(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.)
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.
THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK. AND THERE IS NO SPOON.
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.
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.