Notes From A Traveler: The Dog Run

A dog run is where the wild things are

Not shown: The Banks family or the extra from "Cocktail." Image via Getty.

Before we had The Faithful Hound we had My Boon Companion, a porky German shepherd who lived an extraordinarily long life. When we lived downtown we were practically on top of a dog run so I used to take her there almost every weeknight and most weekends. She loved it, I loved it, the other people and dogs loved it, I was seldom seen in the neighborhood without her.

Then we moved. I got wind of a dog run in a nearby park but the run was about as far from our new apartment as could be while still within the park, and that park is quite large. One Saturday we went and I was unimpressed. It was a small enclosure with chicken wire fencing and no grass, just dirt. This compared unfavorably with our old dog run, which, among other things, had its own water feature that dogs would drink from (and woe betide the dog who tried to lift a leg and pee in it; automatic suspension and shame for dog and owner.) 

Still, a dog run was a dog run and the Boon Companion quickly made a whole new set of friends. I was not so lucky. There was precisely one small bench and that, I learned, was almost continuously occupied by this dotty retired Columbia professor who talked non-stop and treated the run as his own senior seminar. The day we went he lectured on a favorite topic: What Really Happened On 9/11. Yes, he was a truther. He had done “independent research.” If the towers had been hit by planes, a big if, why didn’t they topple sideways instead of pancaking straight down? It was a controlled blast, of course. Why were so many not in the Towers on that particular day? [Um, because both planes struck before 9 AM and it was a weekday in a white collar office building?] There are videos out there, censored of course by the government and the mainstream media, but you can find them if you do your own “independent research,” that clearly show…

Boon Companion was racing around like a maniac despite her advanced age but I wrestled her into her collar and bade farewell, never to return. Now we had to get home. Whereas before we had but an abbreviated short block to go, now we faced a bit of a trek, about 3/4 of a mile. It took us a l-o-n-g while to return to the roost, because of the rest stops.

When we got The Faithful Hound he was a very energetic puppy. There was another dog run that I thought we should try. We would drive over (so Loyal Beast wouldn’t have to walk back the 2 miles or so, after having exhausted himself playing tag with all the other Very Good Girls and Boys.) That run was much more promising. On our maiden voyage we I got chatting with a British family. Dad was posted to the UN; Mom worked at a very posh preschool; young Master Britisher was in a Good School and seemed to be enjoying New York. Another time we I got chatting with a very beautiful man who was “between jobs.” Oh I think he was earning income, all right, but he was being coy. So I hired him to bartend one of our holiday parties, because he had bartending experience. We used to have our holiday parties early in December so as not to conflict with other parties once the season really started heating up, and I know he got further private bartending gigs out of it and God knows what else. 

But alas The Faithful Hound had knee replacement surgery at a very young age, and then the following year had it again in his other hind leg (black Labs are prone to this; gory details upon request) so his dog run days were over. 

But a thing about that promising dog run: while we were still going a new neighbor moved in down the hall. I like her very much, and she has a little dog who weighs all of 8 pounds. My huge Faithful Hound was enchanted upon meeting her (the dog.) New to the area, she asked about dog runs. The promising dog run had two areas, one for large beasts like my own, and one for smaller dogs. If the smaller dogs wanted to we let them into the large beast run, but we with the large dogs never went into the small dog run, lest one of the Preciouses be trampled. That’s a good thing. To explain this I, a white man, said to her, a Black woman, “Oh you’d love it, it’s segregated!” WHAT I MEANT WAS AND QUICKLY FOLLOWED UP WITH  was there were two areas so her 8-lb. dog could cavort among her peers. She didn’t even seem to notice the word “segregated”. She’s a good 20 years younger than me, at least, so maybe it’s reverted to its traditional meaning, which is a synonym for “separated.” I don’t know, and I wasn’t going to pursue this topic further, but that’s how dog runs are described, they have segregated areas (sometimes.)



  1. Foot in mouth.  I know all too well.
    As for 9/11 Truthers…
    I have friends who were mining engineers and know explosives.   What I learned from them is that explosives must be stored in temperature controlled areas free of Electro static discharge (ESD) and kept far far away from the detonators and/or flame.  A building, particularly a skyscraper, is not not a good place to store explosives or free of ESD (all those microave trabdd
    Demolitions (or controlled explosions) are always difficult and require exquisite timing/conditions.  The time to prep a building for demolition takes a long time and requires extensive planning something not evident in 9/11What I am saying is that you can’t store explosives with the detonators for a very long time under wildly varying temperature conditions as well as surrounded by radio transmitters without having an accidental explosion.

    • Not foot in mouth, but faceplant on keyboard.  I nodded off while typing out my screed and groggily posted it without realizing.

      all those microave trabdd

      Should read:  all those microwave transmitters on top of the tower would be a big problem.

      • But have you done “independent research”?

        • There is no need for “independent research” anymore. What you sheeple fail to understand is that there are so many independent researchers on YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat that we don’t even have to look into anything ourselves anymore.

  2. Back when I lived in LA – I would take my black lab/Great dane mix to the dog park on Mulholland off Laurel Canyon. I lived in Studio City at the time so it was the closest. It was fenced in on three sides – the street  and attached sides. The non fenced part opened onto a very steep hill that led into a neighborhood that was on a very steep hill.
    Inevitably, at least once a trip – one dog would head down the hill and the entire dog park of dogs would follow in full fox hunt mode. It was bonkers – sometimes it could be up to like a hundred dogs running full tilt through that neighborhood. Usually, a couple of the very well trained owners would whistle and the whole group would shift like a flock of starlings and follow whichever well behaved pooch heeded its owner’s call back up us.  You always knew who was new to the park – because when it happened – they would freak out. 
    My explaining it isn’t doing it justice – it was quite the sight. I always thought it was odd that it wasn’t completely fenced. It was an expensive neighborhood so I can’t believe they didn’t complain. I don’t know if it’s still there now. 

  3. ugh, 9/11 truthers
    They spend a lot of time and effort delving for weird convoluted explanations, but not a mere 5 minutes on how fires work or buildings are constructed…

    • Any sort of “trutherism” is a weird type of … almost religion, I think. The JFK assassination was another example. People want to believe they have secret knowledge available to no one else, and that makes them “special.” Logic, science, nothing can shake their absolute certainty. It creeps me out to look into their eyes and see rampant fanaticism. 

  4. A further note: On September 11, 2001, we lived downtown with My Boon Companion. I won’t tell you what I/we went through that day, that’s been extensively chronicled, but I made it to the office (in Midtown, so I headed away from WTC) and hung out. Then I walked home, which was a trek. Better Half was halfway across the country and there was really no way to contact him.

    I got home and, not imagining anything better to do, I leashed her up. I also dug out BH’s old tennis racquet (he used to play competitively; I played JV in high school) and gathered up a couple of her tennis balls.

    Off to the dog run we went! It was deserted. It was hard by the West Side Highway, so it smelled of the aftermath somewhat, but the main thing was the sirens as so many emergency vehicles raced to the site. 

    Under normal conditions I would bring a couple of tennis balls and so would everyone else, and it was a free-for-all, all of us taking turns lobbing balls or throwing fast balls into a remote corner for the hounds to chase. 

    This time, the city got darker, night fell, the sirens, we were alone, and I taught the Boon Companion to be my “ball girl.” “OK, get ready, I’m going to serve this to hit the fence!” “OK, now pretend I’m returning a serve, and it’s going in that corner.”

    The rage I felt. I’m sure my serves would have qualified me for the USTA tour. I was serving toward the West Side Highway and I realized that if one of my speedballs went over the fence…well, who knew what would happen to me, so the ball girl and I switched positions so that my back was to the highway.

    Finally, we exhausted ourselves, we went home, I made dinner, still no phone service, but we had some cable so we watched that. “You don’t know how lucky you are, Boon Companion, for not understanding this.”

  5. Our dogs barely do leashes (2 elderly, 2 dumb) but there is an amazing dog park about 2 blocks away, within another human park. A young lady won The $500,000 Beniful dog food dog park contest…and it is indeed the Rolls Royce of dog parks

  6. Very exciting to have new Saturday content every-other week!

  7. i miss my dog now
    he was half bouvrier and half belgian shepperd
    big wolfy looking fucker…..used to scare the shit out of people when he ran up to lick them
    literally scared a deer to death once,,,we donated the remains to the local museum
    he was a very good boy (didnt listen or anything like that…..but you couldnt ask for a better companion)

  8. That’s a funny bit about the slip of the tongue. The reality is that these things happen all of the time and people are generally good about understanding the real intention, even when they have an opportunity to be offended.
    There is a strong tendency among culture warriors to blow up every single complaint, and also conflate it with every liberal and every minority. It goes all the way back to Dinesh D’Souza’s propaganda about Dartmouth — the heart of his complaint wasn’t the actual criticism he received on campus, it was the imagined judgment he was sure was going on behind his back.
    The reality is a constant state of outrage is vanishingly rare in people.
    I’m reminded of the great scene in Schitt’s Creek where Alexis told David not to stress about what the driving test guy thinks about him, because people just don’t care about him. 
    We all screw up, and we’re mostly forgiven. Sometimes we’re criticized, sometimes we’re not, and what matters is being basically good like the Roses and not deeply rotten like D’Souza.

  9. All this talk of dogs makes me want to get one. 
    I’d really like a Corgi because they’re intelligent and wierd but not all the floof they put out and they’re so expensive.  Also my sister teases me being an atypical Asian would end up with the typical Asian favored dog.
    I enjoy having Doxies, but my house isn’t the easiest on their backs with all those stairs.
    I can’t afford purebred (and not really sure if I want one) but will be more than happy with a well behaved shelter dog.
    However, I won’t consider one until I start a job that has decent hours or allows for work from home from time to time.

    • i vote for getting a big mutt they live for ages (usually)
      and they have a much deeper bark
      which is not an act of cruelty to the hungover brain
      unlike fucking chihuahuas

      • @farscythe To be fair, have you ever heard a collie bark? It’s sounds like someone stepping on a squeak toy! And they’re big dogs. Poor chihuahuas are little things, they gotta use the tools they have.

    • @ManchuCandidate I had a Corgi, best dog I ever had, my canine soulmate. She was everything you want in a dog- smart, brave, tough, loving, and comical.  If you go for a pet quality Corgi, and  promise to have it spayed/neutered you can get one for less than you might think. And check rescues too. Because they can be high maintenance. People think they’ll be content lying about an apartment in a lobster costume, but in truth they need a lot of exercise and engagement. Mine loved hiking. When I lost her I couldn’t imagine getting another Corgi, I was afraid I’d compare it to her. But now I’m ready, my next dog will be a Corgi for sure.

      • I have friends who had a Corgi and I’d add they can have strong herding instincts, and can get upset when people are spread out in a house and will try to push everyone together.
        It’s not a bad thing in general, but it helps to know what is going through their brains.

        • Yes, very bossy little beasts. They will nip at your heels too. It’s instinctive but you can train it out of them. 

  10. @bluedogcollar, on behalf of all us who occassionally find that our mouths have gotten ahead of our brains, thank you for your kind and generous analysis. In my home, the penalty for that is another dog…

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