You get the idea.
Imperial County doesn’t have a dog park, despite having about 10,000 more people than Yuma County, according to the latest official estimate. Yes, we may have more Chihuahuas per capita in Imperial County than anywhere on the planet, including the state of Chihuahua, but even if we counted each of our Chihuahuas as half a dog, we still probably would have more dogs than Yuma County.
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Other than being behind the times in general, there is no reason for the Imperial Valley not having a dog park when nearly every other place of any size in this country has at least one.
Most people in Imperial County love their dogs. Yes, there are the heartless who tie their dogs to trees or leave their dogs in back yards for their entire lives, and there are fools strutting around in their wife-beaters thinking a pit bull on a leash makes them tough, but there are as many people out lovingly walking and running their dogs each day in the Valley as anywhere else.
My wife and I, realizing this might be the last day for months cool enough to allow our dogs to romp in a park in the desert, decided Sunday to check out Yuma’s Bark Park, which opened a year and a half ago. There were several dogs frolicking in the park when we arrived and the numbers of delighted canines varied between three and 15 during our hour there.
Our younger, smaller dog, who will be a year old this week, generally has not been around dogs other than our bigger, older dog, so it took Bobby a few minutes to figure out the protocol for playing in such a park. He quickly adjusted and started having a big time. And when he thought things might be getting testy, he ran to Flynn for protection.
Flynn, who has been around other dogs much more, having spent significant time in dog parks and dog beaches and years running with dogs in the country, was more interested in hanging out with me and challenging the park’s agility equipment than canine socializing. One huge red-boned dog tried to bully him, but Flynn quickly let the brute know that wouldn’t be tolerated, and the ruffian went the other way. (Because they’re neutral ground, dog parks tend to be free of canine brawling.)
There’s no reason for not having a dog park in the Valley. All it would take is space, fencing, grass, a faucet, a few benches, some shade and baggies for picking up poop.
Of course there would be issues. Parking would be needed. Barking could be irksome to some in the vicinity. And in an area where folks frequently leave soiled diapers in parking lots of stores and restaurants (“Uh, honey, there went my appetite”), getting people to do their own canine caca cleanup could be an issue.
Overall, though, a dog park would be a wonderful place for local dogs and loco dog lovers to socialize. I would lead the effort to establish such a park, but after nearly 20 years of writing this column, I think I’ve managed to offend everyone at least once, so I might not be the greatest point man.
I would, however, be a trooper and rhetorical pooper scooper in the movement to bring the happiness of a dog park to Valley canines and humans.
Bret Kofford teaches writing and
communication at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus.
He can be reached at Kofford@roadrunner.com