I am convinced that without the Marymoor Dog Park, I would be in much worse shape today, both mentally and physically. There have been days this past 2 years where the only thing that helped me decompress was getting outside with Penelope and walking the trails. Somehow, it’s hard to stay sad, angry, frustrated, worried or pissed off at the dog park. Communing with dogs in nature is good therapy.
Dogs have an innate talent at living in the moment. Being at Marymoor is probably their idea of heaven and when you are surrounded by that much joy in canine form, who can be unhappy? They are uncomplicated, tail wagging, running, chasing, ball-catching good times. I started going to Marymoor about 10 years ago with Phred. He was a barky dog and he made it hard to talk to anyone there – even with the people who might go with me! Penelope is quieter on the whole and enjoys balls, but can go without them, too. She likes to run with the big dogs (and small) and I’ve had the chance to meet some very kind people through her.
On the whole, my experience is that the park provides what you need when you need it. There have been days I have craved some time to think, and I have been able to wander the paths and clear my head out to do so. Other visits, I needed to talk and magically, someone I know is there and wants to walk. Talking to someone while walking along is so easy and natural and things are shared that you might never bring up elsewhere. When I go with my kids, I have some wonderful one on one time or we go as a group and I love seeing them interact and react to the various dogs we encounter. Puppies are the best. Some days we see a bunch of them and I melt a little inside. I won’t be seduced by their cuteness, but I am appreciative that they come in such appealing packages. Regardless of my arrival state of mind, it is always better on departure (except for a few times that come to mind, one involving Penelope tripping me and sending me in to a mud pit. Then I left muddy and ticked off…).
I have been there on average at least 4 times a week over the past few years and, sure, there are times when it’s really rainy or cold and I think it’s not so fun, but I always leave feeling better for having made the effort. Penelope is much calmer and easier to be around after a romp and I get at least a mile of walking in, which has really been the sole exercise for me lately. With all that has been going on, I haven’t been to a gym in over a year. I can’t imagine what I would look like if I didn’t have this dog to force me out the door to walk. Much, much worse is all I can say.
Some days, I talk on the phone while there. I know I must look crazy, walking along talking to myself, using a headset…but it works for me. I have walked those paths chatting with my mom or Jan, catching them at a good point in their day, and sharing a little of mine with them. I have some great memories of telling Jan funny stories about Penelope’s latest antics during our walk. That dog loved her. Today, I thought how great it would be to call her again, but I had to settle for sending up a prayer on the wings of a crane that flew overhead.
Wildlife is all around – there are great blue herons, bald eagles, Canada geese, frogs, salmon, rabbits, ducks, and other small animals there. I hear them in the trees, bushes, and along the edge of the Sammamish Slough. We have seen 6 herons in the trees all at once, looking like a convention of ancient Japanese men, discussing weighty subjects. The geese land on the soccer fields and then lift off in unison, honking along their airborne highway to the next spot. It reminds me that we are surrounded by beauty if we just take the time to see it and be a part of it. Winding my way back to the parking lot, I feel lighter and more at peace, things have been thought, friends have been greeted, dogs have been petted, and the moment has been enjoyed. Thoroughly enjoyed, like dogs teach us. The park provides.