I love our dogs, they are a part of our family. And they are oh so special. Macy is a mid-sized terrier, loyal, agile, anxious and stubborn x10. Harper is nearly 90 pounds and although he just turned 3 he seems all puppy, also extremely loyal. This week’s walk in the park is a prime example of the nut bag behavior I deal with for these lovable clowns.
In lue of getting a work out in at home, pilates with a toddler on the hip is impossible, I figured an escape to nature would serve the same purpose and be fun for all. I loaded up baby and pups for a ride to our favorite dog park – Shawnee Mission Park. The parking lot was rather empty on this Tuesday morning, which worked out fine for me I was able to open the back and let the dogs run straight to the gate without leashes.
The dog park area is large in comparison to other parks we have gone to, there is a long wide path down the middle flanked with grassy areas on either side and wooded areas beyond that. Although there are paths down towards the wooded areas, we have always seemed to stay in the middle as it is the quickest way to the water. My dogs love to be social with other dogs, although they lack social etiquette and don’t quite get it when other dogs are annoyed with their jovial nosiness. My husband and I haven’t dedicated adequate time to training our dogs, although, we are pretty proud of them coming when we call (eventually). On our last trip to the dog park another dog accidentally knocked Parker to the ground, the shock made her cry and our dogs immediately retreated from their playful fun to lay down in front of their baby to protect her.
The dogs and Parker were so happy to be out free to run, Parker calling out to her dogs and laughing when they would coming running back towards her. She alternated between running after them and breaking to be carried. Needless to say the toddler toddling was not moving fast enough for the dogs. There were not many other park goers when we first arrived, the dogs greeted fellow pedestrians and pets who passed then happily continued down the path. Long down the path reaches a wooded area and the trail forks, both sides leading circling to a beach area. The dogs had been racing forward and back to us until we neared the fork, at this point Macy couldn’t contain her excitement and ran straight out of view towards the water.
Slightly annoyed at her irregular disappearance, I figured no need to worry we would catch up to her. The beach time was the real purpose of going all the way to Shawnee Mission Park anyway, bringing the dogs out in the heat I knew they would need some time to cool off. Harper stayed near us, whether to look after the baby or because he is a baby himself – he stayed close. We took our time and descended the hill down the path I thought was the shortest towards the water. My memory served me wrong, though the twists and turns eventually got us in sight of the beach to which my daughter exclaimed “Wa wa!” And finally I was back in sight of my little white terrier sprinting along the shore after a boxer. A couple more turns and we were at the beach with no sign of Macy. I called and whistled, no Macy, no boxer and no people.
I knew my anxious mutt probably followed the other park goer and his pooch back up the opposite path when she realized she would be abandoned alone on the beach. I pleaded with Harper, as if he could suddenly exhibit Lassie’s intelligence, “Go get Macy.” to no response… Lugging extra 30lbs on my hip, and a good for nothing beast at my side we began to climb the opposite path, where Macy had apparently gone to join another family. By the time I reached the spot back where the fork rejoins at the top my cell phone was ringing and I knew someone was calling from the tag on my dog.
A girl with a rottweiler had Macy leashed and was waiting for me up the path, when she realized Macy didn’t belong to the people she was following she stopped to help. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the stranger who interviened. She even said Macy was looking around nervously, of course I knew this was between the mindless bounding over the other dogs… Want to play with me, where’s my mom, I’m so excited, I’m so scared.
With our group finally reunited we headed back to the water and Macy dove right in.
Parker was dressed in a swimsuit, I assumed it would be wet and messy on the beach even though I didn’t intend on us actually getting deep in the water. Therefore, I came without a swim suit and felt comfortable in light summer clothes until Harper made me think I might actually have to dive in for him.
Despite being half golden retriever sometimes I wonder if he really has any of that blood in him, he doesn’t retrieve and he is scared to swim. Harper will run along the water and take advantage of the splashes to cool is black furry body, he doesn’t generally go deep enough to even let the water touch his chest. On this morning he stood in the water facing the shore when some seaweed must have brushed up against his leg. Panic set in for my giant and he scooted his body back further into the water. At this point fear increased more because not only was he feeling something on his leg, now he was getting into deeper water. I called sympathetic and encouraging calls for him to come to me. I knew if he continued his backward motion I would have to forego my plan of not getting wet in order to save him. Yet, back further he went until the water was over his back and he appeared petrified putting his head underwater as if to bite at the lake creature pulling him out.
Just before I could leap forward and make the 10 soaked steps it would have taken to reach him, Macy swam out in front of me and snapped Harper to attention. It was as if in a split second she taught him how to doggy paddle and he could finally make a forward motion in the water again. She lead him to the shore and as soon as he could reach he practically leapt over her to get to dry ground again. Macy suddenly made up for her earlier run off and became the Lassie for the day to save Harper from drowning. Yea, like I said – they are “special” dogs.