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.)