak parents and horrible dogs on the way home.


I have to agree that some dog people are scary. You think it's just because they don't have kids and then you find out they have 3 and you just wonder WTF is up with that.
Personally I'd skip the non-dog park dog park & just take Ceiba for a walk to the people park where Noah can play and you can meet the other transplants. They'll be easy to spot with their small dogs and that deer in the headlights look in their eyes.

PS - skip the North Face and go Columbia or Eddie Bauer - be warm, but be different ;)


Not bad for a lazy whore. :)

Amy M

I may be one of those crazy dog people. . .

I am terrified of some large dogs (Dobermans & Shephards) because I was attacked by a Doberman/Shephard mix. It was a friend's "rescue" dog & was evil.

That said, I have an 80 pound Lab & he terrifies little Ceibas at the dog park. He loves everyone & is fascinated by little dogs. He won't leave them alone!

And I've taken my infant to the dog park where he was mercilessly licked by a pit bull who could reach the stroller. Terrified me.


Laugh not at the woman who screamed at your yippy rat dog. It is the rat dogs I am most afraid of. Now big dogs, I like. All playful and friendly with big brown eyes. But the rat dogs? Total ankle-biters. Total about-to-jump-in-my-face-and-bite-my-eyes...ers.

Scare the living shit out of me.

I like Noah, though. He seems like a nice kid. ;-)


I am a dog person in that I loooooove me some dogs. However, I am not A Dog Person who feels that it is her God-given right to let her dog romp wherever the hell he wants to without a leash.

Also, my dog weighs 80 pounds. He is big. And you know the dogs we have problems with at the park? Little purse dogs who have little purse brains and feel the need to try to eat my dog. Dude. Little Purse Dog. You would fit inside my dog's mouth whole. Back off.

(I am one of those people who are afraid of tiny dogs. I've been nipped at several times by tiny dogs. I was not that lady who freaked out at you on the sidewalk though.)


Big Dogs! Little Dogs! Tiny Dogs! Italian Dogs!

clap clap clapclapclap clapclapclapclap...DOG SHOW!'re capped locked DOG PARK made it impossible for me to control myself and quote one of my favorite SNL's of all time.


Aw poor little purse oggie and miss Amy, getting attacked by big! scary! Dogs! You'll find your niche in the suburbs, I'm sure, but until then - it's very amusing reading heh. Thanks.


I stole LilZ's Northface jacket and claimed it as my own.

Also? Who was that KID in those pictures? And where the hell is your BABY?


To further your fear of German Shepherds:

Growing up in the country, we adopted one. He was nice in the beginning, until one day I came home and (WARNING TO THE QUEASY!) found our pregnant cat dead on the gravel drive with her little baby fetus kittens strewn about, also.

And then a goat mysteriously died of an animal attack.

And then we came home from dinner out, and as we were bumping along the driveway, our headlights shone on our GERMAN SHEPHERD WITH ITS GIANT TEETH AROUND THE NECK OF OUR OTHER GOAT.

And so my dad shot the dog. And buried it.

And that was that.


Dogs are great, but dog people (as well as cat people) really scare me. I do have several friends who fit into both categories, but I've never really understood the obsession. As for big dogs, I know I may be in the minority here, but it scares me half to death when my son (13 months) is around a big dog. I’ve actually pissed off some friends with a mastiff puppy (180 lbs and only 1 year old). When the dog’s head is larger than my child, I have to put my foot down no matter how friendly the dog.

Oh and I've been dying to know if you found a Gymboree out there in the burbs?? Suburban moms at Gymboree.... I can only imagine the stories.


um? I love german shepherds. They are loving and sweet, and I have grown up around them, but I do totally understand why they freak people out. They are big, they are protective. My last one was very sweet with my kids but should someone come near them she didn't approve of, look the f**k out. So we had to be careful, and most people who have big dogs know that but some think its their God given right to let their dogs bark their fool heads off and scare people. These people perpetuate the myth whether they mean to or not, which frustrates me. Anyway, my main issue with gsd's (and other large dogs) around kids is that they tend to be very focused when playing ball or frisbee, as in NEVER take your eye off the ball, and they will accidently trample anyone or anything in their way when chasing it, including small children and purse dogs. So I kind of agree with the not taking Noah and Ceiba to the Not a Dog Park at the same time, at least.


I go with my parents to the dog park (they are "in" with a Golden Retriever) and you are RIGHT ON about how weird the dog park people are. This made me laugh out loud.

Love the picture of teeny Ceiba next to Noah!


and no, thank you, but my dog does not quiero Taco Bell.



OMG Jes, your German Shepherd was like a Manson!

oh, and I see the lines forming here in the comments section, betwixt the "big dog people" and the "little dog people." heh
Let's talk about an animal we can all hate equally: geese.

Amy H.

I feel you on the dog park. I have a little dog, too. A frady-yorkie. That is a mix breed of scardy cat and yorkie. She is afraid of everything. She won't let our 5 month old (who is basically immobile) come near her. She is afraid of empty boxes, shopping bags, shadows and basically anything new. She fears change. As a result, we don't go to the dog park. She fears most other dogs, even the ones who manage to be smaller than her. Sounds like Ceiba might be, but I can't say for sure. Lucy weighs 6 pounds.
She does like to go on walks, though. Problem is, you can never be sure that NO ONE ELSE is outside with a baby or another dog, or an empty box that might send Lucy over the edge. Makes life interesting.


We used to have a German Shepherd. And he was totally a big baby. He let the cat eat his food alongside him and would back away when our Cocker Spaniel wanted his food. And he looked like a werewolf -- Long black hair, Doberman markings and amber eyes. I miss him alot.

Now we have a Lab-ish dog that is allergic to food. That would be ALL food, even the ridiculously priced ZD ($61.00 for 27 lbs.) that is supposed to be allergen-free.

Obviously, my comment has little to do with your post (freakin' hilarious, by the way) and more to do with my own pet life. Thanks for listening!!


Also, Project Toddalah? Sounds kind of Gangstalah. Me likey.


Thanks for all the comments so far -- after I wrote this I worried that in going for "funny" I may have come across as being anti-big-dog or (worse) whiny about how "not everybody loves my doooooog!"

My dog is a freakshow and I know it. I just want her to have some doggie friends like she did in DC.

Anyway, just to clarify -- when we take Noah to the park we stay FAR away from the other dogs. (As you can see in the photos, this is pretty easy to do. It's HUGE.) The past few days I've taken Ceiba alone, just for a game of fetch and to watch the big dogs from afar. We both seem happy with this arrangement.

Oh and I agree with Sadie: big dogs AND little dogs are great, let's hate on the damn geese instead.


I have to stick up for German Shepherds for a sec...or at least mine. We adopted one last month, a bigger baby I dare you to find. She's part Collie too so maybe that has something to do with tit. All 60 pounds of her is scared of our 9 pound kitten. With claws. I promise mine wouldn't chase your hamster. ;)


errrr, ummmm " do with IT" IT. IT. no boobs.


What does tit have to do with your dog, Erin?

Sorry, just had to ask because it made me laugh!!


Damn those geese!

(I wonder if anyone will scroll up to see what I'm talking about. Heh.)

Jes: Your german shepherd story is TERRIFYING!! Like Cujo or something. Eeek!


Holy crap. That was funny. I do not even have a dog. Dog parks make me nervous though- not for the dogs but fear of stepping in poop.


I'm laughing so hard at my desk right now i'm afraid my boss can hear me. This was a great post mostly because you said that your imaginary cops are decked out in riot gear.

I heart your blog.


...and I love dogs.


Don't you hate it when people quote your own post in their comment?


Is there no end to your funniness Aimalahlahlah?


Needed a good laugh! Walking your hamster ...SO FUNNY!


I have to jump in here to say I have the sweetest German Shepard.

But if you are scared, you are, and I can't blame you because Rottweilers scare the $%^& out of me. One reason I'm not real fond of dog parks.


We have two medium-sized dogs who are getting up there in age. They're shelties (think: miniature Lassies). And one of them, Gandolph, has a lop-sided ear that had to be SEWN BACK ON AFTER A GERMAN SHEPHERD BIT IT OFF. The floppy ear is cute, it's endearing, and it's enough for me to steer clear of German Shepherds.

Fortunately (or not), our 14-year-old dogs are a little too "senior" for a dog park - Gandolph can barely make it up the steps now.

I never caved to the Ugg boot trend, but I love my Northface jacket on cold winter weekends!


Today was another one of those posts that had me laughing out loud through the entire thing. And that is why I have a serious addiction to this site. Because you...are friggin' hilarious.


I have two rat-type dogs -- Jack Russells -- and people out here in Loudoun County (yes, I live in the REAL middle of nowheresville) people only have big, burly dogs that bark -- not yap. My dog can take those big dogs anyday though. Don't screw with Tuck.

I do not have a Northface jacket either, so there. We are both losers. My teenaged daughter has one though. She is way cooler than me. She also has Uggs and I do not. My life sucks. (By the way, am I allowed to read these mommy blog things if my kid is a teenager? I feel very old and non-mommyish.)


I totally understand. I have a German Shepherd mix (about 70 lbs), and she is the sweetest thing ever and I love her to pieces. BUT I am sympathetic to people who might be afraid of her. I was attacked and dragged down a flight of stairs by a Rottweiler who I was told was 'just a pussy cat' and no matter what anybody tells me about their sweet, adorable, well-trained Rotty, they still make me break out into a cold sweat.


I was damn nearly eaten by a German Shepherd when I was 11, so yes, they are terrifying, and no, I won't pet them when I encounter them on the street, no matter what people say. My attacker was a police dog. A POLICE DOG. SERVE AND PROTECT.

And maybe eat.

Oggie! So cute. Ahh, Noah.


I live in Manhattan, and I am amazed (shocked! and appalled!) by the people on my block -- which is awash in all manner of canines -- who own MULTIPLE large dogs, and not just labs but Mountain Dogs and Great Danes and other MASSIVE animals.

Maybe they're in rent-controlled housing and have sprawling apartments with a separate dog wing for $450 a month, but we live with a cat and a weensy breakable Italian greyhound, plus a couch and other furniture items, and already it's too much.

Mostly, though? I am relieved to see that you have found a wide open grassy space out in the burbs, and not just another parking lot. Yay for choosing a place to live with actual parks! AND dog people!


Oh callistawolf, you nailed it. I have schnauzers and one especially who thinks that everyone (big dogs and small dogs, and people, and even birds) need to know how TOUGH he is. Some people seem so offended when I immediately take my dogs and hightail it the other way when I see their dog coming. It's not because I'm afraid their big dog will hurt my little babies, it because my babies are OBNOXIOUS.

Anyway, Amy, I'm sure Ceiba loves to be able to run around, and watch the big dogs from afar. Glad you can both enjoy it!


Would you take offense if I told you that I thought Noah was standing too close to a pile of poop?

Kidding, of course.


Big dogs= big guys. Sweet, affectionate, maybe even a surprisingly good cook.

Small dogs= Little Man Syndrome. Nervous, twitchy, and ready to bite your face off at a moment's notice to prove that they, too are big and tough and don't you forget it.

The wee ones, they scare me.


When we were kids my little sister was attacked by a German Shepherd who jumped a high fence. Luckily she only has a small scar above her eye to show for it. I don't remember much else of that incident except that I'm afraid of German shepherds, too, and any dog I don't know, for that matter. She was also bit at a birthday party while the kids played a game of trying to stomp on each other's balloons tied to one leg. The little dog who lived there got too excited over the commotion and bit her leg.


I am scared to take my dog to an off leash park. He's not a purse dog, he's a Cairn terrier (think Toto from Oz, only blonde) and is nearly 25 lbs (YES, they aren't supposed to be that big but he's not fat, just big boned *really*!). Anyway, I'm scared he'll be the one to start a fight (because he's got attitude), but it will be with the big Shepherd and he won't be able to finish what he starts. So we say on leash and I get tense anytime a big dog takes a run at him.


Amy. Seriously. You MUST STOP making me laugh until I snort at the office. My co-workers are starting to talk about me. Well, it's likely they were already, but now they have ammunition.

Freakin' geese are mean. One chased my uncle around the Columbus Zoo for 20 minutes until it finally could sneak up & bite his ass. I'm not kidding.


Last picture: a man and his purse dog--it's a beautiful thaaaang.
This was a GREAT post.
We went to a family holiday party with two minpins and a chihuahua in attendance. Grandpa's cancer, Nephew's Big New Job and Niece's Graduation from Optometry
School (and my fabulous h'ors d'oeuvres!) got short shrift.
It was all about the Purse Dogs. Meh.


I will back a Weimariner or however the hell you spell it against a German Shepard for sheer vicious Nazi proclivities any day. At least the latter have the whole guide-dog reputation going for them.


Geese are referred to as feathered rats in my family.
They also bite harder than dogs & there is nobody to glare at when you see them leave "presents" behind.

Thank goodness there are no Geese people.


Well, this comment is totally not dog-related at all, I just had to say that after reading your Project Babalah paragraph, I was thinking to myself what does she mean, Project Todd-alah? Is she having another baby and naming him Todd? Then I said it out loud again and decided you meant like Toddler, except with a Jersey accent, Toddalah, right? See how invested I get in your life?


Back when my college roomie got married in a posh Long Island ceremony, we had to haul our shantung-clad asses to a park for photos. Little Did We was Goose Shit Pond.
I don't mind paying $60 for fuschia dyeables (well, actually, yes, I do), but to have the dyeables UNFREAKINGWEARABLE because of gooseshit, well, that hurts, man. That hurts.


Dog park culture is indeed super strange. Out here in L.A., I often feel not cool enough to be at the dog park. (Actually, I think my dog fits in better than I do.) I knew I was out of place when the "regular crowd" at one of the local parks showed up on a Friday night to get wasted in the park as their dogs ran around like fiends, terrorizing my poor baby. They suck.


I was going to say something in defense of German Shepherds, as my last dog was just about the sweetest dog you could ever hope to find. But I think Erin may be onto something. My dog was mixed with Collie too, so that may have helped the temperament.

I tried a dog park with her once or twice, but found that the other owners let their dogs get really rough--kind of like the complaints I have about some playgrounds for my son!

heather b

i really really really really wish i had a dog and a dog park to go to. noah and ceiba do, indeed, look wee in a giant field of ignance.

And I am more afraid of geese than I am of dogs. Or more hatey, anyway, oh my lord how i despise geese.


this has nothing to do with shepherds, but..i too hate it when "dog-people" at the vet, park, daycare(i know..shut up) try to have whole conversations with my dog. its bizarre.


In defense of the woman who gave you a dirty look: Being scared of dogs is a huge pain in the ass. I was bitten on the face by a puppy when I was 5, and then, just when I was 18 and just starting to get over the trauma, an unleashed, un-chaperoned Rottweiler chased me down the street. So now I am terrified of any dog that barks at me. Even itsy bitsy ones. And for the record, this is VERY EMBARRASSING, as the logical part of my brain understands that the itsy bitsy dog would lose to me in a fight. Unfortunately, the phobic part of my brain is too busy tensing up my body and preparing to flee to listen to logic. But I don't give the owners dirty looks if the dogs are leashed, because I realize that the problem here is me.

Also, "Project Toddalah" doesn't work here in Boston, because people would think you're just saying "Project Toddler."


My campus had these marauding geese that would start chasing you from about 100 yards out. i once got one caught in my looong hippie skirt )i was trying a persona on for size) and was unable to extricate him until I kicked him in the head...he was THAT intent on biting my legs.

geese = terror.

But, did you know you can get them to back up if you flap your arms? Kind of like a bigger goose would? You look stupid but you save your ankles.


We used to live by yet another infamous dog park that was not really a dog park. People there actually kinda seperated the little and big dogs on opposite sides of the park, although they often ran into each other. I have a siberian husky who would totally lick you to death, yet people always think she's a wolf or something. She, too, feels a little out of place. I think. But hmmm, it's not like I talk to my dog or anything. Sheesh. Anyways, some dog people are wierd. But it will probably help Ceiba to acclimate if you take her time to time. Try to have fun in suburbia!! :)


Where I live - Madison, WI - you don't know any people names either that go to the dog park, only dog names. I hear people all the time saying 'Fido's Mom....'. I'm okay with that because I don't want people actually interacting with ME.

Oh and I have an Old English Sheepdog, they don't shed and I live in an apartment - they're known for being pretty good apartment dogs:)


Hi Amalah,

I've been reading your blog for over a year now and have never commented because hello! you have like 9 million comments. Anyway, I just felt the need to share with you that I absolutely look forward to your blog each and everyday. It's wonderful. You are hysterical and make me cackle my ass of. Thank you.


Or cackle my ass OFF perhaps. Gawd, I finally comment and make a jack ass of myself:)

Jennifer O.

I was driving in my neiborhood the other day and saw a couple walking a St. Bernard. Holy Cow that is a big dog. I almost crashed because I couldn't stop staring. I was glad I was in the car though so I didn't have to run screaming. I am sure it is a very nice dog but I wouldn't want to take a chance:)


bum bum bumbumbum bumbumbumbum DOG SHOW!

Okay, someone already beat me to it but I'll do it anyway. :P


=> but one time she startled a woman who screamed and jumped about three feet off the sidewalk.

Perhaps she thought it was a 3 pound rat that was jumping at her, rather than a 3 pound rat dog puppy, heh.

Poor Ceiba!


Ceiba is an adorable little doggie!!! Don't let em get you down girl! Little dog, big fight! Or something like that!


He said OGGIE! I love it!

Hey, my Chihuahuas think they're German Shepherds, therefore ruling out the idea of EVER taking them to a dog park.

In fact, I think it's awesome that you even HAVE a dog park. Seriously!


I also dislike German Shepards (and also, all dogs... I'm just NOT a dog person). Coincidently, my mother-in-law was "bit" by one while we were on a walk new year's day. It only bit her coat and ripped it, so she was not hurt. But I was there and the had NO colar and obviously wasn't chained up. I'm so glad/lucky that it didn't come after me too.
The guy that came out to get the dog said "it's only 3, and it was probably trying to protect the kids, that's what german shepards do, blah blah blah." Jeez, put a damn colar on your dog and chain it up outside!!! Preferrably in the back yard where I don't have to see it.


We had a german shephard with some rottweiler in her. She was the most beautiful dog you have ever seen, but batshit crazy. The vet put her on ritalin to see if it would calm her down. That was one scary dog.No one would come anywhere near me when I walked her. We ended up having to give her away when we had kids.


OHG if one more person says yo quiero taco bell to my Minpin, abby, i'm going to kill them! i had the same problem with abby in an unoffical dog part in baltimore. I just kept her on the side and let her join in with the big dogs if she wanted too. Plus had to be very brave and block some of the big dogs from eating her. Good luck with the park. After a few more visits it will get easier.


i was laughing my ass off at this post...i had a high school boyfriend who had a schnauzer that bit me 3 times. THREE! and to this day, whenever i see a schnauzer being walked, i cross to the other side of the street to avoid the little psycho. and the weird thing is i am a dog lover, and i love big dogs the most. Danes, mastiffs, you name it, the bigger the better...but small little schnauzers scare the shit outta me.

anyway, thanks for making me laugh today. :)


Laughing so hard!


They only talk to your dog...priceless. My friends who were dog park people referred to "Lucky's Mom" and "Charcoal's Dad" since that's how they knew the people they spent an hour with every single day.

We don't do dog park. We did once and my dog got totally mauled. We got out of there within 2 minutes. Then I met a Dog Park Lady who said I had to try again, please come and I will introduce Goldie around.

Within 10 minutes, Goldie comes running back with a mystery puncture in her side. Not a bite. A puncture. Deep. How deep? $1600 and 11 large wire staples at the vet deep. A drain in her side for 2 weeks. A big, ugly, oozing, OMG this is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen drain.

No more dog park.


a classic.


Wait... Can someone tell me what "project toddalah is"?


We had a german shepherd, he was not nice to anyone but us. And no german shepherd that I've ever encountered, now that I think of it, has been nice. They are just protective. Unless they are official K9 dogs, I always stay away.


"OGGIE" awwww...all I get is "PUPPY!!" He won't even call the dog by his name, he just calls him puppy...and pulls his tail!


Okay, 88 comments and I'm really the first one to ask (I think I'm the first, as I checked 3 times like a nerd): Whoa, your dog park doubles as The Matrix?

Or did I completely misinterpret that reference?

BTW, hi!


so I was admiring Noah and the cute little flower patch next to him. Until I looked closer and realized the small flower patch was actually your little teeny dog. Hilarious so teensy.

Black Belt Mama

German Shepards???? They might as well be man-eating lions, tigers, or bears, as far as I'm concerned. I'd need anti-anxiety drugs to even to go the non-dog park. My daughter was "playfully assaulted" by my neighbor's HUGE German Shepard as I watched from the upstairs window helplessly holding my newborn while my husband tried to get the dog off of her. She was fine, but I am forever scarred. Take a taser with you or something.


hey, i just wanted to tell you that i have been reading your blogs for a while now and have not even thought to comment cuz i am laughing too hard to think. anyway, i have a 3 year old nephew named noah, and he had something like the same similar speaking thing when he was around your noah's age. anyways, i could never be nearly as funny as you, but i make some people giggle, so if you have time between battles of dog people vs. non-dog people check it out!

Flo-Queen of the Bad Mommies

I have a big suburban oaf of a golden retriever/poodle mix (a goldendoodle, if you will). I aspire to having a Pursedog. Someday I WILL have my Pursedog!


Thanks for the title! That "Dog Show" sketch on Saturday Night Live was a good one. Does Ceiba like "Mr. Rocky Balboa?"


No, everyone does not have a North Face jacket.

I either wear my leather biker jacket or my full length leather. Both black, of course.

Pursedog. Love it. Thanks for the laugh.

Nat Lauzon

Oh puleeeeeez you wacky German Shepherd-fearers! Honestly, I can understand the fear...especially if you've been bitten by one in the past. But my family had a german shepherd for 11 years til she died of cancer last year. Sweetest, gentlest dog you could have ever met. If we had people working on our house, my mom would give them the key and have them let themselves in. Because Dakota was a pussycat, even with strangers. Never an ounce of aggression toward, man, woman child or beast in her entire life.

When we went for walks she'd ignore the yappy little dogs barking at her, she'd sit politely as little kids ran up to pat her head. One day, a tiny little ball of teeth ran out of its yard and attacked her! She rolled on her back instantly, even though she could have flattened it with one paw.

Now, I have TWO of those little yappy dogs. Chihuahuas! One is a lovely, quiet little purse dog who wouldn't hurt a fly. The other is a Grade A jerk. He'd clamp his jaws on a Great Danes naughty bits if given half the chance. If this guy was the size of a German Shepherd - he'd be a lethal weapon. Fortunately, he's tiny and can't do much damage past the emotional scarring he inflicts when he humps his squeaky frog. (Incidentally, before she died - our shepherd MET my 2 dogs and didn't care less).

My mom - has another German Shepherd pup. :)

Anyhoo - I'm not a fan of dog parks, in general. Too many people who don't watch their dogs and laugh off dominant and agrressive behaviour, instead of correcting it.


Oh yes. On the topic of Shepherds. They are wonderful dogs IF THEY ARE YOURS.

My grandfather had a shepherd, and she was a great dog. As long as you were family. They are extremely territorial and protective of their people. For some reason, most of the people who have them don't seem to be aware of this, and think their dogs are like the labs I had as a kid, which are these big loving goofs that will accidentally beat you to death with their supersonic wagging of the tail while trying to drown you with their tongue. And you could be robbing the house and they'd still treat you like this.

Shepherds...not so much.


We live right next to a pretty affluent town in a Chicago suburb and everywhere you look people have on those Northface jackets with the emblem on the back - at first I thought they were defects. I told my husband I needed a new jacket to play in the snow with the kids and he got me stupid Columbia. What the hell am I going to do with that?
Also wanted to tell you that last week I was scoping the clearance items at the Gap and someone was walking around shopping with their little purse dog in their arms. I've lived here for some 20 years and it's getting nutty. It's not like we're LA, people! don't go shopping with Ceiba, do you? If so, you know, that's okay.

Miss Britt

I too often feel like a little Ceiba in a pack of German Shepards. Tell her to bark louder - they'll all learn. :-)


I thought about you this morning. My husband came home from his run and said "Hey, I had a running partner this morning." At first I was thinking "oh my god, some slut is running with my husband and she's going to be all flirty with him and soon he's going to leave me for her because she's in better shape, I have to cut off his foot so he can never run again." (Which is not when I thought about you, by the way.) Anyhow, instead of letting my husband in on The Crazy, I just casually raised my eyebrow and said "really?". Then he told me that the German Shephard from like 2 blocks over was untied and decided to run with him. He went on and on about what a great dog he was and all I could think was "Whoa, Amalah would've just died." And that is when I thought about you.

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