Dog park karma

I am not an overly superstitious or spiritual person, but one thing I do believe in dog park karma. There are two main rules of the dog park (in my opinion) - they are:

1. Never leave the park with a toy that you didn't bring. Either a very generous park patron (i.e. park god) intentionally left toys for all the dogs to enjoy or someone lost their new fancy overpriced toy within the first 10 minutes of getting to the park. Either way,  it's not yours. Does that mean you have to deny your pup the pure bliss of the overpriced brand new toy? Not necessarily.

When my pups and I find a gift from the park gods, we ask everyone around us if they are missing it. If nobody is, then we play to our hearts content right up until we leave the park. Then we leave it right inside the gate for the next lucky pup to find. Because of this, I believe, we are lucky enough to stumble up on fun, exciting, overpriced dog toys at the park at least a couple times a week. If you think I'm crossing over into the crazy dogwalker world then you try keeping track of those toys at $15 a pop! They are like gold!

Moral of the story: obey the rules and the park gods will reward you. Break the rules and you will be cursed to lose every fancy toy you bring to the park before you can even blink an eye! (this is based on experience, I'm not trying to scare you into leaving toys for me at the park, I'm not that cheap ;)

2. This is the important one. I actually get a little OCD about this. PICK UP POOP. Dogwalker's often get criticism from the public that we don't pick up all of our dog's poop. For 90% of us, that couldn't be farther from the truth. While we may miss a dog half way across the field, we are picking up 10 poops for the 2 poops in the area that actually came from our dogs. Not to mention we have monthly work parties to come pick up poop on Saturday mornings - voluntarily - now if that's not dedication, I don't know what is! But seriously, on behalf of the 90% of dogwalkers that I work with, we do more than our share of poop scooping.

We proudly advertise this fact by carrying disgustingly full clear plastic bags of poop around the park with us. It could almost be considered a dogwalker's accessory. We really need to work on placing garbage cans closer together...

At some point in the past 3 years I got in my head that if I were to ever walk by a poop and consciously decide to not pick it up, I was docked a couple dog park karma points. In reality, I can't pick up every poop I pass if I'm running after a dog or have 5 dogs on leash or whatever the case may be, but when I am just strolling along and I see a poop, I feel obligated to pick it up. I'm human, just like the rest of us (except the dogs, of course), and I don't always do what I am supposed to - especially if I don't have a bag nearby or perhaps I am just feeling especially anti-overachiever at the moment. What happens when you don't pick up poop? You step in poop. I was reminded of that lesson today moments before leaving the park after a logging in a combined 4 hours.

Moral of the story: dogwalker or not, you've probably missed a few piles before too, so buy yourself some karma points (and promise of clean shoes) and pick up whatever you find. After all, we're in this shit together, right?! Oh, and if you want to come down to Magnuson for the poop scoop parties (yup, it's a party), they are the 1st Saturday of every month from 10am-1pm, the more the merrier!