There are many benefits to living in the country, but one of the nicer amenities of living in the city, especially our fine city of Biloxi, is our dog park. It's an ideal place for our four-legged friends to satisfy their pack-animal urges and run unleashed with like-minded dogs.
The park is one of four in the state and is located in the Sunkist area, next to the soccer fields, just across the Popps Ferry Bridge. We've been playing at the park going on three years. On the way there, as we near the park, Roscoe, in his excitement begins happily whining, or wheezing, or making some kind of half-bark, half-wheeze sound, then stands erect on the truck seat and cranes his head and neck leftward, looking intently with eyes wide open. On hitting the parking lot he barks loudly; nothing will stop him.
On entering the park you first enter through a fenced foyer, designed to prevent potential escapees, of which there are none, from hatching their plan while you are letting your Roscoe in.
Every dog entering the park is greeted by a "welcoming committee" of the dogs there where the necessary "hand shaking" (butt sniffing) carries on. No matter how many times I see three or more dogs sniffing each other's rear bumpers, I, a grown man and professional, still think it's funny. You will often see three dogs, sniffing, lined up in a row; occasionally they will form a triad, or triangle, checking each other out. And so it never fails that shortly after arriving at the park I have a good chuckle.
There's a small fenced off corner for small dogs who are either intimidated by bigger dogs or have yet to acquire the social skills for politely interacting with others. Occasionally an owner will try to accommodate their Chihuahua-thing with the big pack and they end up barking wildly and frantically at whoever comes within ten feet. The bigger dogs usually just give the little twit a wide berth or bellow a bear growl, chasing it away to run tail between legs to its disappointed owner.
Interestingly, there are rarely any fights. In over two years I've seen only two dog fights and they were brief. They were between two alpha males demonstrating Darwin's natural selection theory that whoever has the bigger boom booms will prevail in the struggle. Such was the case here.
And the more dogs the better. You will see dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors. And they act like kids. Some pair off, some run in groups. Some seem to get jealous. There's a lot of chasing, chasing of tennis balls, Frisbees, and of other dogs. There's a lot of play growling, apparently trying to establish dominance over another dog. And every pole on the covered bench shelter has been peed on to the point that it's a good thing they're made of metal and not wood.
And then there's of course the expected pooping. the park has an unwritten rule that if your dog makes mud while in the park that you the owner must retrieve the project and place it neatly in the can. You do this by using the plastic Walmart bags which some clever and clean-minded person has placed at intervals along the chain-link fence. What you do is put your hand in the bag, pick up the trophy, turn the bag outside-inside and carry the now inverted bag, poop untouched, to the nearest garbage can. It's neat. I've only had to do this once. But it's been observed that not everyone abides by this rule.
You meet nice people at the park. Conversations rarely have anything to do with politics, thank God, or much anything other than dog stuff. People ask and answer, where'd you get him, how old is she, how do you get your dog to stop this or that, or do this or that. And of course there's the owner who is looking for advice about their dog's health.
I was there once with an elderly gentleman. He had a small, mid-sized black and white mutt, half collie, half beagle thing, that he confessed he'd really never wanted. His neighbor saved the animal off death row then couldn't care for it after falling ill and gave it to the gentleman. While we were standing there chatting, little Queenie, which rarely left his side, suddenly began screaming, screaming loud enough to wake up a man on ten Ambiens. The dog began violently running in a tight circle, as if chasing its tail.
I stood mesmerized and was thinking maybe the dog had rectal spasm or pinworms or something.
Anyway, he'd taken the poor thing to three different Vets trying to figure out why it has these three-a-day awful fits. He turned and asked me what I thought might be the problem. I was glad he didn't know i was a doctor because he would've really been disappointed in my lack of diagnostic dog knowledge. But I told him that if a human did such a thing they'd get a good rectal and colonoscopy exam. He said Queenie had already had two colonoscopies to the tune of $2,500 without a diagnosis. I didn't know they did colonoscopies on small dogs.
There's a lot of fun to be had at the dog park, watching dog antics, conversation, and making new friends. Plus the city keeps the grass cut. Kudos to them. If you get a chance, check it out. If you have a pooch and haven't taken him to the park then you might ought to consider going to confession. And if you don't have a dog then you need to get one. Unlike cats, dogs are necessary and they can help you keep your sanity.
See you at the park!