Run Wild and Free (Well, Almost Free)
February 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
One of Maple’s pet peeves is getting leashed for a walk. We still have a tough time training Maple to ‘Heel’ by our side—she prefers to go at her own pace, which usually means that she’s either in front trying to lunge ahead or behind sniffing the ground. I have been wanting, for the longest time, to bring Maple out to a dog run so she can enjoy the unrestrained pleasure of running wild and free (well, almost free).
MM and I decided to try out the West Coast Park Dog Run on a Sunday afternoon. As this was both Maple’s and our first time in an open environment with other (unleashed) dogs, I was a little anxious to see how it would all pan out. Just as we were walking out of the carpark, two large mongrels (affectionately called ‘Singapore Specials’ by locals) and their handlers strolled by us. The two Singapore Specials are beautiful and seemed very well trained, but let’s just say that a sigh of relief escaped me knowing that they had just finished having their fun at the dog run. Maple gets a little nervous around big dogs—maybe this experience will help her socialize with some friendly ones.
So off we went, the three of us, marching to the beat of an imagined military band, but each hiding his and her own trepidations. We entered the dog run with Maple on her leash and inched our way to the centre, where a few dogs and their owners were relaxing under the shade of the picnic tables and trees. Without a doubt, Maple was the ittiest bittiest dog there that day, but the other three canines (measuring more than twice her size) were gentle and protective of her.
Towgee, the Golden Retriever, is a timid giant and would eagerly accept Maple’s invitation to play. Towgee’s owner used to have three Chihuahuas, so Towgee is no stranger to small dogs. Rocky, the Beagle, is a real sweetheart and would look at Maple with curious eyes. Rocky loved to tag behind Towgee—they were almost inseparable. Fluffy, the Pomeranian, is a handsome fella who approached Maple with a ‘big brother’ attitude and kept his watch on her the entire time.
It’s really fascinating observing dogs interact with one another, and even more puzzling trying to understand how they communicate emotions amongst themselves without a single spoken word (albeit a bark or two). I think Maple had a splendid time getting to know Towgee, Rocky, and Fluffy. Hopefully, with a few more outings like this, Maple will gradually learn the canine code of conduct.
Before heading home, I chatted with other owners about the flea and tick situation at the West Coast Park Dog Run. The grass looked like it had not been cut for some time, and I was concerned about Maple carrying unwanted visitors back home with us. The owners mentioned that their dogs are regularly protected against fleas and ticks with spot-on treatments—claiming that this would often be sufficient enough—but, as an added precaution, many would bathe their dogs immediately upon returning home. After running and rolling around in the park, Maple sure looked like she could use a bath anyway—fleas or no fleas!
We will definitely return to the West Coast Park Dog Run, as we really like the greenery and spaciousness of this fenced enclosure. The walk to the carpark is quite a distance, but the paths—shaded by grand Angsana trees—make for a good place to cool down and stretch out. Maple can’t wait for her next romp at the dog run!