SWB on doggy parks, (or lack thereof)

I’ve a new favourite place which neither the pooch, nor I, can get enough of it. It’s the doggy play park in Stormont, or ‘The Bull Field’ as the sign says. If you ever need cheered up of a Sunday morning, this is the place to come. Borrow a friend’s dog if you are dog-less yourself, but feel you are missing out on the craic.  I wouldn’t want you to feel left out.

Anyway, the dog park. There’s a crew of seasoned walkers who know their own dogs and dogs in general. It’s very reassuring. The first time we took Tilly I was all: ‘SORRY! SORRY! Is she harrassing your dog? I’m so SORRY!’

They soon put my mind at ease and were well impressed with Tilly’s speed and agility. ‘She’s a greyhound in her, isn’t she?’ said a man waking over to us. He was wearing a beanie and sucking on a vape. ‘They do that. They run after other dogs for the fun, she’s not doing any harm. Sheba will keep her right.’

Over bounded a big Alsation from the bushes, joining in the fun. Tilly deferred almost immediately to her. There must be some sort of dog hierarchy and they know that you don’t mess with a German Shepherd. and Sheba is clearly the Queen of the dog-park, with her regal ruff and knowing eyes.

The regulars at the doggy park seem to know how to behave themselves and not piss anyone off. The dogs are pretty good too. A laid-back atmosphere prevails, with no over-protective princesses with pampered Pomeranians. One morning in Cherryvale we let Tilly off the lead, and she was having a great old time running about with a terrier. However, when her big greyhound mouth is gaping open, she can, I suppose, look a bit intimidating. A lady with a Westie (who let’s face it, can be guerny and antagonistic themselves) took great umbrage and tucked him under her arm and walked the other way. ‘THAT DOG SHOULD BE ON A LEAD,’ she said, pointedly. My girls were affronted on Tilly’s behalf.

But annoyingly, she had a point. There are children (or adults) who may be wary of dogs. It is also upsetting when a dog makes off with your child’s toy. No one wants to watch their six year old wrestle their ball from the mouth of a pitt-bull cross. We must also consider the cyclists. I was in a rush one morning nipping into town through Ormeau Park, and my journey wasn’t rendered any easier by the number of Labradors and collies bouncing out in front of me. I’m a big enough liability on a bicycle.

Hence the point of this post- dog parks. We need more of them. If parks are for everyone, is there any reason why the parks in Cherryvale and Ormeau don’t have a small area sectioned off for the dogs. That way we can all enjoy themselves, and dog owners aren’t shitting a brick that their canine children will wreak havoc. Speaking of which, I’ll be posting up a story later in the week, entitled: ‘When Tilly met a squirrel.’ You can look forward to that one.



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