In the heart of a small urban community, nestled between apartment buildings, thrift stores, convenience stores, and busy cross streets all filled with busy people going to important places is a tiny fenced area designated for man’s best friend. This is the place our four-legged friends can “let their hair down” so to speak and go wild. A chain link fence squares off this park. There are two entry gates. The first is a very small area that lets you bring the dog in and take off his leash, before releasing him to the eager pack. The only grass in this park lines the fence on all four sides. The back right corner is additionally lined with bushes, trees, and lengthy bamboo. The middle of the park is nothing but dirt. When the dogs take off like multiple train compartments, sniffing butts on the journey, dust storms accumulate. There is a water station located to the right of the entrance. This area has a large metal container, which is beneath a water pump.  During the summer, the pups also enjoy a child’s sized swimming pool. To the left of the entrance is a bulletin board, held up by two large wooden posts. Attached to one of the posts is a red-cross mailbox. Inside, you can find bags. You know, everybody poops, and everybody seems to wait until they are at the dog park to do so. This is what the bags are for. Gotta clean up the poop!

While the children play, the parents make camp on any of the many dirt covered picnic tables scattered about the dusty field, and make shallow conversation about the one thing they all have in common.

For example:
“Buster is extremely submissive.”
“Oh, I know what you mean. Hector would get his ass handed to him by the smallest of dogs.”
“Buster will eat anything. I mean anything!”
“Hector will too. We really have to keep an eye on him.”

Other people digest their homework, gossip on their cell phones, read books, or intently stare down their dog down praying the poop fairy won’t make a visit on this day at this time because it’s their significant other’s turn to clean up the poop and that person just so happens to not be here today.

You can tell which dog is partnered with which human because on occasion, a dog will break from the pack and prance over to a human just long enough to get the, “Oh, Booster, are you having fun?” question before taking off to rejoin the pack.

Each dog exhibits unique characteristics during playtime. It’s as though they appoint the referees of their extremely exciting games, to keep score and demand fair play.

This is how the designation must go:
Marley and Poky trot along the fence  as they see someone pulling a human toward them and Poky barks, “Oh look, Marley. Here comes Jasper. He’s a bad-ass.”
Marley licks Poky’s ear and barks, “yea, dude. He can totally be the referee today.”
Marley runs ahead of Poky and calls behind him, “Dude, don’t ya want to hear his bark first?” Just then, Jasper and his human step into the entry gate of the park and while the human unleashes him, he howls, “HEY BITCHES! Y’ALL MISS ME?”
Poky sniffs the ground and says, “Yea, Jasper can be the referee.”

Another special dog park characteristic is the relentless humper. For example, my dog usually makes a concentrated effort to hump every single dog, ranging from the pocket-book accessories to the “OH MY GOD, are you sure that isn’t a horse??” types. The diggers meticulously search for China and the mama’s boys chill under the feet that hang off the picnic tables.

This little slice of loud and dirty heaven is the perfect place for my pup to play. I can’t imagine how bored my boy would get if he couldn’t calculate his humping success rates each weekend. I can’t imagine how frustrated I would get if I came home to a dog who cured his boredness by eating every non-edible thing in sight.