Zombies at the dog park.

A well-worn path runs around the circumference of the five-plus acre dog park we visit on Thursdays. From the  dog-lock (double gate), my boxer-cross sighted his kind at the north end of the park. I unsnapped his leash and released him from his impatient heel. His paws kicked up a low cloud of gravel dust as he raced toward them. The pack he joined was ranging over the tussocks and slopes that bordered the path but, from my vantage point, I could see they never left the orbit of the cluster of owners who were trudging anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the park.

At first, I hurried along in my dog’s wake, trying to catch up to the cluster. The biting north wind stole my breath. When I paused to tug the hood of my sweatshirt from under my coat collar, a radical thought struck me: I didn’t have to follow the path. I could instead cut across the frozen but snow-less meadow, and meet the group after they swung southward again.

The dogs noticed me immediately, of course. For just a heartbeat, I swear, they considered. Then – led by my dog and a sleek German Shepard – they came leaping into the un-trampled grass. Even the smallest dog – a beagle I think – plunged in. He bayed as he chased his long-legged companions.

The canines didn’t come to me. They investigated an iced-over puddle, a prickly-looking bush and a big stick – which inspired an enthusiastic game of keep away.

Not a single human left the path.

It wasn’t long before the calling and whistling began. One by one, the dogs returned to their owners. Having crossed the meadow, I fell into line with my dog.

Tonight, I’m wondering why I did that.

This photo was actually taken the night our very good, very strong, dog learned to pull a sled.


6 Comments on “Zombies at the dog park.”

  1. Melanie says:

    I love that you left the path! I cut across the grass on campus when no one else does– to me it’s a short cut and a political statement. Kind of an the emperor has no clothes / don’t fence me in / let’s live a little fun moment.
    Here’s to life off the path!

  2. Judy Limburg says:

    It certainly is a parallel to life, isn’it it? Stay on the path because that’s what they tell you to do . . . . But, sometimes if you have the courage to take a different course, you can discover all sorts of wonderful things you didn’t know exist . . . And then you have choices . . . it’s all about choices! And, by the way, I’m glad you didn’t get eaten by all those zombie dogs 🙂

    • That’s what struck me too. I’ve studied dogs. I know they follow their pack leaders. I know they need to play off the path. It’s interesting to me that I ignored my knowledge because I’m so used to following human social rules. I think of myself as something of a maverick. I WANT to follow my heart … apparently I just need to stop and really notice what I’m doing.

  3. Paul D. Dail says:

    Several years ago, I went to see a children’s school production of… hmm, can’t really remember (it was a children’s production, not exactly broadway 🙂 ). I remember it had many fairy tales kind of blended together, but what stuck with me was the running theme song which many times repeated the lyrics “Stay on the path.”

    So it’s been driven home since we were kids, apparently.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

  4. I absolutely love the way you write, it’s so lyrical.

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