We’ll go with TO for short.
Yesterday, we did indeed take Sammie to the dog park. It was beautiful weather, and when we arrived, we couldn’t believe no one else was there! We were beginning to regret not bringing the Kong for her, when a woman arrived with what looked to be a Belgian Malinois:
We were so excited! He was a bit bigger than Sammie, looked like her, and while he was a bit overweight, appeared to be built for speed. Sammie eagerly approached him to play. He was definitely interested, but his owner kept telling him “No!” eventually grabbing hold of him while Sammie was in the middle of trying to entice him to join her in a good romp.
At first, we thought the woman was telling Todd “no” because he might get a bit aggressive when he plays. After a while, we realized that was not the case: she would only chastise him when Sammie started to play, despite Todd following us around and showing interest in her. This absolutely broke Sammie’s spirit so she didn’t WANT to play with him again and really upset us. We couldn’t understand why you would bring your dog to the dog park if you weren’t going to let it play with other dogs. The dog park is not for obedience training your dog under distractions; it’s there to let dogs socialize with others and stretch their legs, get a little exercise!
What took us from upset to mad, though, was when other dogs arrived. She would chat up their owners and let Todd romp around with their dogs, even terrorize a poor chihuahua, but still wouldn’t let him play with our sweet Sammie – the girl who stays on the outside of a group when it starts to get too rough and runs over to us if we get too far away from her.
This isn’t the first time we’ve faced such obvious discrimination, and we just cannot understand it. We’ve paid our dog park dues, and she is NOT aggressive in her play style or in her interactions with other dogs. So for any of you out there who takes your dog to a dog park? Don’t be a TO; let your dog be a dog for an hour and run and play with who s/he wants! Absolutely be alert and be ready to break them up at the first hint of trouble, but don’t discriminate… You may be keeping your dog from his or her new best friend!