A Perfect Day For the Dog Park
Cloudy and cool, not exactly a pool day, but I was okay with that. It was, however, a perfect dog park day and DJ was itching to get out. Either that or he had fleas.
It had been a while since I visited the dog park and I was curious to see how the usual suspects were doing. More importantly, I needed to see for myself that I wasn't the only one in the neighborhood who lost their mind. Let's face it my friends, the dog park is a veritable asylum, where sanity takes a sabbatical and chaos reigns supreme. It's like stepping into the madhouse from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," where dogs are the patients temporarily let out of their padded cells and the dog owners are the Nurse Ratcheds trying in vain to maintain some semblance of order over the chronically uncontrollable.
All the dog park people Where do they all come from? All the dog park people Where do they all belong?
As I slipped into the park inconspicuously with my frisky sidekick, DJ, there she stood -- Mimi, a zaftig poodle with a sassy tongue and an alluring wiggle. She immediately recognized my boy from a previous unwanted encounter under a picnic table and yelped. I prayed that Mimi's apparent flashback wouldn't remind her that there is no statute of limitations for canine sex crimes. I recalled a crusty old beagle who once warned me that poodles are a notoriously vindictive breed.
As I awkwardly approached the dog park clique with trepidation, I breathed in a sigh of relief when I was completely ignored -- except for a petulant pug that peed on my pants. Beware mes amis, for at the dog park, danger lurks behind every lifted hind leg.
I noticed a peculiar conversation taking place among the cast of characters huddled around the urine-soaked picnic table, exchanging stories with an air of excitement. Curiosity piqued, I ventured closer to eavesdrop on their conversation. It didn't take long for me to realize that they were engaged in a rather unusual competition—one that involved comparing astronomical vet bills.
"Oh, you think that's expensive? Let me tell you about the time Mimi swallowed my 2-terabyte external hard drive. Three thousand to extract it and another two grand to resuscitate it," exclaimed Charna, a squarely-built, cleft-chinned woman decked out in more tchotchkes than a Christmas tree.
Charna's revelation was met with a chorus of impressed gasps, oohs and ahs from the others, all eagerly waiting to share their own tales of financial woe.
"That's nothing!" chimed in an egg-headed gent named Boris. "Last month, Rasputin ate a little egg memento thing I nicked from the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg. Five thousand rubles to get it out, and fifty thousand to escape Russia alive."
The group erupted in laughter and sympathetic sighs, clearly relishing in the absurdity of their misfortunes. The conversation continued, each participant trying to outdo the others with increasingly bizarre and wallet-draining anecdotes.
As I stood on the outskirts of this vet bill Olympics, I couldn't help but feel a mixture of bewilderment and amusement. Finally, unable to resist the temptation, Charna turned to me, noticing my presence.
"Hey, Mr. Eavesdropper, what's the most you've ever dropped at the vet?" she asked as her coquettish poodle, Mimi, threw DJ a tantalizing "come hither" look.
I pondered for a moment, contemplating whether to reveal my secret. After all, my vet bills were bupkis especially in comparison to the financial rollercoaster these folks had been on.
"Well," I said, suppressing a smile, "I can't say I've had any major expenses in that department. Maybe around $80 over the past five years or so. I get a price for paying cash."
Silence fell upon the crew. Their eyes widened, jaws dropped, and an awkward stillness settled in. I could practically hear their minds collectively explode, struggling to comprehend the idea that a dog owner could exist without bankrupting themselves on vet bills.
"Eighty bucks?!" gasped Charna, clutching her chunky clamshell necklace as if she had just heard the punchline of a terrible joke. "How is that possible?"
I shrugged nonchalantly. "Must be his Mrs. Meadys' raw diet. DJ's been on it all twelve years of his blessed life. Never had any health issues."
The group exchanged glances, bewildered expressions etched across their faces. It was as if I had revealed the secret to eternal youth or discovered a magic potion for dogs.
"You mean…raw food?" stammered Chumley, the proud ginger-haired dad of a pregnant Irish setter.
"As in REAL food," I said while handing out my business cards. "Order online and save big on your vet bills," It was a shameless plug but true.
Chumley patted his dog's head and hugged her. "Count me in, I'm done with that kibble crap."
A chorus of "Me toos" erupted as the gang placed Mrs. Meadys' orders on their iPhones.
And so, as I suspected when I looked out the window on that cool and cloudy midsummer morn, it was a perfect day to go to the dog park.
SAVE BIG ON OUTRAGEOUS VET BILLS