YES AND NO.

I like to go to my local dog park a lot, just to get some exercise and breathe a bit of fresh air, and not cry at all. And when I go to my local dog park, one of my absolute favourite things to do is get lost in the amazingness of a few well-trained dogs.

Heart cockles: WARMED.

Today, a man waited out the front of Sydney Park with his two dogs. They sat at his feet, unleashed, right next to roaring traffic. There was no bulging fear-vein on his forehead that they’d run onto the road. There was no “SIT SNAPPY SIT” spitting out of his mouth. There wasn’t even the patended “pushing your bum down til it makes contact with the floor in order to make you fucking sit like a proper dog”. No. These dogs were well-trained. The owner could rest easy, after years of obedience training getting in the way of quality time with his wife, the resultant squabbles chipping away at and eventually ending his marriage, and now leaving him alone with just Snappy and Shithead.

And I was impressed.

And yet, the flipside. After entering the park, and doing my requisite exercising/breathing/emotional stability chants, I sat down on a park bench. I was looking at the sunset and listening to some ‘inspirational dusk music’ when a little white terrier came snuffling up, seemingly smiling at me with its gummy little mouth, finding little yummy nuggets of beetles and bird shit and grass seeds to eat and maybe vomit up in a few hours on his owner’s living room floor. The owner was all, “Roderick! RODERICK! Come back here RIGHT NOW! Get away from the awkward girl who comes to the dog park every day, SANS DOG! Stop eating that shit! Stop being so badly-trained!”

This was the only dog who’d ventured towards my sentry post. All the others scented the vague whiff of dogsperation (that’s dog-desperation for the uninitiated) and went “nuh uh”. But this naughty, badly-trained lil scamp decided to wander off the beaten path, towards a possible dognapper disguised in an over-worn mustard jumper, just because he thought it’d be fun.

So I concede a tie here. After all, what is good training between friends? Especially as the person who never has to deal with the dog and its needs beyond a casual pat and hug? As far as I’m concerned: you’re all just dogs. And you’re WONDERFUL.