I’m not a “dog person.” But I like dogs. My family and I, we’ve always had cats. Still, one of the things I enjoy doing at our local park is taking a stroll down to the dog beach, where a motley crew of canines gathers to frolic along the shoreline and plunge into the lake’s dusky waters.
After the initial butt-sniff assessment, the doggies naturally form little packs. It’s real-time reality TV and it’s way better than just humans. The dogs’ owners are entertaining, too, but it’s the dogs who are the real stars.
“Wiener alert!” cries a young woman, who then giggles to herself. An adorable wiener dog joins up with a rottweiler, a cocker spaniel, a pug, and a golden retriever. They run together in one happy dog cloud toward the water. Further along down the shore, a French bulldog wildly humps a terrier of some kind. To my right, a boxer crouches, about to take a giant shit. I walk away, looking for a more favorable spot to continue my studies.
You can’t escape the faint stench of wet dog and poop. It comes and goes. I overhear a couple owners arguing about their dogs. One of them hasn’t been watching her companion very closely and it keeps starting fights with other dogs. She snatches her dog and leaves in a huff after he has the last nasty word.
A dainty-looking poodle abandons all glamour and rolls in the mud along with some mangy mutts. There’s no social class here. All around, pups of all ages and breeds run after frisbees and squeaky toys. They splash around and shake like crazy to dry off. Barks, growls, and howls abound. New friends and enemies are made.
“Prada! Prada, come here!” a woman yells at her little pooch. I grimace. Poor thing, I wonder what else it has to endure – probably tutus, hideous designer dog sweaters and a real diamond collar.
I smile as I see another pack form – a massive, burly bullmastiff with a couple border collies and a teensy chihuahua. They stop and accept a German shepherd after his bootyscent is deemed worthy. Tails wag, romping commences. I decide it’s time to continue on my own hike. As I leave the scene, I can hear the distant voice of the “wiener alert” girl. “That’s a real nice wiener you got there!” She calls out to the owner. She laughs and laughs. I smirk. Muddy paw prints fade on the asphalt pathway and I eventually step off, crunching on leaves and twigs, entering the quiet sanctuary of the woods.