Dog Park a Community

Our neighborhood dog park, Regrade Park in the Belltown area, used to be a scary drug park. We love going there, or at least I do. I like jumping on the walls and leaping off the ledges.

And sometimes I just need to stretch out. Yes: that’s me in the foreground of this photo. me at the dog park

Mostly, I like all the attentiion I get from the other dog owners.

Yesterday we ran into a delightful woman who recognized me at once.. She cooed to me in baby talk and gave me a good butt scratch. She even brushed away some of the fur I’m shedding for summer (got the hint, mom?). Turns out she’s a physician in private practice.

I’ve also been patted by people with tattoos and piercings, people who are homeless and come to the park to share the love, people who are living in subsidized housing, people who are in the military, people who are living in mansions, lawyers, real estate agents…you name it. “Jail to Yale,” says Lindsay, our volunteer Park Steward.

There’s even a Regrade Park virtual community on yahoo. Recently, my mom read me a note from a Travel Nurse we met a few months ago. While she’d been working in Seattle, she wrote, she used to come here and she appreciated the community. She missed us!

True. My mom likes coming here because she meets real live people and has real conversations, after a day of working on the Internet with invisible people.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folks wn’t come at all. They go to the country parks.

But with a mom who hates to drive, it’s a perfect park for a CUPPIE (Canine Urban Princess) like me. I bet we go at least once over this weekend.

A royal workout at the dog park

Saturday (yesterday) was supposed to be a one-day heat wave. So my mom got up at the crack of dawn (ouch) and we ambled off to the dog park. I made some new friends and played for almost 40 minutes.

My mom was enjoying herself, talking to a whole new crowd. She tells everyone she used to be shy. Hah.

My tongue was hanging out and I couldn’t wait to get home to my castle. From the outside my castle looks like an ordinary large-size dog crate, but it’s my inner sanctum and private retreat. I love it…especially my kong toy, which smells like peanut butter and gives me hours of blissful chewing.

Caution: Dog Owner at Work

Uh-oh. Mom’s put on her copywriting music. She favors classical and she listens to whatever’s playing at the next Seattle Symphony concert she’s attending. Today it’s a Mozart piano concerto. Very soothing.dog helps owner work

Since Mom’s working seriously, I get to entertain myself this¬† morning.¬† Hre I am curled up on the couch, helping my mom who’s working on her laptop. Yeah, my ears go up when I’m sleeping. Don’t ask.

Fortunately Cathy feels guilty when she’s busy and she sends me off with Sara the dogwalker from Walkabout Pet Care. Sara takes a few neighborhood dogs to Magnuson Dog Park where I get to run around for a hour or so, full speed, sniffing the wind and the water. Most dogs are regulars and we’ve become friends.

“Not fair,” my mom sighs. “Gracie, why don’t you stay home and write some copy and I’ll go play in the park?”

Nice try, Mom. Maybe in your next life you get to come back as your own dog.

Just doing my job…

My mom was crazy-busy all day today. She was in one of her rare bad moods. I heard her mutter about juggling copywriting jobs, missing connections, losing things and a bunch of other stuff.

Here’s where I really earn my overpriced crunchies.

If Cathy doesn’t take me out, I’ll drive her nuts. I need exercise or I’ll be so hyper she won’t be able to hear herself talk on the phone, let alone write decent copy.

So we go to the dog park. Cathy always enjoys chatting with Lindsay, the volunteer park steward. “Sort of like the mayor of the dog park,” she says.

We haven’t seen Lindsay in awhile so I greet her enthusiastically while Nathan, a young man with a cell phone camera, recognizes a photo op. That’s Lindsay in her red hat, green sweatshirt and sardonic smile.Dog park with Lindsay

Later, as we walk by Macrina Bakery, we are greeted by a 30-something guy sitting outside in the sun. Cathy recognizes a dog lover so she asks if he’ll watch me for a minute while she goes inside to get something sinful to have with her coffee this afternoon. Naturally he thanks her for sharing me. Everybody does.

“I need a treat today,” Cathy tells me, as we head for the bus stop.

Hey, what about me? Who got her out, into the bright spring sunshine that brought her mood back to normal (more or less)? Who got her into friendly conversations with live people? Isn’t this why Cathy adopted me?

I deserve a treat too. Yesterday’s chewy is history. I’m going on strike…but first, it’s dinner and a nap.