Friday, February 27, 2009

The Dog Park


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

Cabin fever hit me last week and I escaped to Boise for a few days to visit family and friends. The city's economy has been beset by major layoffs, much like here in Blaine County. The financial downturn has affected those with whom I identify. My friends are all worried and are cutting back on expenses. My daughter, Sarah, is struggling along even with two jobs.

Sarah's second job is pet sitting. When her clients are called away, she stays in their homes and tends to their pets. Her success in this field grew because she would write postcards disguised as their dog or cat or bird to their owners. She's a clever girl and her business has grown.

On Sunday, I accompanied her on one of her chores. We took three dogs out for their exercise and that's when I was introduced to the Dog Park. The Dog Park is a large, fenced-in area in South Boise at Morris Hill Park behind a large cemetery. Inside the fence lies an enormous area covered with wood chips and sand. It has been supplied with numerous old tennis balls, hurdles, large cylindrical pipes and one lone fire hydrant, all placed there for the amusement of the animals. The dogs are allowed to run free, rid of their tethers and able to greet old friends and make new ones. Their owners congregate in a covered area in the corner and watch their "babies" romp.

For two hours, I watched 60 to 75 dogs of all breeds and ages frolic about and observed with amazement that not one fight or skirmish occurred. They all got along famously. I asked my daughter if this was a normal occurrence and she said, "Yes, Dad, they're not like people."

Can we learn something from this? Can we bury our resentments caused by these bleak financial times and go on? I think that we must. In our lives we find that when a door closes, another one opens. We must and we can move on with clarity and hope and not look back. Sometimes a job is a tether, which holds you back from what you really want to do in life. The animals in the "Dog Park" know this. Perhaps, we can as well.

Nice talking to you.




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