dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Rowlett Dog Park (Tampa, FL)

Address: 2401 E Yukon St, Tampa, FL 33604

rowlett dog parkI’m going to begin blogging about dog parks starting…now! I’m still going to blog about a bunch of other stuff (probably much more often now that I’m finishing school), so if you’re not into dog parks or don’t live in Florida, skip the dog park posts but still stay tuned.

Rowlett dog park was okay. It’s in the northern part of Tampa not far from where I live, so that appealed to me. It looked different from any other dog park I’ve been to–as soon as you enter, you rowlett dog parkwalk on an extended wooden walkway. My dog seemed to like that.

There were many cool things around for dog agility. I haven’t trained my dog in agility, but sometimes I think I’d like to, just for the fun of it, so it’s nice to know there are parks with agility courses nearby.

rowlett dog park


I saw a small dog area that also had an agility course, but it was locked up. I couldn’t find a sign stating a reason for it being closed. The small dog area looked very small in comparison to the rest of the park.

I really wish the small dog area had been open. We didn’t have the best experience at this park. There were several dogs there, all large, and two of them would not leave my dog alone. They weren’t overly aggressive and were just trying to play, I’m sure, but one of them kept barking over and over, which was scaring my dog, and together they were guarding him so he couldn’t run away.

At one point, Walnut, yelping in fear, broke away from the two large dogs to chase after me and a woman sitting on a picnic table said, “Run for your life!” to him. I’m sure she was joking, but it added to a feeling that my small dog didn’t belong there. She was essentially making fun of my dog for being harassed.rowlett dog park

I sat alone on a bench to read and my dog stayed pretty close to me since he was now scared. The dog that wouldn’t stop barking, kept coming over. Walnut would then hide under the bench and the big dog would stand there and bark at him. At one point the owner finally came over and pulled his dog away, but he acted irritated with me, as if the problem was my dog hiding under the bench rather than his dog barking repeatedly.

I know a lot about dogs and dog behavior and never know exactly how much to share with others when I’m at the dog park. I don’t want to come off as rude or condescending. Really though, dogs shouldn’t be continually barking at the dog park. It riles up the other dogs and even if the barking dog isn’t aggressive, consistent barking in a large group of dogs can lead to a dog fight. Dog owners who allow their dog to bark over and over at the park annoy me, though I usually don’t say anything and I didn’t say anything this day.

rowlett dog parkI also know a lot about dog owners and feel like many large dog owners do not like small dogs and vice-versa. Now maybe that wasn’t the case here, but it sure felt like it. There were several large dogs at the park, two of them acting inappropriately and terrifying my small dog, and all the humans essentially laughed at my dog instead of feeling bad for him or trying to intervene.

Later, a couple came into the dog park with another small dog. Not as small as my 9-pound dog, but maybe in the 20-30 lbs. range. The annoying barking dog began circling it, barking at it, scaring it, and generally not leaving it alone and shortly after, the other dog that had been harassing my dog began circling and guarding it. One of the small dog’s owners asked, “Whose dogs are these?” but no one answered him. Finally, the couple physically picked their dog up to get it away from the other two dogs and then they left, carrying their dog all the way out. I felt bad they had to experience that, but it also gave me vindication that it showed the dog owners that the issue was blatantly the two large dogs barking and guarding and not my dog acting scared. I decided to leave too.

I know one (or two) bad dogs shouldn’t ruin an entire dog park for me, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to Rowlett any time soon unless the small dog section opens back up. I’ve been to a lot of dog parks and noticed two things: 1, they have regulars who come week after week and 2, they each have a certain culture. Maybe this was an off day at Rowlett, but I don’t want Walnut to have to face those annoying dogs again, and I don’t want to be around dog owners who laugh instead of intervening when a dog is being bullied.



lit mags, weirderary, writing

weirderary is open to submissions until 3/20/17

weirderary sticker

Hi all,, the lit mag I co-founded and co-edit, is open to submissions until 3/20/17. We really want more visual art and comics especially. We are also open to fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and experimental stuff that doesn’t fit under a label.

Click here for the submission guidelines.


Florida, health, personal growth, places

2017 Goals

I recently wrote about The Desire Map (a book by Danielle LaPorte you can purchase here) and the core desired feelings I came up with after reading the book. These are four feelings I am using to drive my decision-making this year: centered, aroused, flowing, and playful.

After identifying core desired feelings, the next step of The Desire Map is to develop goals. I was nervous and excited for this, mistakenly thinking that by the end of it I would know where I want to move and what type of job I want to obtain this year. Ha! Not at all.

My goals are much more process- than outcome-based, which feels difficult because there’s always that little (but loud!) part of my mind that wants something certain I can write down and then work feverishly towards. Values-wise, I prefer to take a bottom-up, process-focused approach. It requires that I withstand a lot of uncertainty for a prolonged period of time, however, which is difficult for someone like me, who struggles with anxiety. That said, I am very happy with the goals I outlined.

Here are the 2017 goals I came up with:

Do Yoga.

While many people were joining the gym at the start of the new year, I was canceling my membership. I lifted heavy weights for a year and a half because I had a strong desire to feel strong. Now, I want to feel centered, flowing, aroused, and playful. Lifting weights in a gym doesn’t give me those feelings. Doing yoga at home alone while listening to music does. (Riding my bike with my little dog sitting in the basket also does.) My original goal was to do yoga every day. So far, I’ve done it roughly every other day.

Make Art.

My intention is to work on art every day, with “art” being broadly defined as writing, painting, taking photos, or doing something else that feels creative. I’ve been very successful in this goal so far. Right now my inclination is to paint every day, but sometimes I have to prioritize writing instead because I am supposed to be working on my Master’s thesis (which is a novel).

Get involved.

By getting involved, I mean volunteering, protesting, attending political events, calling my representatives, donating, etc. My goal is to do one of these things at least once per week. So far, this goal has been the easiest, probably because it’s weekly and not daily.

Be in Nature.

My other weekly intention is to spend time in nature. At first I was going to make this a goal to go to the beach every week, but since I live about an hour away, that might not always be feasible. So far I’ve gone to the beach, canoed on the river, or walked in a nature park nearly every week of the year.

Wrap Up

I really, really, really enjoy the process-focused rather than outcome-focused goals. Actually, moving forward I want to call them “intentions.” The whole idea of “goals” doesn’t sit well with me anymore. We can’t create a plan for life and stick exactly to it–that’s just a recipe for anxiety, frustration, and disappointment. I can set how I want to feel, do the things that make me feel that way, and bring more joy and meaning into my life.

Focusing on my core desired feelings for the past two months has changed my perspective quite a bit. I’m realizing how achievement-focused I was. I’m also realizing how off my priorities were, and how my mental efforts didn’t properly represent what I truly value. I was spending most of my time thinking about things related to career and dating when really what I want to prioritize is my health, my connection to nature, my contribution to society, and my ability to be kind and compassionate to the people in my life.