Saturday 22 Oct 2016

Dogs and Parks
AJ Robinson

When I was a kid, I always loved going to Menotomy Rocks Park, which was just down the street from our house. In the warm weather, we could play ball and other games, and use the swings and other playthings. The pond didn’t have much in the way of fish, but we still enjoyed fishing in it. Then, come the winter, there was sledding, tobogganing, ice-skating, and the occasional snowball fight.

I learned the value of a town park then.

Now, today, my wife and I again know its value, and it’s not from any use we get out of the park. No, it’s because Juliet, our dog, has so much fun at them. There are two in our immediate area, and they are great dog parks. The one is huge, has a nice fence around it and sits on a lake. When we go there, we always know when Juliet has had a lot of fun.

First off, she’s drenched. Second, she’s exhausted. Third, and most importantly, she is head to tip of tail filth. Once she’s gone in the lake for a couple of swims, and is soaked, she’ll run and play with the other dogs. Next, when her tongue is hanging from her mouth, she’ll dig herself a nice big hole in the soft sand, and flop about in it.

It’s then that we know enough is enough and is ready to go. We’ll haul her over to the Dog Washing Station. Yes, we have to drag her. Oh, it’s not that she’s too tired to walk. No, after all our trips to the park, she knows well what comes last. We can tell she’s had a good time by just how dirty she is. There are times when she literally has dirt and sand on her teeth and tongue!

Yeah, a very good time we had. After that, we go home. She generally sleeps for the rest of the day.

The second park is closer and smaller; it doesn’t have a lake. We don’t go there as often. It has some nice amenities for us humans: play areas for kids and teens, nice walkways, and even a snack bar. Juliet still manages to have fun. There are many dogs to run with, some doggie recreational toys and they even have two drinking fountains: one up high for us; the second at ground level for our four-legged friends.

Yeah, those are nice amenities.

All of these places have taught me the value of public parks. I hope one day I’m able to take my grandchildren to our local parks, but I’m not so sure. After all, these days, what with budget cuts, I have to wonder if parks are on the “endangered species list” for our cities. Who knows what the future holds? I guess I should just be thankful for the memories I have of my childhood, and the places I’m now able to visit with Juliet.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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