Thursday, January 28, 2010

Peace of mind

Regardless of how my day was, to finish with a walk at the dog park almost always makes it all OK.

Often, I'll tell people that Hathaway saved my sanity. (Those closest to me just laugh knowingly). But having to walk the dog gets me out of the house, which usually doubles as the office these days. It gets me exercising when really I'd just like a couple more ... hours ... in bed.

Even better than just walking is making it to the dog park -- Stodder's Neck in Hingham. (It might be Stoddard's Neck, depending on whether you believe the sign out front or the labels on the trash cans. The Stoddard I know doesn't have a neck.)

It is Happy Hour without alcohol. The dogs have their friends and playmates and their owners are just there to keep order. It's like watching children on a playground, the way they run up to each other in greeting, run, chase balls and sticks and wrestle.

Yep, sometimes there's a disagreement or somebody doesn't want to share a toy and a scuffle starts, but everybody takes a time out and then it's back to wagging tails and sniffing butts.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the dog park on Wednesday. With three quiet hours, I could have gotten a lot of work done. On the other hand, I'd already made a lot of progress and Hath and I both needed some fresh air. When we got there, we spent a couple of minutes with Rich, who was just leaving with Lola and Simon. Before we got very far, I heard my name and turned to see Carmen charging after us (with Ginny right behind, waving). Halfway through our first lap, we caught up with Louie and his guy and Monica and Roxy. We walk and talk, tell dog stories, compare notes.

Nearly 90 minutes later, it was time to head home to eat and get dinner ready for when the kids got back from skiing. By then, we were refreshed and renewed and content thanks to our dog park friends. There's a comfort in the camaraderie that brings peace of mind to the rest of one day and something to look forward to the next.

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