This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be at my local dog park when members of the NYC Pit Bull Meet-Up arrived for a scheduled trip.
I have been a member of the meet-up for a long time, but more as a lurker. The group organizes trips in the tri-state area for off-leash play, organized walks in the city and share their thoughts in a discussion group. I have enjoyed the discussion group and I think that it is so helpful to have this platform for new and old pittie owners. They often share stories, resources and alert each other of pitties in need.
I must say, as a regular visitor to my dog park, I was concerned when someone mentioned there was a PB Meetup scheduled. Yes, I admit it, my hackles were up – I am always concerned when a group of dogs whether it be a meet-up or a doggy daycare visit the run. These are dogs that are typically not regulars and, if all arrive at once, can easily change the vibe of the dog park. And, if you visit dog runs regularly, you also know that some people bring dogs that are not appropriate for multiple dog play in an off-leash environment. And, this was a Saturday at 11 am, which is like happy hour for dogs.
While we are talking about dog parks, I personally think it is pretty rare that an adult dog – of any breed – likes/should go to/wants to go to dog parks. When we bring our dogs to runs, we expect so much from them: be social with all dogs, share your toys with strangers, and be a good dog always! Now just replace “dogs” and “a run” with “people” and “a bar.” Get it?
Mostly, runs are for the young adolescents who have boundless energy and are usually super social. I am lucky that my dog park is huge by NYC standards. Unlike most urban runs, dogs are forced to socialize in small spaces. I think, like always, that owners need to be responsible with their dogs wherever they go – and set them up to succeed. More info on dog parks from Dr. Sophia Yin.
Marley checking out Ft. Tryon Dog Run
The most lovely, local pitties and their owners showed up at Ft. Tryon Dog Run
. First there was Marley who I actually met the day before when he and his owner visited the park. His dad took in Marley when the original owner could no longer take care of him. She was over 65 and already had a yorkie, birds and an iguana. And, yes, Marley is named after the yellow lab in Marley and Me
Ella checking out the scene from outside the run
John loving the play!
Next we met John and Ella, and their family, which included a mom, dad and a new baby in a bjorn. Such great owners. They realize that Ella, an almost Elderbull, cannot handle dog parks any longer. So, she watched from outside with her mom and two-legged baby sister in a sweet sweater. Ella was adopted from the ASPCA
a few years ago and is a trained therapy dog. John, on the other hand, is a super active, athletic young boy who LOVES dogs and can be a little shy with new people. I am always impressed when new baby parents don’t forget that their first four-legged children need their own activities and special time, too.
John and Ella also brought along Prince, an lovely adolescent pup with the most gorgeous eyes! It is all the family – Prince and his family live in the same building as John and Ella. And, Prince’s mom is the nanny for John and Ella’s human sibling!
Scrappy and Jade
Meet and Greet...
And, of course we had local pitties like Jade, Scrappy and Orbit hanging around the run, too…
Penelope and Pudgy the terrier
And, lastly, there was Penelope: the life of the party. She played with large dogs, little dogs…She loves everyone and shares her home with two pugs. There will be more about Penelope in a later blog…she is a celebrity of sorts.
I am so happy that the PB meetup went so well on Saturday. I hope they organize another one in my park soon. I will always remain diligent about making sure I am responsible with my dogs, and will still be on guard when large groups come around – but this meetup showed me that when a group of other responsible dog owners come to the run that I can be more confident that everyone will have a good time. And now, I have more pitties to stalk!
Why not visit Meetup.com and look for a pittie club near you? There are currently 62 meetups listed on the site.