Human Park Minutes (Following “Dog Park Minutes”)

  1. It was agreed upon yesterday evening by the quorum-plus assemblage that members and accompanying two-legged human companions (although no human companions present propelled themselves on one or zero appendages, they would be most welcome nonetheless, as we have noticed that our human companions make note of one of our kind who propels herself aptly with three appendages, and even with that handicap we cannot retrieve our playthings from her) (and any human companion who arrives at the Human Park with tasty morsels in pocket is particularly welcome, followed by playthings, and for one of our members, a laser pointer light for chasing) were enjoying a bit of pleasant weather and that none of our numbers was reduced to ridicule for the donning of a tweed, fisherman knit, or waterproof article of apparel.
  2. It was also generally agreed upon by all members that the addition of the new human companions to the Human Park was most welcome. These first-time visiting human companions immediately engaged in conversation with the other human companions in attendance. It was noted that the well-documented interaction of a human pawshake, while considered among our ranks an activity of questionable value, satisfied the human companions, along with visible non-aggressive teeth showings. The human companions did not, however, offer each other edible treats, nor did any of them sit or roll over at any time. Also, while the new human companions were being welcomed, all members of our quorum-plus assemblage customarily performed the accepted ritual of sniff, and energetically and agreeably accepted the new member within our ranks.
  3. It was also agreed upon by all members that while our personal playthings in our own domiciles are enjoyable, it is far better to promote group activity and personal health and utilize only one, or perhaps two of these playthings offered during our daily post-dinner gatherings at the Human Park. Most importantly, all members unanimously affirmed that human companions would be best served if any playthings held in reserve during these late afternoon meetings were offered for their enjoyment. It was therefore agreed upon that each member temporarily would discharge their personal ownership of their plaything held in reserve for the duration of the time they choose to remain at the Human Park each evening, and offer that plaything to the human companions, so they may feel the warmth and inclusion of the human pack, and engage in liberating running, tumbling, and general physical activity. Members have noted that human companions display more non-aggressive teeth showings when at play. It is for the welfare of the human companions that our members have voluntarily and unselfishly agreed to offer whichever playthings the humans desire during each particular meeting.
  4. It was also noted by one member that his human companion consumes a healthy meal and sleeps most soundly after being fully engaged in physical activity and human conversation with his human pack while at the Human Park.
  5. It was reported that while the human companions tend to become significantly more vocal, using heightened tones and greater decibel-producing sounds, when those among our membership engage in activity in the water-retaining grass and earth area of the Human Park, we do not share their concerns, and have been known to ignore the remarks of said human companions. In fact, the human companions take great pains to avoid these bog-like areas, all the while maintaining clean paws, and clean paw coverings. Unlike the human companions, we find that these areas provide for numerous pleasant activities, such as the rolling in cool watery earth, the burial and retrieval of playthings in this watery earth, and the deep excavation of these geographic areas. In addition, these regions are replete with tasty morsels, and so as the human companions do not enjoy engaging in these areas, we accept their decision and will continue to participate, and actively engage each other in these areas, thereby keeping them for our ranks alone. We accept the human companions’ offering of these areas for our use, and thank them for their consideration and generosity. We consider their offering of these areas for our use to be a lovely gift in exchange for our offer of our playthings for their amusement and physical health. And finally on this matter, the human companions tend to engage in more vibrant and urgent conversation with each other when they witness our happiness in these watery earth areas of the Human Park, and we know that as they are in need of these conversations and connections with members of their own pack, it is a positive experience for all.
  6. It has been observed by multiple members of our group that human companions exhibit signs of stress when one of our playthings is missing. We are thrilled that they take responsibility for the playthings offered to them for their enjoyment, but we are in agreement that it would be best for all involved if they were to observe and practice the art of relaxation. We are resolved to act as role models, and in so doing the human companions may observe, and then emulate our behaviors. It was decided that we need to model key behaviors to help the human companions on their road to relaxation fulfillment, such as rolling in scented regions of the Human Park, and searching for the delectable treats left by students. No human companion would be stressed were they to come upon a gift of beef taco or ham sandwich; however, it is doubtful that any human companion would be able to find them as quickly as any within our membership. Still, if the human companions are up to the challenge, they are welcome to participate in this stress-reducing activity with us.
  7. All members agreed to meet each other and their accompanying human companions on the following afternoon/ early evening. They implored each other to request that their human companions provide savory snacks, to be transported in their pockets, and also to continue to provide playthings during these outings so that the human companions could have an outlet for conversation, exercise and non-aggressive teeth showings. After all, this is their park and their time to socialize.

This account was barked to, and translated by, Kathy Galgano

January 8, 2014

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Dog Park Minutes

  1. It was agreed upon yesterday evening by the quorum-plus assemblage that members and accompanying multi-legged canine companions (as one canine companion propels herself with great alacrity on three appendages, the phrase “four-legged companions” would be inaccurate and presumptuous) (and while the phrase “four-legged canine companions” might be considered redundant or at least unnecessary, it does depict an instant image in the mind’s eye), that the slight chill in the air that compelled us to wish we had donned a heavier sweatshirt could be considered akin to a “brisk spring.” It was also agreed upon by said group that as approximately five per cent of the geographic regions in the contiguous forty-eight states reported air temperatures above the freezing point at the same time, and perhaps even above the five degrees Fahrenheit marker, there would be no complaints tolerated regarding the fifty-something degrees Fahrenheit the group experienced at that time.
  2.  It was also generally agreed upon by all members present that the addition of the new canine companion was most welcome. The playful six-month old black lab mix instantly took to play with the other canine companions to the delight of the canines and accompanying parental units alike. The parental units of said playful pup were warmly welcomed by the other parental units in attendance.
  3.  It was reported that the sprinklers watering the field at the nearby secondary school have made the landscape “boggy,” and perhaps one of our members should notify an agent of said secondary institution of learning that a regulation of the ground sprinkling timetable would be in order. The rationale behind this revamping of the sprinkler assignment would be fiscal savings and the conservation of water during this exceptionally dry season. There was no appointment of a representative to notify said school of muddy conditions. The matter was taken under advisement.
  4.  It was offered by another member that while her canine companion enjoys frolicking with much favored orange and glow-in-the-dark balls at said member’s residence, the canine companion prefers interaction with other canine companions’ playthings, even when those preferred are the same as those brought to the field by said parental unit. Other members concurred, offering empathy and insight that this behavior is not uncommon.
  5.  Lastly, it was generally agreed upon by all members present that even with the added daylight of January versus that of a month prior, plus with the existence of street lighting and the lighting provided by the secondary institution of learning, in addition to the use of personal flashlights, it remains a challenge to spot the necessary relief droppings of the beloved canine companions. Multiple parental units were witnessed searching for said droppings, scanning the field methodically, foot by foot, from a northerly to southerly direction. Meanwhile, other parental units were seen searching said terrain for orange and glow-in-the-dark balls, with the latter no longer holding said glow-in-the-dark properties.
  6. All members agreed to meet each other and their accompanying canine companions on the following afternoon/ early evening.

Kathy Galgano

January 7, 2014

A RAUCOUS AFTERNOON

You can set your watch to our dog. At 6:30 every morning it’s time for breakfast and he stands on top of me. Unfortunately, this past Sunday, Sully didn’t understand that we turned the clocks back one hour, so it was 5:30 when he perched on me, much like a goat stands atop a rock to check out the sights and be tall, or whatever goats do when they stand on rocks. If I don’t wake up instantly, and usually that’s not a problem because we’re not talking about a teeny Chihuahua here, I’ll feel kisses on my face. Then he circles while standing on me. Now I’m wincing. But I’m awake, and I know that in seconds, I’ll be hearing the roar of the first jet engine taking off from the local airport, precisely at 6:30. On occasion, I can get him to settle down and give me a few extra minutes sleep, but it’s really hard to sleep with a dog perched on top of you, knowing that soon, those paws again will start to dig. Generally, I hop out of bed as soon as I can slide the dog off his perch.

Delightfully repetitive, Sully performs another ritual. Whenever a family member comes home, he races to the door, greets the family member with a few jumps and perhaps a howl or two, and then races back to the kitchen to dig through his basket of well-chewed toys. While the loved one is removing keys from the door, Sully is choosing just the right toy. This can be a ball, or a cardboard toilet paper tube that he loves to chase, toss into the air, grab and chew and toss and chase again, or, it can be a cute squeaky plush toy that is now torn and shredded, with stuffing falling out as he carries it around the house. Racing back to the front door, the dog drops the toy at the newcomer’s feet and expects reciprocation.

After running a few errands yesterday, I came home to one very happy doggie. He even howled in excitement when I pet him, and I obliged, flinging his pick-of-the-moment, a disgusting, worn, two-sided doggie toy into the air. In-between tosses, I hung up my jacket, and even started a little dinner. The dog ran into the family room, adjacent to the kitchen. Really into this game now, he was wagging his tail hard and smiling (Yes, dogs smile!), and stretching his backside high in the air as he waited for me to pitch the toy again. I hurled it far into the kitchen and the dog skidded and grabbed the shabby cloth, expertly avoiding hitting the wall, and ran back into the family room with it hanging from his teeth. Next there was this little tug-o’-war which I won but not before hearing another rip in the fabric. Oh, well. My next toss was supposed to go straight up, because the dog likes to catch things on the fly, but it landed on the back of the sofa. In an instant, Sully leapt on top of the sofa and was back on the floor, shaking the toy out of his mouth back to me. He is fast! I gave the toy a full-arm toss. Sully ran into the kitchen after it, and I watched as the toy arced high in the air on an angled trajectory. It plopped without a splash directly into the pot of near-boiling water on the stove top. This pot was going to hold pasta in a few more minutes.

I ran over to the steaming pot to see a well-worn green and yellow plush turtle floating on the surface of my pasta water, the two little embroidered eyes and smile looking up at me. It was absorbing the droplets of oil and salted water, but continued to float, and even spun a bit in the water. The dog was barking and running in circles looking for his beloved half turtle, half alligator. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t stand upright. The pot was steaming, the dog was getting more animated by the second as he believed I was hiding the toy as part of the game. Next he was jumping on me, starting to howl again. The old Smothers Brothers routine, “Mom Always Liked You Best” popped into my head. Remember that bit? The bird flew into a pot of hot milk and one of the brothers exclaims, “I don’t like cream of asparakeet.” In the spirit of that routine, I found myself thinking, Hmmm — I’ve never tasted mock turtle soup! And, What’s the chance I can hit that shot again? We’ve been tossing doggie toys from the family room since we adopted Sully a year ago. Maybe I should keep the pot there and try again? And, If I boil the thing to sterilize it, will it disintegrate? The embroidered eyes and smile still looked at me. Then the final line in the Smothers Brothers routine popped into my head. “And mom made me eat it!”

Tears were falling I was laughing so hard. I carefully grabbed a not-yet immersed bit of turtle from the pasta water; the alligator portion underneath was completely submerged. I ran to the sink in the laundry room, trying to avoid dripping hot water on me or the dog, who now was practically jumping into my arms. However, I quickly abandoned my efforts to try and wring the thing dry; it was going to take too long and the dog was beside himself. He was howling one long howl. I just stashed the toy for later. Seeing Sully’s other well-worn, disgusting but beloved two-sided half cat, half dog plush toy, I yanked it from the basket and carried on with the game, throwing it far from the pot and back into the family room.

The pasta was delicious.

Kathy Galgano

October 7, 2013