If you are a dog owner you’re probably very familiar with the sense of community that exists between dog owners. When you’re out on the street – whether you’re with your dog or not – you can’t help but stop to say hello to dogs and their owners as they pass by you. If you do have your dog with you chances are you’ll stop for a minute and have a chat while the dogs say hello. This process is compounded when you’re at a dog park – there is even more time to chat with other dog owners while your dog is off having fun. What evolves from these conversations is a fantastic sense of community. Some of my best friendships have been born out of conversations at the dog park.
Take my friend Tracey and her dog Jet – we met one day on the street with the dogs making fast friends. A few more chance encounters around the city and we started making plans to meet so the dogs could connect. Eventually we were meeting up WITHOUT the dogs as often as we were meeting with them – and we have a regular weekly yoga date.
Another example is my friend Jen – she used to live in my building and so of course we met outside countless times with the dogs. At first Luca and Avy didn’t get along but after their first off-leash play in the park they were fast friends. The dog friendship led to planned hikes and running adventures and as Jen and I got to know each other we realized that we had as much in common as our dogs did. What resulted was a great friendship.
These are just two examples of MANY that I could draw on – Vickie and Al from down the street with their two German Shepherds (who now have me over for dinner on a regular basis), Jodie and Molly from my building, Heidi and Kane…the list goes on and on.
The great thing about this community is that we’ve come to rely on each other. If one of us is going to be out and needs someone to watch their dog someone will step up. Too sick to take the dog for a walk? No problem, one of the neighbours is happy to help. It can make walking down the street a challenge at times as you stop to catch up with everyone that you meet…but I wouldn’t have it any other way.