A Dog’s Perspective
Life is good! I love going for car rides. This is fun!
Watch this! Look how my ears flap in the wind when I stick my head out of the window. Amazing, right?!
What’s out the other window? I better go see.
No way! It’s the park! We’re almost there. I love this place! There’s dogs and squirrels and birds and kids and squirrels and big people and sometimes kids have spilled food and did I mention squirrels?
We’re stopping! This is so good!
Hi, Mom. I love you! I know, we have to put my leash on. Go ahead, hurry! Let’s go!
Ah! Smell that fresh air! There was a kid here just a few minutes ago. He smells like peanut butter. We should find him. It’s probably still all over his face. I could help with that!
C’mon, Mom! Which way should we go today? By the playground? Yes! Sometimes the little kids ask if they can pet me. I like that. It’s like I am famous. Last time someone left a whole pile of Goldfish Crackers on the ground. I ate most of them before Mom said I shouldn’t eat food off the ground and made me leave the rest.
Oh! Look at that little girl! She has a toy that looks like me. See? I am famous! I am trying not to pull on my leash, but I really want to meet her. She will be so excited. Slow down. Slow down. I don’t want to scare her. Mom says I’m bigger than I realize.
There it is! She’s asking her mom if she can pet me. Her mom is telling her to ask my mom. I will sit nicely so the girl isn’t scared. Mom says to go ahead and then thanks the girl for asking.
The girl is really nice. She rubs the top of my head and smiles. I lick her hand. I can’t help it. She giggles. She thinks I am funny. I do it again. She’s talking to me. I don’t know all of her words, but then she shows me her toy dog. Oh! She’s introducing us. Cute! I lick her hand again. Mom tells me to stop because not everyone likes it. The girl does. I can tell.
The girl’s mom thanks us and tells the girl it’s time to go. We continue on our walk. I smell squirrels up ahead. They are all over this park!
A dog! I see a dog up ahead! He is smaller than me. He’s coming towards us. I bet they have been in the area my mom calls the Dog Park. It’s fun! I get to be off my leash and run with the other dogs if there are any there. Mom watches me and if there are no dogs to play with, she throws my ball for me to bring back. It’s so much fun!
The little dog is almost here. He’s not barking, which is good. Maybe that means we can meet each other. Lots of times little dogs bark and bark at me and their mom or dad makes them walk around a different way to keep them from attacking me. It’s nice for them to do that, but I don’t think they would hurt me. They are just saying hi and making sure I won’t hurt their person. I would never do that but they don’t know because we haven’t met.
Yes! Our people are talking to each other. I get to meet the little dog! We briefly touch noses, then he wants to sniff me from behind. I let him because I know if I go first he might get scared. I have found out if I just hold off and let the other dog smell me first, it usually goes better. I’ll get my turn.
My patience works! Soon we are sniffing each other all over. He has been to some interesting places! I wish he could come to the Dog Park with us so we could run together. Maybe next time. They go their way and we go ours.
Squirrel! I forget my manners and pull on the least. Mom tells me “no!” I slow down and realize the movement I saw was just a bird anyway. Birds are really interesting, but they fly away. It’s hard to play chase with something that doesn’t run on the ground. I can’t fly. I tried.
I’m walking. I’m walking. I’m looking. I’m smelling. Bird ahead. People walking. So many dogs have passed by here. This is so much fun!
Walking. Walking. Stroller! Tiny kids in strollers are amazing! They often have food all over their hands and faces and clothes. Sometimes I get to help them clean up, but Mom doesn’t like it when I lick their faces. I try hard not to, but sometimes I can’t resist!
Some moms and dads don’t like it when I get close, but others do. Which will this be?
The mom is telling my mom how cute I am! She’s asking if the little kid can pet me! Yes! I smell cereal. Double-win for me!
I gently approach and stand still, waiting. The kid pats my face. Then he feeds me a piece of cereal. It’s delicious! The kid is laughing. I patiently wait for more. There is cereal sitting on the tray. Should I eat it? The kid hands me another piece. I will wait for him to feed it to me so I don’t get in trouble.
The kid feeds me more cereal. I lick his hand. He laughs. Moms are watching us. This is a good day!
A few minutes later we are walking again. Almost to the Dog Park. Yes!
We have to go through two gates. It’s hard to be patient, but I try.
We’re in! Mom takes my leash off! I run just a little way, then come back. Are there other dogs here? Yes — I see one on the other side of the park. We start walking towards her. I stay close to Mom for a bit. The other dog is getting closer. She wants me to run with her. We’re off!
Running! Running! I chase her, then she chases me. Her mom throws a ball and we both run after it. I let her catch it and take it back so it can be thrown again. We play this game for a while. It is so much fun!
Hey! Two more dogs! They run right up to us and we all start playing together. I stop when I notice another dog walking on the outside of the fence. I watch and sniff the air. Ah. He’s afraid of us. His dad walks him on the outside of the Dog Park. Too bad he doesn’t want to play. This is amazing!
A while later Mom tells me it’s time to go. I’m thirsty and a little tired. I don’t mind going home now. Besides, it’s almost dinner time! I’m starving! I say goodbye to my new friends. I hope to see them next time.
We go through the two gates, back down the path. Things look different from this direction. Interesting. More people coming. A small dog passes by, but his person keeps him far away from me.
My body feels good and strong. I am so fast when I run! You should have seen me running in the Dog Park! I was almost the fastest, but there was one dog faster than me. I think if we all ran around the park –
Mom holds me back. She tells me “no!” The squirrel runs high up into the tree. We stare at each other and then move on.
I love the park!
(This article originally appeared in Medium publication, HotFlash, on Oct. 17, 219. A Visit to the Dog Park. )