This weekend found me in a foul and irritable mood more often than I anticipated. It could have been the few extra inches of snow that Mother Nature gifted to us in Michigan on Saturday that tipped my mood, though usually I don’t mind snow. Honestly, I was already irritable Friday night. Nevertheless, when I read my horoscope on Sunday morning as I usually do in the bathroom (don’t judge–you know you read in the bathroom, too), it urged me to not sit still and to do things, at all costs, to avoid lingering around. Figuring I had already wasted the bulk of the weekend picking on The Mister or complaining about mundane details of married life (like whether or not to go to Target before we went to the godforsaken comic book store), it was probably good advice no matter what my astrological sign is. (Though for future reference, I’m a Virgo.)
So after I met Ms. MEPS for lunch, I decided to start moving the minute I got home. I finished putting together the new shelves we bought at Ikea. I started laundry. And then I took the big plunge–I took Rocky the Dog to the dog park. I have been wanting to do this for awhile, but his arthritis and/or the weather have always been barriers. Even though it was frigid and snowy yesterday, it was sunny and Rocky needed to release some of his own irritable energy from being couped up for too long. The only problem that has resulted from Rocky’s success on Metacam, a doggy arthritis medecine, is that it has exposed The Mister and me for the lazy dog parents we are.
As we drove up, Rocky looked out the window at the open field with a playground and about ten dogs with discomfort. In his life, I’m certain he’s been dropped off at a few places and not been picked up again. I reassured him and he spent the first fifteen minutes examining the garbage can outside the gate and the gate itself. The dogs inside saw him and came running, but he just looked around, gathering the schematics in case of the need for a breakout. When he did go in, he continued to examine the fence and all other inanimate objects nearby. A picnic table. A loose tennis ball (that he’d normally have stolen in a second). Another garbage can. A jungle gym. A discarded patio table and chairs. When dogs would approach, he’d meet and greet, but the first twenty minutes or so consisted of a very thorough inspection.
After awhile, Rocky began enjoying himself. He liked playing with the smaller dogs as he could keep up with them speed-wise while the bigger dogs posed the threat of being left behind. He investigated all of the owners, making friends with each one and convincing me, for a brief five minute period, that he was more interested in the people than the dogs. But he had a good time.
Until he started peeing on people.
Without any sort of warning, Rocky lifted his leg in front of the woman I was talking to, and prepared to aim and fire. I had to leap in front of him and scare him off to prevent this woman from becoming a human fire-hydrant. Apologies were flying out of my mouth at record speed as I watched him trot off to one of the people I had spoken with a few minutes earlier. As he approached her again, about ten yards away from me, he again took aim as if he had to complete the human-urination experience one way or another. I yelled and my voice came across my own brain in slow motion: “ROCKY! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” The woman just smiled and said it’s happened before at the dog park and she pushed him away before he was able to make contact. I surmised at that point that Rocky was ready to go home.
When we went home, we walked back into The Mister’s office where he works from home on Sundays. I proceeded to tell him about the trip and the dog looked generally pleased with himself. Of course the story about Rocky’s urination episodes drew laughter. Eventually we all settled in for the evening, new experiences under our proverbial belts.
Although I think Rocky had fun and got a good deal of exercise and although I know I’ll bring him there again, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was trying to tell me he was ready to go and I just wouldn’t listen until he started getting ready to pee on people. Like it had to get that bad for me to listen to his non-verbal signals. Maybe he had already tried telling me, but I was in my own little world. Maybe he had been ready to go for awhile and I just didn’t recognize it. Thankfully these women were dog park pros and this wasn’t the first time this had happened.
I keep trying to find a life lesson hidden in this story–some sort of diamond in the rough. All I can see is those faces as my dog lifted his leg to pee on them as if they were trees or fence posts. I really hope that Rocky liked the dog park because it was good for him socially and physically, but I have to admit that the next time I’m there I’ll be watching him like a hawk for signs that he’s ready to go. The first sideways glance towards the parking lot and we’re out of there.
As God and this blog as my witness, I will not be the dog mother to the Peeing Tom of the dog park. That much is for damn sure.