No gender confusion at the dog park

Males and females are different. That has never been more obvious to me than when I have watched Annie interact with the males at the dog park. I don’t know if I have mentioned here before that Annie is in love with a Dobie named Frisco. He’s tall, dark and perfect, a studly unneutered dog who wags his stub of a tail and comes running when he sees Annie.

Together, Frisco and Annie run and sniff each other, and Annie does this flirtatious dance I have never seen her do anywhere else. She keeps flipping her rear end at Frisco.

Enter another male, Buddy. Buddy is an Australian cattle dog mix, a bit smaller than Frisco, about Annie’s height. Suddenly the males bond and go off running while Annie tries to follow but can’t quite keep up. Occasionally, Frisco takes a break to lick her rear end. Buddy takes a minute to sniff her girl parts, too. Then he goes off running with Buddy again. Clearly females are only good for one thing in their eyes.

Another female arrives. Uh-oh, I think. Surely the girls will get jealous and fight. But no, Buddy takes a shine to the new female, and Frisco sticks with Annie. Suddenly everyone’s paired up. Isn’t this the way of the world?

What follows is an orgy of running, peeing, licking and attempted humping. Dogs don’t worry about trying to be polite. They act like animals. Watching this, it’s hard to ignore the obvious roles given to males and females in nature. I wonder how this applies to people, especially as I sit next to the male dogs’ male owners and feel as if I come from a different tribe. I’m grateful I put on makeup, and I worry about how my rear end looks as I walk away, regretting the gym pants with keys and cell phone making the pockets bulge. The men are probably too busy talking to each other to look anyway, but maybe . . .

Usually Annie lets me know when she’s ready to leave, but this time I had to drag her out. Frisco licked her ears in farewell. She staggered to the car and climbed onto the passenger seat, wet, stinking of urine, worn out and utterly in love.

You can’t argue with that.

Ah, Nature

Nature can be seen as the wilderness, but it can also be seen as the life we all experience.

I live in the coastal forest. It’s not far from town, but I grew up in suburbia, so when I see a bear, I get excited. (see previous post). I also get excited when I’m working in my yard and a snake suddenly slithers across my path. I yelp and jump back every time, even though I know the snakes here are not dangerous. It’s some kind of instinctual reaction. At least I can say the word “snake.” I’ve got a friend who calls them “fluffies.”

Today, I saw one snake, a short one, did my scream and dance, then went back to work, figuring that was my snake sighting for the day. Not so. A few minutes later, a much longer snake appeared out of nowhere. As I shrieked and backpedaled, Annie stood stunned as the snake wiggled through her legs and away under the fence. I had to sit down and take a breath after that. Then I saw a snake skin that one of my reptilian tenants had shed.

Deciding we’d had enough yard work, I leashed up the pup and we went to the nearby Beaver Creek wilderness area, a new Oregon State park that is just beautiful. It’s real wilderness, winding along the creek and through the marshes. What was the first thing we saw as we set paw on the path? Another snake, this one a long garter snake with a vermillion stripe. I don’t remember a more beautiful summer here, and I guess the snakes feel the same way.

Signs noted that bears and cougars had been seen around, but all we saw were bumblebees and, oddly, a rooster. Annie, who had no idea what it was, stared until I pulled her away. Still panting, she’s glad to be back on the sofa now.

Annie has had a busy few days. Saturday at the dog park, she fell in love for the first time. A dog-show-worthy doberman came trotting to the gate with his owner. Both dogs started whining to get together. Once the dobie was inside, Annie made a perfect fool of herself, dancing and posing as they sniffed each other’s parts. They ran together, then sniffed some more. The dobie, Frisco, was as smitten as Annie was. Cue the theme from Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately, Frisco is an intact, purebred show dog, while Annie is a slightly overweight spayed mutt. But love is part of nature, and we can’t help who we fall in love with, can we?