A few weeks after we first brought Gracie home from the ASPCA, I decided it’d be fun to take her to Prospect Park. At the time I was still coming home from work at lunch every day to let her out, and we were working our way up the street in gradually increasing increments. From the front door to the garbage cans. From the front door to halfway up the block. From the front door to the mysterious “School and Teacher Distribution Center”… you get the idea.
Gracie needed persuading and cajoling just to make it to the next corner, but I thought what she really wanted was a trip to the big park 4 long avenue blocks away. I wound up carrying her at least half of the way, though she did love the big field once we got there.
Cut to 5 months later, Gracie’s about to turn 7 months old and needs a good hour of exercise every day. I’m proud to say she gets it – if it’s nice out, we go to the dog right after work and K-cup does a walk later in the evening, and on Saturdays I look forward to a journey of discovery to a different section of the park each week. This week we revisited the Nethermead but instead of turning left toward the boathouse we went right towards a lake-thing, where Gracie encountered her first horses and her first geese.
Reaction to the horses? Panic and “don’t feed me to the stomp monsters!!!” Geese? Intense focus and a growing conviction that she could totally take those waterfowl out if given the chance.
We recently switched to a front-fastening harness, which cut her leash-yanking down to practically zero since leaping forward results in being spun around. It makes walking her a dream except for when she gets so excited she manages to wriggle out of the belly strap.
Coming home she was so tired – we probably covered 3 miles of Prospect Park South I’d never seen before – she kept refusing to go down sidestreets that were not up to her exacting standards. This dog would not let me go down any of our usual homeward routes; finally we settled on
Montague St Montgomery Place which dead-ends on 8th avenue after passing by dozens of the most gorgeous row houses I’ve seen anywhere in Brooklyn. Gracie has excellent taste in real estate.
I love that she’s so strong-minded and yet so sweet. We ran into a little boy, maybe 16 months old, and she didn’t jump at him, just licked his hands and wagged her tail so hard she almost flipped over.
There’s only one dog at the Prospect Park Dog Run she doesn’t get along with, and that’s jut because Hoyt has a screw loose. Everyone else she greets with kisses and hipchecks and the occasional LEAP! “Gracie, off.” LEAP! “Gracie, off!” LEAP! “Gracie! Uawff!”
Pronouncing it like I was born in Queens seems to help.