This is the part of the Mission Dog Park that many of us refer to as "The Lounge". Early this past spring, some of us regulars formed a small pack. We hadn't really planned on it, it just evolved as some things do. Each morning the members would work their way over to this spot shortly after we arrived. All our dogs seemed to get along. There was Pitou, Cleo, Winston, Nikki, Libby, Hudson, Charlie, Lucy, Zoe, Beau, and Marvin to name just a few, all different breeds - some mutts and some pure breds, along with a number of other dogs and their owners that would come and go.
It was a lovely group of men and women. We would tell each other stories of our dogs and our families, supporting each other and sharing information and laughter. It's only as I write this now that I realize how much it was like the group of women I used to meet with when my kids were little. We'd gather in someone's living room or back yard, sharing stories, complaints and concerns about our children, rather than our dogs.
Sometime over the month of September, things changed. Some owners added a second dog to the family, making it more challenging to get out with two. Some had children that need more attention, or jobs that changed the timing of their visits to the park, and a myriad of other things that fill our lives and point us in different directions. It makes me feel a little sad when I see this empty space that used to bring so much joy to so many people, and me in particular.
But like the song says, everything must change "...for that's the way of time, no one, nothing goes unchanged." And it's very true. Perhaps the lesson is that we've gleened all we could from each other and it's time to find another pack to help us grow in other ways.
I really learned a lot from these friends, and not just about dog training. I don't know if I'd be in the writing program at Humber right now, if not for one of the pack members. I've changed my outlook on a number of issues, and some of the lessons I learned weren't easy, but I'll always be grateful for each and every one of the people that were part of our little group. Though I know I'll see them around, and I've been in touch with some of them already since we stopped gathering on a regular basis, I'm feeling the need to express my gratitude to them for being a part of my life. So thank you to Darryl (the Alpha dog), Kristen, Joyce, Laura, Brenda, Sharon, Allison, Julie, Rudy, Don and Jim. I hope somehow you feel my heartfelt thanks. I look forward to seeing you soon to thank you in person.