There’s a lot I wanted to say…

Serious things like Ableist language in the media coverage of the Arizona tragedy (it doesn’t matter if he’s mentally ill on one level – a court has ruled him competent to stand trial. And it’s harmful to all the people who live with mental illnesses to say “Oh, he’s crazy, that’s why he shot those people”). And I’d love to contribute to the “Give This To My Daughter” blogging that’s going on, even though hypothetical future children are the hardest to shop for and write letters to.

I also want to give you guys a rundown of The First Meeting Of The Best Ever Book Club – The Room, Homecoming (for me), Many Waters (for her), S’mac (goat cheese, muenster, andouille sausage, mushrooms, rosemary) and crepes (dark chocolate and raspberry, strawberry and lemon) because the books were awesome and our innovative clubbing model is faboo.

But instead I’m going to bitch about jerks at the dog park. Because That Is What Park Slopers Do. Until they have kids. At which point they bitch about the nannies?

I’ve got some simple Dos and Don’ts for you, dog parkers, based on lo these many weeks of taking the Gracie for her late mid-afternoon constitutional.

DO

  • Let your dog off the leash in the appropriate area, of course. Once there was this woman who was just walking her dog around the be-fenced enclosure. WTF. Who is having fun in that scenario?
  • Make sure your dog is not a sociopath. One of the two other dogs on our floor is apparently REALLY MAD that there are other dogs in the world. Another regular dog run denizen is a six month old, un-fixed hound who actually plays pretty well with Gracie but who is either an instigator or a target of Alpha Male ‘Tude Battles with every other dog in the run. And his owner thinks it’s cute.
  • Pet other people’s dogs when they run up say hello. It’s sweet, it shows you’re not a murderer, eventually it WILL RESULT in us falling in love, so DO THE LEG WORK.

DON’T

  • Think it’s cute when your dog is a sociopath. This week Gracie was being doghandled by a scrappy mini-Shepard-looking-mutt, and he actually got a yelp or two out of her. Naturally I go into full on AVENGE mode (which manifests itself in scooping the squirming wonder off the ground for a few minutes) assuming the owners would discipline, rein in, call off their dog. They did not. It was annoying and they didn’t apologize until they were almost through the gate 10 minutes later. Hmph.
  • Bring your small mobile children with you to the dog run. It would be super easy to put the stroller on one side of the fence (and stay with it) while putting your dog on the other side. This one mom brought her kids, maybe 3 and 18 months into the dog run and then proceeded to freak out when any dogs got too close to them. Or they tried to touch anything. Or Gracie tried to say hi to her dog. If getting knocked over is something you really do not want for your children, why bring them to a dog run?!
  • Pick up someone else’s dog. This actually applies also to cuffing, nudging, kneeing and smacking. Thanks for helping us work on Gracie’s “Down” training by crossing your arms. NO THANKS for the gratuitous smackdown you gave her – I am glad your dog just reared up and planted pup prints on your back.

Kvetching aside, I really like having a place to take Gracie where she can make doggie friends and nobody has to learn anyone’s name. Occasionally a new dog owner comes in and forces the issue and everyone’s super uncomfortable. The best is when G-Money finds a playmate who is just her size, and then it’s like that scene in X-Men 3 where Wolverine was fighting that other ademantium-clad chick or a clash of the puppy titans or something. If you have a dog, bring it on by and Gracie will kiss them on the mouth within minutes of meeting them. I don’t know how to teach “Gracie, be more reserved” with a simple command-treat exercise.

Gracie on couch

I just need some space.

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