Life at the Dog Park
We got our dog Zuzu from the Capital Area Humane Society in 2009 when she was only about five months old. She's always been skittish around strangers, but loves spending time with other dogs and people she has come to know over frequent visits.
My parents have two dogs, and Zuzu spends much of our time at their house wrestling with Frank, their miniature dachshund.
With the weather just starting to get nice a couple weekends ago, we decided to try out one of the local dog parks - the Northern Tail Dog Park in East Lansing. Located off of Abbot Road just north of the East Lansing Softball Complex, Northern Tail Dog Park features a large, fenced-in area for dogs of all sizes to be off-leash and play. It is open from 6AM-10PM daily.
Because it was one of the first truly nice weekend days of this unseasonably warm March, the park was filled with a couple dozen dogs, many of which were larger breeds. Zuzu didn't quite know what to do with herself, but after some time she strayed away from us and socialized with other dogs.
Perhaps the best part of the experience was seeing how she acted around other people who went to pet her. Normally on our walks, Zuzu gets anxious and barks/growls at people who get close to us, but off-leash she was much more at ease and OK with people petting her. It was great to not worry about being an apologist for my dog and instead revel in people commenting on how sweet/unique/cute she is.
When my friend Carolyn planned to drive up for a visit, we thought it would be fun for her to bring her long-haired dachshund Frankie up to visit with Zuzu and go to the dog park. This time around, Zuzu was less tethered to us, disappearing across the open space and helping herself to the bowls of water other people had out for their dogs. She also made friends with another little dachshund named Dexter, and got chased around for quite awhile.
I'm looking forward to many more weekends at the Northern Tail Dog Park, and hope it will be just the ticket to making Zuzu the social butterfly I know she has the potential to be.
Until then, at least the dog park zonks this little Zuzu out. Here she is with Frankie after our Sunday afternoon at the park: