June 3, 2013

Dog Park Adventures with Cooper

Sitting at the window, looking for sister <3
 Poor Cooper hasn't had any fun since Riley's surgery. We've been keeping him crated at my house while we care for Riley at my parents' house. Cooper gets Riley way too excited and worked up when she sees him, so it is better for her recovery process that we keep them separated for now. My brother-in-law lets him out and plays with him mid-day and my husband takes him on 4+ mile runs at night, but he's still been pretty antsy and upset.

Well, the other day I decided to take him to a dog park near our house. As a general rule, I hate dog parks because the dogs that go are typically ill-mannered and not properly socialized. They're also usually cooped up all day with no stimulation so when they reach the dog park they are crazy maniacs. This plus the fact that the dogs could have a wide assortment of illnesses/parasites/etc has kept me away. We've always done group Vizsla walks on the weekend, but I was too exhausted from caring for Riley to hike. So, we went to the dog park.

The experience was exactly like I expected it would be. A very heavyset man had 4 (yes, 4) border collies all running around terrorizing people while he sat and watched. I watched one bite a lady on the knee as she was walking through the center of the dog park. According to the lady who was bit, he is at the dog park every day with his 4 horrid dogs who have nipped people on multiple occasions. Why animal control hasn't banned him is beyond me. Then of course there was the large rottweiler who followed Cooper everywhere trying to hump him. I was hopeful when some other large dogs showed up, but they wanted nothing to do with Cooper and gave him the stink eye every time he wandered toward them. There was also a little dog who was brought into the large dog side because he attacks the little dogs. He also attacks the large dogs, he just doesn't do it with as much gusto.

Cooper spent the majority of the time getting humped by the rottweiler, avoiding eye contact with the old grouchy dogs, trying not to get bit by the little bratty dog, and generally feeling miserable. He was thrilled when I grabbed his leash and said "Are you ready to go home?"

I reached out to the Vizsla group on facebook (super nice people!) and asked if anyone was in the Bay Area for a playdate with Cooper. A lady in Morgan Hill sent me a PM and we arranged a playdate at the Morgan Hill dog park yesterday afternoon. Sweet Pepper and Cooper had a blast! They ran together, played keep-away with a tug rope, wrestled, and hunted ground squirrels.

We're going to set up some more playdates with Pepper. Her human is even interested in checking out a nearby wildlife area that has wild quail. I think the two pups would have a blast hunting together! I'm really happy we found a buddy for him to play with while Riley is recovering. :)