Most people who read this are aware that Thursday is my favourite day of the week.
Every Thursday Brad and Jack graciously invite me into their house for food, fun and gaming.
I’ve recently boosted my blog to add an RPG tag, since I’ve been brainstorming with Brad about Soft Horizon, an RPG high fantasy idea of his that I’m helping to sharpen and refine and try to break. Luckily I haven’t broken it so far, but we keep trying out edge cases in the game to make sure a various outcomes are interesting and satisfying and tell a good story. I’ll get to last Thursday’s big session in another post.
This past Thursday I knocked on the door sometime before 5PM, it may have been closer to 4PM. I’m not certain. I had been in one of the public libraries, doing some research for what I wanted to accomplish in the session and to check out the Merril Sci-Fi collection, currently celebrating 100 years of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I looked at old covers of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, as well as picking up rules for the game of Jetan, a chess derivative developed by Burroughs for his Barsoom stories.
When I left the library I glanced at my phone and Jack sent me a text message “Bring Cheese Puffs!” People don’t say no to Jack and if Jack craves some day-glo orange snack, I’m happy to swing by the Maple Leaf Garden Loblaws to pick her some up.
I rang the doorbell and waited for Jack to let me into her place. The door opened with Jack leaning slightly precariously forward when through the door like midnight fleeing the moon went Una, their black lab. Una decided it was Time For A Walk! And apparently I was taking her.
Which is fine, one of the best things about Brad and Jack’s crazy, cluttered place are Una and the three cats. I knew I had been accepted when the reclusive, elusive Taco slunk down to snaggle some petting from me.
Jack gave me Una’s leash, the keys and some doggy bags and off we went, I quickly had to return to get a ball. Una requires a ball, it is her sole diva demand. Una walked halfway down the paved path before stopping and searching for either of her owners. She doubled back, verified the door was closed and she was outside with me. We started off again, once we passed a certain point and she could the see the dog park and gate, that was all she needed.
Once the gate opened I counted seven or eight dogs off their leashes and socializing while their human owners did the same. There was a brief confusion as they looked around for Una’s owners, but once they realized I was with her and harmless everything was fine.
Toronto agrees with Una, she seems younger and more energetic than I remember her in Vancouver. At 11 or 12 she’s getting older for a lab, but you couldn’t tell it from the vigour with which she cases down balls. The funniest thing about Una, she wants to go to ANYone but the person who brings her to the park. I threw the ball once and then let her take her fetch toy to everybody else.
Until spending time with Una at this unofficial dog park, I never realized the power of a pet, especially a dog. As an icebreaker dogs are natural invitations to conversation, which amplifies when at a canine park. As the dogs run, dig, play and poop, the owners chat, laugh and discuss dogs.
It is a fascinating thing I have never really experienced before.
Finally, Una plunked down under a bench with her tongue lolling out and I knew it was time to head back to the condo. Una wasn’t so sure and I nearly pulled her collar off her head, but once the collar was back on and the gate opened, she contentedly trotted to Jack and Brad’s place.
It was the first time she’d ever decided I should take her for a walk and it was a great deal of fun for us both.