Many cities and towns are creating and maintaining dog parks. This is an area where dogs can run and play together without a lead or leash. It’s a wonderful way to give your dog exercise and an opportunity to socialize. It relieves your dog of the frustration of always being on-lead or in an enclosed area, when your dog’s nature is to run and be free and to socialize with other dogs. Does your town have a dog park? Different parks have different rules and regulations. Watch your dog run free in a dog park is a wonderful experience.
I love every day – but I love days when I can discover the world and make new friends with dogs I’ve never met. I love days when I can be with my parents. And I love days when I can run and run and run and run and run. Today was such a day. I discovered the world. I made new friends with dogs I’d never met. My parents were there with me. And I ran and ran and ran and ran and ran.
This is the first "dog park" I’ve ever been to. The morning goes like this: At first, I’m on-lead and walking with Dad and Jane in this beautiful wooded area; Dad is holding the lead and of course I’m trying to lead the way and pull him toward where I smell other dogs, and Dad is holding me back from pulling too hard. I am bursting with excitement. We walk and walk. The trail under our feet is soft and flooded with fallen leaves.
Then we turn down a little path and encounter a wide open field. Dad, Mom and I go toward this field. I’m going to explode with happiness – but this lead restrains me. We get closer. We are almost there! But first, Dad stops me in front of this sign. I don’t really want to stop; I want to continue on and play with the other dogs who are running around the field. But my Dad is firm and I know he means business. I obey my Dad. I obey him because I want him to be happy with me. I want him to be happy with me because I love him. So it all works out.
It is hard for me to control myself but somehow I manage to. I’ve learned at least a little bit of self-control in my ten years.
Then my parents take off the lead. This is a special moment. wagging my tail; I know this is getting better by the moment. Then my parents say, "Joey, go!" and take a few steps to the other side of the sign. I follow them.
On the other side of the sign, I am happy. I am getting happier and happier. I see many many dogs and break away from my parents, like a rocket launching from its pad, and they don’t say anything or even try to stop me. Now it’s me and the other dogs. The other dogs want to play with me. This is great. I want to play with them. This is great. There are many people hanging around but they are allowing us dogs to just run free. This is great. Being free from the lead is great.
Sometimes I make friends with another dog, and we both like to run and we run very far away, running as far far away as we can, toward the edge of the park where the woods are, and loving our ability to run, and playing. Then – I hear Jane call "Joey, come." I look toward Jane and leave the dog I was playing with and I run quickly toward Jane. She says "Good boy!" when I arrive.
Then I am free again, free to pick any direction, and start running or playing. I make friends with another dog, and we run and play. This is a nice game! This happens again and again. I find a friend, we play, then we run off, far far away, then I hear the call of my mom and friend, saying "Joey, come." I stop whatever it is I’m doing, and run toward her. She says "Good boy!" and I take a few breaths, and then go to play again.
To me it’s never time to stop playing. I can be thirsty and hot and my tongue is hanging out – but no part of me wants to leave my new friends.
At one point, my Dad starts running around the field and, being his running partner, I start running with him. We run and run. Then he stops and I stop and play with other dogs again. Soon I hear Jane say, "Joey, come" and then she says, "Joey, sit" and I do, and she attaches the lead to my harness, I know the fun is over for now. That’s okay. I’m happy. I’ve had a good time. I’ve run a lot and felt as light as a bird. My parents are saying things like "He looks great when he’s running" and "I don’t see any limp". And I – I am enjoying my life, playing nicely with the other dogs.
Then it’s back home. Nobody has to say "Joey, drink water" this time. I know just what to do! I know to drink water! Nice that my water bowl is filled with that drink of life to celebrate the great afternoon my parents have just given me!
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