There are many types of dog breeds and sizes (owners as well) in Park Slope. One can observe how the two species cohabitate and relate to one another from daily walks throughout the neighbourhood, (Not the ‘hood’but the neighbourhood).
The relationships between the two are complex, dependent and co-dependent, smothering and domineering to name a few, but there are certainly types that stand out throughout Park Slope:
The wrong dog for an athletic owner
Roller-skating with a Yorkie stuffed in a black bag, its head peeking out through a top opening while hung across the back in 90-degree weather. Abuse. Get a pit bull or a greyhound that can keep up with the roller blading and leave the Yorkie at home!
The lazy, multi-tasking, irresponsible owner
The “Oh, I have to pick up milk for my coffee” or the “I have to get my coffee now” or whatever I have to pick up owner, who will take the dog for a walk and on the way home tie it a tree, hydrant, gate, pole, while stopping at a convenience store or supermarket. Left to the elements with no protection and subjected to a possible kidnapping, the dog is defenseless. Would these owners leave their
kids tied to a pole? Neglect. Bring the dog home, than do your errands!
The foodie, whose stomach leads while their poor dog must follow
The restaurant patron sitting in a booth, near the window, in air conditioning while their dog is tied to a nearby hydrant, in the sun, as they dine on fine cuisine. Stupid. Drop the dog off at home then go out to the restaurant.
The owner whose dog is a fashion accessory will have the designer pocketbook and dog that fits into it likely chosen from the headlines in which a celebrity has the breed styling in their Louis Vuitton tote. These dogs are subjected to a method of travel that is questionable and lacking in exercise or doggy socialization. Dumb. What then happens to this year’s designer pooch when next year fashion tabloid dog rolls in? Moreover, heavens forbid the cost of that new designer tote!
The ‘I DON’T SCOOP WHEN MY DOG POOPS’ owner
You know who you are, pretending to be on a cell call, deep in conversation, while your dog does its business on the sidewalk. Of course, the
conversation is so engrossing and consumes all your attention that as the business gets done and the rear end rises from the squat position, you are on your way, oblivious to what was left behind. SHAME ON YOU!
Congregators and Strollers
The congregators and the strollers are two of the common types of dog/owner relationships seen at Prospect Park. During these special off leash hours, dogs have run of the entire park (no gated enclosures)everyday, starting as early as 5am and ending at 9am and again at 9pm and ending at 1am. For most, the decision to own a dog becomes a reality after spending time there.
The congregators will form packs on the vast lawn with coffee in tow and conversation of nothingness flowing while their dogs run around in packs. The owners absorbed in the conversations and coffees often neglect their dogs. The dogs in turn, big and small and sometimes puppies, engage in dominance struggles, which usually leads to a small dog under the attack of the domineering dog mob. Meanwhile the owner, whose attention awakens to their dog’s scream, is of no use, because their dog was running with the pack and is far off.
The strollers will walk the length of the park, giving themselves and their dogs time to sniff and mark (the dog not the human, although some dogs may mark a human,) play and run at their leisure, while avoiding the dog packs. The bond between owner and dog strengthens and while training is reinforced and rewarded.
The ‘my dog is my child’ owner
A category I know too well for I am that dog owner. Toby and Pi Patel are treated as children and that is not an understatement-just ask mom, my mom, and she will confirm it.
I do not have kids nor chose to. As I have mentioned before,“I chose dogs”. My dogs, the boys.
The boys eat kibble with vegetables, cottage cheese, eggs and carrots. They have a home cooked meal of brown rice, beans and assorted
organic meats for dinner. While both have winter sweaters, booties and raincoats, Pi Patel has pajamas. And, yes, both are Mulberry’s NY Press Show models for 2011.
Toby and Pi Patel do not go to groomers. For them groomers represent pain, fluorescent lighting and metal cages. The stress and separation (not on their part but mine) was not worth the $140.00 cost with a finishing cologne spray. Not having money due to unemployment was the initial excuse and after countless tries with clippers, super sharp scissors, doggie treats, bribery, I now comfortably groom them better (at least in my opinion).
My dogs, pampered, even had their own room in our former apartment. I make no excuse or apologize for the way I treat my dogs for whatthey offer me in return outweighs any criticisms or looks (Yes, they get looks of wonder when wearing their winter booties).
For some, the title of ‘owner and dog’ is exactly what itis. I am the owner, you are the dog, and therefore you revolve around me. For
others, a dog is a companion, with needs of its own that we as responsible owners take care of. Unconditional love in return for security, comfort, exercise and food-where else can you find a better deal?