You can Pick Your Friends. You can Pick Your Nose. But you Can’t Pick Your Dog’s Friend’s Nose.

A Long Time Ago in a Neighbourhood Far, Far Away…

The year 2005, the location my living room, the conversation dull.  I had snagged my best friend for the evening with expectations of regaling her up on my exaggerated sexual escapades, non-prescription drug use, and latest cosmetic discoveries.  Sadly, the conversation revolved around her seven-year-old daughter Kennedy’s shiny new friend Ashley.

Kennedy was obsessed with Ashley, who from the outside looked like any other well-behaved little girl.  Until she opened her mouth.  Demanding, saucy, overbearing and mean – it was as if this kid channeled Anna Wintour while she commanders the September issue of Vogue.

Kennedy, who looked up to Ashley, started to adopt some if not all of Ashely’s behaviour. Nadine was perplexed, over a bottle of wine (perhaps two) we (actually she) contemplated the question:  Can you choose your child’s friends?

Johnny Picks a Friend

At the time I could have cared less whether or not one could or should choose friends for their spawn.  Today, I feel Nadine’s pain.  Johnny has made his first friend, Rodney. Stubby, stinky, barking, humping Rodney is a terribly behaved two-year-old Pug.  I detest Johnny’s fondness of Rodney.  To date, Johnny has learned from Rodney how to jump up on my leg, how to bite dogs back legs when playing and how to incessantly bark for no reason.

Along with Rodney comes the duty engaging in mind-numbing conversations with Rodney’s Human Sandy, a stay-at-home mom and professional resume writer.

Sandy admits Rodney behaves terribly.  Nothing irks me more than an individual who has an awareness of a problem, the means to remedy it and does nothing about it.  No, that’s wrong, Sandy’s flair for oversized colourful wood earrings is slightly more annoying.  I’m continually distracted by them as her mouth churns out verbal diarrhea.

 Jeff Picks Someone to Avoid

In any non-dog park environment, I would be able to ignore Sandy.  When your dog plays well with another dog, there’s an expectation to meet, greet, and share with that dog’s human.  Not meeting this expectation puts you in danger of becoming labeled a DPS (Dog Park Snob), something Johnny and I aren’t willing to chance.

Being labeled a DPS could result in not meeting or being introduced to Ryan Reynolds when he wanders in with his pooch (hasn’t happened but could).  Ryan could meet me, turn gay, leave Blake and marry me, better safe than sorry.  Right? Right.

So, there I am, politely listening, nodding, and smiling to Sandy’s rhetoric which falls into three categories:

  1. Frustrations completing online forms and navigating complex websites such as Amazon and Canadian Tire (I don’t see it).
  2. Conspiracy theories planned by the Green Party of Canada and David Suzuki. Apparently, together, they’re funding terrorism across the globe (but not here in Canada).
  3. Outrageous critiques after patronizing traditional chain supermarkets, hardware stores, and local cannabis dispensaries.

An Education

Every time I see Sandy and Rodney trot through the gates and into the dog park, I’m stricken with dread.  But then the voice of my therapist chimes in, “Judgement of another means there’s something there for you to learn’.  Perhaps so.  And if so, I’ll have a Ph.D. in all things Strange after soaking up ‘Sandy Wisdom.’

Until next time friends.  Rock on.

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