When life gets oppressive and the TV news depressing, I’ve found a perfect escape. No matter the weather, this place is pastoral. Birds sing and unconditional love is always on display. It’s a place where your size, color, or age is a non-issue, and you are welcomed even if dressed in something weird or ill-fitting. When friends arrive, the rush to greet them is loud and uninhibited and no mention is made of grievances or past disappointments. Handicaps are overlooked and if extra pounds pad the middle, no attention is called to it. Excitement fills the air, and every soul celebrates by being unabashedly, ecstatically in the moment. New meaning is given to “Let’s party.” Welcome to the Dog Park.
Since I don’t own a dog, my number-one pastime, especially with sketchbook and/or journal at hand, is dog watching. I’ve witnessed canine antics that amuse, delight, and teach: Stand straight and walk tall. Respect your own and the space of others. Look after the weak and smaller of the species. Stop and smell the flowers. Most of all, don’t judge. Love your friends, tolerate your enemies and be glad when folks want to spend time with you. You don’t earn the right to be man’s companion and best friend for centuries without doing something right.
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