I am getting better and better at this whole “waking up early” thing people keep talking about. My weekend this week consists of Monday and Tuesday (Happy Rush Hashanah!), and I have actually got out of bed at 6:30am BOTH mornings. For anyone keeping track I’ve done that 3 times in the last week. None of which were on actual workdays, but whatever. It’s so much more exciting to get up for a day of fun than it is for a day of work.
Yesterday, was truly a miracle, because not only did I get up with the sun, but so did Husband! We decided to wake up and take our one and only child/pup to the park for “off-leash” hours. Central Park allows dogs to be off their leash before 9am and after 9pm. I’ve done this with Belle once before, but Husband has yet to experience the awesomeness of no-leash hours.
NYC may be a concrete jungle, but it is also a city of dogs. Take one walk around our neighborhood and you are likely to find all sorts of fancy breeds, rescued mutts, enormous pooches, and tiny ones pushed in strollers. Zoey and I both have a (bad?) habit of loving on all the dogs we see. We can’t help but cuddle all the furry balls of cuteness being walked all around us. Being at the park before 9am is the holy grail of dog watching/petting/loving.
Belle grew up in both Texas and Tennessee and had the luxuries of large backyards, deer filled hills, and fields of grass to wildly chase bunnies and squirrels. In the mornings we could simply open the door and allow her to unleash her energy in the countryside. She still adored going on leashed-walks around our neighborhoods, but was also free to roam the yard leash-free (if raccoons and skunks were nowhere in sight).
For the last year Husband and I have felt really guilty about keeping Belle in our tiny apartment and only allowing her outside if she’s on a leash. Being attached to a leash makes playing fetch in the park a lot less fun, for both of us. So, yesterday, when we arrived at Central Park before 7am and immediately took off her leash I was 50% thrilled to let her run free, and 50% afraid she’d keep running and never turn back.
The entire park was filled with hundreds and hundreds of dogs roaming free. We saw poodles, Dalmatians, Mastiffs, Chihuahuas, German Sheppard’s, Corgis, Terriors, and tons of mutts and mixes. Every dog and owner were happily running around, playing fetch, and chatting to other dog lovers. It was so nice to be around other people who get it.
Dog owners relate the same way parents relate. We see another dog shoving his nose up our dog’s arse, and before their owner can apologize we give them the knowing “don’t worry, we get it look”. Then, when our dog turns around bears her teeth and begins loudly yipping at the butt sniffer, we receive the same knowing look. We’ve all been there. Our dogs are our loves, but we know they are often disgusting, misbehaving messes.
We walked Belle until 9am, when all the leashes were instantly latched on again. We bid farewell to our new doggy friends and walked home. I imagined Belle would pass out from exhaustion and we would use the quiet time to be productive. (i.e Husband will read Reddit and play Black Mesa, while I work on lesson plans and write blogs)
Belle immediately grabbed her favorite toy and excitedly jumped up and down, ready to play fetch over and over and over again, I fell asleep while watching Kelly and Michael, and Husband actually read Reddit and played Black Mesa.
We are looking forward to many more early mornings in the park before the weather starts getting too cold.
Also, if you have a dog, you must must absolutely must read this.