Taking your dogs to a dog park can be fun if your dogs are clinically deranged like mine.
We have a nice dog park near our house. And after a day spent in this nicely maintained park, my dogs are kinder, happier citizens, and less likely to destroy my baseball cap.
The exact moment we enter the park, the party begins. My dogs transform into wild creatures who are so excited they forget about normal things like: behaving, using good manners, and not peeing in communal water bowls.
The park is a beautiful spot surrounded by a big wood fence and pine trees. It is the official “hangout” for local dog-people. But my favorite thing about this place is watching the dog world in action.
There are natural laws in the dog kingdom that dogs somehow know to follow.
For example: when I open the gate and present my dogs to the the other dogs, they smell each other.
Biology tells us that this is an ancient custom dating back to the primal civilizations of miniature lap dogs who once coexisted peacefully with Early Man and always chewed on Early Man’s baseball caps.
Among dogs, butt-smelling is a simple ritual, full of nuance, and intrigue. Imagine: fifty-eight dogs gathering around one tail. Which sets off a chain reaction of sniffing within the pack.
Dogs begin shoving their noses into the private regions of everything located within a ten-foot radius—including oak trees, certain species of ferns, and old men on park benches.
Once this is finished, new arrivals are then issued W9’s and expected to become tax-paying members of dog society.
My two dogs have a unique set of skills which they offer the rest of the dog world.
Thelma Lou (bloodhound) specializes in smells. She is highly skilled when it comes to aromas. She takes every single smell with grave seriousness.
During our nightly walks, for instance, she can’t walk more than a few steps without finding scents that might affect national security. Some of these smells are even located beneath her own tail.
Our other dog, Otis (alleged Labrador), has a completely different collection of talents. Namely: he eats stuff. If it needs eating and moderate digesting, Otis is your guy.
In the dog park, Otis follows Thelma when she is on an important trail. To the untrained eye, my dogs might look like ordinary dogs, out for a joy ride. But they are all business. In this park they are two canines crusading for truth and justice.
(Cue “Charlie’s Angels Theme”)
They run, full speed. Thelma sniffs dirt, making urgent zig-zags toward God-knows-where. Otis follows, pausing occasionally to eat pine cones, mud, and the pant leg of a teenage boy named Phillip.
Then. Otis finds something.
“BARK! BARK!” Otis says.
Literal translation: “Captain, I’ve found something!”
Otis has done it! He’s found something dead! Yes! There it is! It IS dead! Otis has found a dead thing! Or it could actually be a tube sock! But it’s a DEAD tube sock!
Thelma comes for a closer look. She sniffs the tube sock which appears to be filled with stinky, squishy, poop-like matter. She concurs with Otis, it is definitely dead. And in an attempt to shed more light on the situation, Thelma rolls on the sock until juices begin seeping out.
Otis barks again. (Bark! Bark! Bark!)
Translation: “WHOOP! THERE IT IS!”
Then, Otis lifts his leg on the object and officially declares this case closed.
Roll the credits.
So we can see that the dog park is fun. But in truth, it is short lived. Because after four or five minutes of unsupervised activity, Thel and Otis become bored. I can see indifference wash over their faces. They can’t explain why, but in only minutes this place has lost its charm.
My two dogs see me. They notice that I am not paying close enough attention to them. Which is unacceptable. To my dogs, an important part of enjoyment is BEING watched. After all, what’s the point of rolling on a poopy sock if nobody is watching?
Thelma and Otis run toward me. They are barking. Tongues hanging out. And so help me, I believe they are smiling.
They are not slowing down. I brace for impact. They are wet, muddy, gross, smelly, wild, loud, demonic, and covered in drool. They tackle me. I fall. It is death by licking. Thelma Lou steals my hat and runs for the hills. And I love them so much it hurts.
My baseball cap is completely ruined.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Diane - September 24, 2018 5:41 am
Love reading about the adventures of Thelma Lou and Otis. Sounds like you have your hands full keeping up with those two!
Sue Tait - September 24, 2018 5:42 am
Laughing out loud so hard I am crying… I do believe you know dogs even better than you know people! (and that’s sayin’ somethin’~~)
Nancy Thomaston Rogers - September 24, 2018 8:59 am
Nope, fior those of us who love our dogs, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
LaVera S. - September 24, 2018 9:09 am
I agree, I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are worth it!
Kelly - September 24, 2018 9:45 am
Love the adventures of Thelma and Otis. What a wonderful way to start Monday???
CaroG87 - September 24, 2018 10:46 am
My Kendi is absolutely addicted to the dog park. He is the referee who breaks up “fights” (other dogs who are actually playing with each other) then runs back to me like “look mommy! I did a good thing! I’m a hero!” But his smile while he’s there…. melts the frozen lump I call a heart.
Terri C Boykin - September 24, 2018 11:31 am
This makes me smile from ear to ear. Love you much Sean.
Bette - September 24, 2018 12:24 pm
Be careful of sitting on the ground in a dog park. I once came home with a tick on my neck…
Sherry G Bourgeois - September 24, 2018 12:30 pm
Connie - September 24, 2018 12:58 pm
I think your readers should all send you some used ball caps for your outings with your dog friends! ??
Carol - September 24, 2018 1:22 pm
Your the best daddy!!!
Your Love is as unconditional as theirs is for you!!
Jones - September 24, 2018 1:30 pm
Sandra Smith - September 24, 2018 1:40 pm
Walter, my Foster Dawg, for the last two and a half months, went to New York Wednesday, in search of a BIG family, with lots of kids & other dogs, and….ok, cats too, as well as a HUGE fenced in yard to romp and play in. That is WAY more enticing than a mobile home with two old farts, with bad knees….but, I read this, and realized….I NEED a dawg !!!
Thank you. Sean & Thelma Lou & Otis ! ❤
Joy - September 24, 2018 1:51 pm
I love all your stories! Just wish I had a dog…guess I will have to settle on reading about Thelma and Otis.
When I was a child I had a beagle named Gypsy…of course she liked to go rabbit hunting…and come home full of ticks! However Gypsy would not let anyone pick the ticks off of her but me. So I would sit and cry and tell Gypsy how much I loved her as I pulled the ticks off.
Please, Sean, keep the stories coming.
Tami Waldron - September 24, 2018 1:58 pm
“I love them so much it hurts”……..yes that statement is so true!
Marty from Alabama - September 24, 2018 2:05 pm
Sub-title for today’s post: Two dogs and Their Boy.
Keep writing. I need the laughs and the mind of a good old country boy. Love the Dietrich clan.
Pat - September 24, 2018 3:57 pm
Love love love this! If only we could love like a dog loves. Except for the butt smelling!
Esteban - September 24, 2018 4:05 pm
Dogs teach us about simple unconditional love. They give it to us. We give it to them. They are truly one of God’s gift to this old, retired person.
Patricia Gibson - September 24, 2018 4:46 pm
I know exactly what you mean!
Shelton Armour - September 24, 2018 5:02 pm
Best laugh I’ve had in weeks. Thanks a ton. Hope you’ve got a unending supply of baseball hats. I get laughs from my dog (and dogs before Sydney) but I can’t tell the stories like you can. MY Shepherd, Gabriel, once just had to roll on a dead armadillo. One bottle of white vinegar later, I could tolerate him. Why? What is it with dead things and rolling into it like that? It’s a mystery.
Cindy - September 25, 2018 12:52 am
Our dogs love us unconditionally and we are so blessed!
Edna B. - September 25, 2018 7:43 pm
I love this story of Otis and Thelma. The doggies are precious. You are soooo blessed. Me too. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.
Mabel Crotty - September 25, 2018 10:55 pm
Sean you allow me to “feel” again…
Donna Waterhouse - September 27, 2018 11:41 pm
Terrie Streed - October 15, 2018 11:57 am
I can so relate! My dog’s favorite place in the world is the dog park! When we pull onto the entrance road, she goes crazy!!
Carolyn K - November 20, 2018 11:44 am
Oh the love for our fur babies❤️
Sandy F - November 20, 2018 2:24 pm
Love this story! The only thing my Dollie (Hello Dollie) likes better than the dog park is the cow pasture…and rolling in the freshest ‘cow patties’ that she can find! Love all your stories, Sean, but the Thel and Otis adventures are THE BEST!
Steve Winfield (Lifer) - January 24, 2021 3:09 am
The park for Oscar & Zeus is the whole house. They must have 50 toys but the only important one is what the other has.
Zeus stops eating half way to go watch Oscar. Sometimes Oscar sneaks around & finishes what Zeus left.
The entertainment is absolutely non stop.