Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm still alive, really!

Still studying. Just under 4 weeks to go!

Dog update first. I've been taking Cersei to the unofficial dog park to play instead of out to the barn to play. There's several reasons - Sam the Barn Dog has fleas and keeps giving them to Cersei; it's twice as far to the barn as to the park; seeing other people's horses and not mine is kinda :(

Memphis in general is weird, yall. It's not just ghetto Frayser. The whole town is permeated with weirdness.

The Overton Park "dog park." First, it's not a dog park. I think we only have one official dog park, on the other side of the city in Shelby Farms. This is just an area in Overton Park where, by consensus, everybody brings their dogs to play off leash. The Not A Dog Park (NDP) is part of a large field, with a truly nasty concrete pond. There's a treasured patch of old-growth forest nearby, and a golf course all around.

The forest is another Memphis oddity. Back in the 60s, the highway dept wanted to build I-40 through the park, to connect East Memphis to Downtown. The Midtown hippies were up in arms (and rightly so, it's not just a park. It really is as close as you can get to untouched forest in any city). There was a lawsuit that dragged on for ten years, and finally the highway dept lost. In honor of this historic decision, they left the uncompleted access ramps and bridges to nowhere standing for the next 30 years. Seriously, two years ago there was a big renovation of part of our highways, and the Bridges to Nowhere were finally torn down. Just a surreal bit of Memphis history.

Back to the dog park. Cersei really loves to swim in the horrid nasty concrete pond, and she's warming up to the dogs who play there. She'll play with any given dog after she's met it twice, so she's starting to get some "friends." Notable characters and dogs I've met:
  • The Asian guy with the intact boxer. Not a show dog or a wonderful specimen of boxer-ness. I suspect he just doesn't want to genitally mutilate his dog. Whatever.
  • The sweet gay guy with that odd-looking black GSD. Well, I thought Diablo was a GSD until yesterday, when he admitted that the dog is half GSD and half timberwolf. Normally I'd call bullshit, but he wasn't bragging, just kind of matter of fact about it. Someone asked him about Diablo, and he told us. (I still don't think Diablo is an F1. He's SO laid back and SO doggy.)
  • The girl with the enormous BYB pit bull. Her dog is really sweet, and just a puppy who wants to play, but at 9 months the dog is already like 80 lbs. HUGE.
  • The guy with the two tiny perfect little pit bulls. His are both rescues, and they look to my untrained eye exactly like pit bulls should look. Maybe 50-60 lbs, shorter than Cersei, alligator jaws and built like tanks. I'm glad Cersei's taken a liking to them.
  • The girl with the out of control huge 80 lb Rottweiler puppy. Another one Cersei's age, but this dog really initimidates / bullies / annoys her. The Rott wants to play tackle football with every dog out there. Whenever the Rott knocks Cersei down, I go over and make the Rott back off and let my girl up.
  • And Cersei has a Chihuahua buddy! At first I was really reluctant to let her play chase games with a 5 lb dog, but the owners swore that the Chi loves big dogs and Cersei isn't very prey-drivey. And damn that little dude is FAST. Even if she wanted to chase him down and kill him she wouldn't have a chance.
The dogs are about half mutts or rescues and half purebreds. I've seen a Bouvier des Flandres, a couple of Ridgebacks, a (super cute!) Visla puppy, a couple of Great Danes, lots of Weimeraners and Dobermans and pibbles.

It's very strange. A very libertarian dog park. You can't yell at somebody for not controlling her dog (coughRottweilergirlcough) because none of us are supposed to be there. Non dog people wander through all the time. It is very odd to me when pit bulls run off to lick non dog owner kids, but nobody seems to mind. There are so many pits in Memphis that the general awareness about them is much higher - odds are that the non dog people at the park have friends or family with a pit, so they know that pits aren't actually babyeaters. And the pit owners are actually more aware of possible dog aggression than the non pit owners.

Cersei's number one favorite thing to do is still just to go swim around in circles by herself. She doesn't really want to retrieve, she just wants to swim in circles. About a quarter of the time she'll come out of the water and play with her "friends." She's getting more comfortable with the other dogs every day, and honestly, as long as she's having a good time, she can do what she wants out there.

I'm going to write out some notes and when my hand gets tired of writing, I'll come post HORSE PICTURES and write about my large useless beggars.

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