Needless to say, going to the dogpark is an adventure of epic proportions. One might ask - why bother? Well, we don't have a yard of our own and after having taken Nyxie the week before last with no incident and actually enjoying my dog as other people can enjoy their dogs, I was again addicted. I loved taking her when she was a wee pup and I miss those times spent with her running about, off the leash. So I decided to try it with both girls -to give them a bit of much-needed run time.
Getting the 2-headed beast out the door and into the car is the first leg of my perilous journey. They scramble for 1st out. Nyxie will then conform to me, walking loosely while Arwen hurdles forward. It must be quite the sight...I shudder the think about a dog or an unsuspecting squirrel dashing into view just as I'm reaching the car. The trip to the park is heralded by panting - hot, wet panting. Nose prints on every inch of glass, save the windshield, mark me as "that crazy dog lady".
Thankfully, the park is nearby, only a few miles from home and we pull into the parking lot. I was hoping the threatening rain clouds would keep the regulars away, but no such luck. There are several people lounging about on the benches, casually watching small dogs in sweaters sniff about the yard closest to the parking lot. Now I understand using the closest yard (there are four separate areas) - after all, the point of going to the dogpark is to allow your dog to play with other dogs. This assumption based of course on the premise that your dog is a well-socialized member of canine society. I only hoped for a yard. A fenced area in which they could run freely. But to get to one of the unused yards, I would have to pass the closest one.
We decided to wait in the car. There, Nyxie was fed treats when she stopped menacing the other dogs through the window and was able to sit quietly, albeit nervously in her seat. A first step to safe exposure conditioning. When the heat of the panting and the fading sun's rays was too much for a parked car, I left the lot and drove a few miles, allowing the girls to calm down after seeing all the canine excitement. They must've thought I was cruel for not letting them play..."But mom - we just got here!!"
Just as I had hoped, the skies began to open and big drops fell hard. "Yes! Now I can go to the dogpark!" Undoubtedly not what most dog parents say when the rain starts, but with my 2 miscreants, I have to be super careful. Just as I suspected, everyone was clearing out. All but one lady with a rather large Shar Pei mix in a far away yard. Maybe we shared a dirty little secret...
Texas cold fronts move in fast, like within a half hour fast. We arrived to rain, but temps in the 70's. The clouds were rushing in and even the hawks flying above seemed eager for cover, giving up hopes of fat little chihuahua meals. We made it to the farthest yard, I unleashed the beasties and they ran like the wind. All their pent up energy and mine dissipating with the rain and clouds. Their ears flapping, tails flying, legs pumping. Grace and beauty unleashed! My misfit dogs ran and ran, sniffed and read the signposts left by others before them. After a short time, the rain fell heavier and the winds picked up. Cooler now, bringing with them the expected cold front. The temperature was dipping into the 60's. The girls panted in tired relief, energy spent, tackles and bitey face over, they settled under the awning by the water fountain. They were done. No need to stay longer.
"No worries, mom! We'll be back soon - when's it supposed to rain next?" My girls are a work in progress. They are slowly tolerating more and more out of their comfort zones. They are evolving and growing, as I am, too. I don't have dog envy...I have yard envy!!