“Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war”
Dog parks are such a vibe. They’re like the best vibes actually. You often go when the weather is nice out, the sun is shining and people are smiling. Home to typically friendly and happy dogs accompanied by typically friendly and happy humans. Concoction for joy.
Kentucky dog parks are cool. They’re usually open and fenced in with plenty of room to run. Florida dog parks were unique in that you can find some on the beach. Makes for a dirty Duke but it’s fun. And my favorite was in Tampa at a series of off leash trails in a palm tree setting, super vibes.
Colorado dog parks have taken the crown though. The best in Denver is hands down at Cherry Creek State Park. It’s like $13 to get in but you get all access to the lake and trails. Paddleboarding there is always great cause the water is typically calm, unlike what I’m used to in Florida. The dog park there is off-leash and I believe it’s actually over 100 acres. It’s incredible. The back side of it stays along a river many people even walk thru barefoot with the pups. So relaxing.
The dog park we’ve frequented in the mountains at Estes Park is nowhere near the size, but far more of a scenery overload. The town sits in a valley surrounded by peaks as high as 14,000 feet all within view of the dog park. It sits on a lake that is as filled with wildlife as any I’ve seen. All us people passing by everyday are in their environment. Every day there are countless geese, vultures, small birds I know not the names of yet, hawks and even eagles. It’s fascinating to see there are so many of them out, until the eagles show up. Usually just one but if you’re extra lucky both. When they come out to fish in the lake there’s not another bird in sight. The respect they command hits different. The call they make is mistakable to none. I get a chill down the back of my neck every time I hear one and turn on auto lock to locate it. Eagles and hawks are two of my favorite animals.
The city of Estes built a nesting pole about 30 feet high that a pair of Ospreys staked as home. Through my time spent here there’s been a fledgling growing on the nest. The parents scoop fish all day and bring it back to their little one. Shredding and feeding them to the youngin until he or she learns to provide for itself. I’ve seen them catch multiple fish in a morning. Met a cool gentleman photographing the hawks that specific day. You gave me inspiration and for that I thank you Larry, hope you’re doing great!
Maybe more impressive than the respect the eagles command, is the fearless courage the hawks showcase when their nest is approached on. Chasing vultures away is more or less routine but their extra loud calls of ‘do not approach’ and superior quick jabs at the eagle chase them off every time they get too close. I watch in awe. A kewl fact, many hawks mate for life.
My favorite ancient Egyptian God is Horus. Horus was the hawk/falcon headed spirit. Son of the King of the afterlife, he was known as a guide for deceased spirits making their afterlife journey. His right eye represented the sun and his left the moon. To this day hawks are known to be one of the most common spirit animals interacting with humans in this physical real were in. I don’t find that coincidence.
The flying courage of those birds drips down on the dog park as well. Small dogs always pack the biggest fight. Duke and I have made true friends with a guy I’ve met there and his pup. Jim and Lucas. Lucas the truly fearless, growing, shepherd mix young lad. Jim let me have my amazon order delivered to his place, muchas gracias hermano. It’s been a blessing meeting some really cool regulars there. But to the incessantly nagging ones who try to run the dog park and all its inhabitants, chill.
I’ve noticed big dogs are more common here than anywhere I’ve been. Many of them live on land with a cabin on it or spend a big chunk of time hiking and biking thru trails with their human, in big game country. Numerous people I’ve met said they got theirs to watch over the kids when they play outside, having a mix of mountain lions and bobcats around their area. Told you dogs are sick. Naturally these protective ones here have BDE and ‘you’re not picking on me’ vibes. I’ve seen more chippiness up here than before too. Both with Duke and without.
Most notably to see was with two ‘wolf dogs’. Both of them mostly wolf, very little dog. At the ‘dog’ park. Missing something?
One was of Alaskan decent, quite a bit bigger than Duke and fur the color of a yellow lab. He was gorgeous and intimidating at the same time. He was friendly with all the small dogs but hair stood up once it started walking towards Duke. Duke is used to being the biggest so when an XXL dog comes by he’s defensive, more so just standing his ground. He rarely starts shit, but he won’t ever take shit. The two didn’t even make it past close eye contact and attempting to say hello before they were both growling and quickly jumping at each other’s faces. Front paws on the other chomping grills like a grizzly. Fortunately I was right there next to them and just pushed in between throwing them apart. They both tried a second time and I did the same thing, yelling at them. Thankfully they stopped and I grabbed Duke and walked away. I learned it’s no surprising occurrence for the wolf owners as I looked up to see the guy still 30 yards away, drinking his coffee and walking away as if nothing happened.
Next occurrence was more intense though. We walked in the entrance to see a shorter old guy with a painfully swollen looking beer belly. Lying beneath him was his midnight black, grey wolf. Lying prone at complete attention, ears and hair down the spine standing up this wolf was ready to assert dominance over any being that walked in. Good luck to the four legged ones. Probably 6 inches taller than Duke and every single pound of 150. I’d bet the over. Duke’s slimmed down about 5 since our hiking extravaganza started, he’s about 120. A lean St. Bernard and mega fit I’ll add. This was an extra huge and intimidating animal. In fact the dog park is split into three sections. One for small dogs you can enter directly. And then two large, connected chunks divided for all others. They were at the entrance of the first area, not another dog on the same side they were all in the second portion. You had to walk by them to get there. I’m sure all the others felt blocked off to the back area.
As we walked closer towards them his wolf jetted at a quick trot straight to Duke. “Yours neutered!?” he belches. We’re at the dog park and he’s full grown. “Of course.” Didn’t even turn my next thought into a sentence before the wolf tried putting his chin on Duke’s head. When Duke bucked back defensively with his hair up the wolf instantly lunged teeth out. Backed with instinctual intent those chompers were a scary sight. As Duke tried jumping up to meet the bigger beast it’s weight was already pushing back down on him. This wolf was even bigger than the Alaskan one and moved quicker, the damn thing would be an alpha in the wild. Go hunt bears or something with this not dogs at the dog park, jackass.
In that first split moment I already felt the urge if those two really went at it like that his wolf would probably kill Duke within 60 seconds. All empathy aside in that moment I almost straight kicked it in the side of the neck but I decided to grab it anyways. As it was starting to move overtop of Duke I grabbed it by the hide of its neck and yanked that SOB as hard as I could. I only threw it back about 5 feet. I went to shield Dukems as it started coming back and I just kicked at its head and neck. 5-10 long seconds later Billy Bob rolled his way over hollering and grabbed his wolf. He started making a reluctant apology that clearly carried zero weight and I’ve got nothing to do with fake energy like that. “Seems pretty damn intense to be at the DOG park” I snapped and just walked off. Definitely one of those moments when you feel rage, but it would serve no purpose. Deep breath and walk away.
That said, it was just a couple days after this I was talking with a nice, pretty gal while her big pup played with Duke in the lake. In talking about big dogs she asked if I’d seen the black wolf there. It had pinned her 6-month-old dog down the week before and Billy Bob blamed it on her pup not being neutered!! Some times people need snatched up out of love for everyone else. Or how bout neutered instead? Haven’t seen him, here’s to that jackass reading this.
Love y’all! Tune in, promise I’m just getting warmed up.
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