While many associate “quagmire” with Vietnam, I write of a literal quagmire: an area of soft, wet ground; soft miry land that yields under the foot.
Continuing Saturday’s discussion of the Good, the Best, and the Other dog parks in our town… One of the features Leo enjoys most at the Other Dog Park is a muddy swamp shrouded in brambles. Last week, I took the dogs to the Other Park on my own, because I’d been sick with a cold for a few days, Rob was housesitting for his parents, and the pups were hungry for some stimulation. We went in with a Chuck-It and two balls, and came out with just the Chuck-It.
What happened was, Leo made friends with a smallish Husky who picked up his ball a couple of times. This is fine; I go to the dog park expecting to share our toys. Mia tends to hold onto hers, so that one seemed secure.
Because tennis balls are single-use items in Mia’s mouth, we have a variety pack of the rubber balls. This day, we were playing with a blue ball made of recycled materials containing flecks of orange, and the Best Ball… an orange ball that whistles when you throw it. Leo was carrying the orange ball when he strolled near the swamp. I encouraged him to leave the ball outside the swamp, so he dropped it. The little Husky swooped in, carried it into the swamp, and left it there.
His owner was apologetic, but I said, “These things happen at the dog park. It’s fine.”
After he left, I crawled through the brambles to look for it. The dogs followed me. I dragged the Chuck-It through the quagmire and found some tennis balls, some branches. The orange whistly ball, it seemed, had been gifted to the swamp. After a hearty search, I decided to call it … then noticed Mia beside me, mouth open.
“Mia! Where’s your ball?”
Also sacrificed to the quagmire.
But wait! There’s a happy ending! I brought Rob* to the swamp on Saturday to document it for this very post (careful to keep an eye on the blue ball Mia carried this time) and I found the orange ball! While the blue and orange-flecked ball is still enjoying a soak in the quagmire, we did come away with a red rubber Kong ball. A fair trade, I’d say.
We went in with one ball (two leashes, a PoopPac, and a Chuck-It), and came out with three.
*Special thanks to Rob for entering the quagmire with me. Your devotion has been noted.
For the A to Z Challenge, I’m using all positive language in my posts. Read the story of how positive reinforcement helped my reactive dog Isis in my book, Bark and Lunge!
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