dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Gadsden Dog Park in Tampa, FL

Gadsden Dog Park          6901 S. MacDill Ave. Tampa, FL 33611

This was a nice dog park. My parents were in town when I went there. I don’t think they’ve spent much time in dog parks before. This might’ve even been their first one. They seemed to dig it.

I took this photos months ago. I don’t go to dog parks any more because I don’t have a car any more. That means I take longer, more frequent walks, but read much less.

I don’t really want to stay in Tampa another year. But, Tampa has a good job for me, so I probably shouldn’t leave until I can land something better. Is there a word for when you know you need to make a change, but you haven’t made it yet?

Also, how to be patient and satisfied during those times, instead of longing for the change or trying to rush things along? This is an issue I’ve faced in almost every area: career, health, relationships, etc.

Do you ever feel like you’re behind? I don’t mean in a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses type of way. I mean like there’s always a gap between what you’re doing and what you want to be doing.

I guess everyone feels that way, unless they’re complacent? I guess we’re designed that way. That’s what desire and motivation are about. I guess it’s a good thing, but isn’t it frustrating?

I’ve also noticed this in creative work. The project I’m excited about is rarely the one I’m actively working on. I’m finishing the drudgery of the current project while dreaming of the next project, because I want to finish things to completion rather than start and stop, dashing around without focus, without building.

I guess that points to the importance of mindfulness. If you aren’t present, you’ll never be happy, even in your “dream job,” or with your “dream guy” (or woman). There’s always an impulse to want something else. Not necessarily something different, but something deeper, more, the next level. The tricky part is honoring instead of burying that impulse without letting it overrun you.

I think the trick is to try and do both. Be loyal, be faithful, be reliable, be trustworthy, engage in the day-to-day, the work, the tedium, but bring some of that excitement for the next thing, the other thing, into the framework of now. For example, follow through and post the months-old dog park blog post that’s on your to-do list, but between the photos and your analysis of the park (friendly dogs, friendly owners, 100% recommend), write a bunch that feels real and living, inject the stale with what’s on your mind N-O-W.

dog parks, dogs

Queenie’s Dog Park

Queenie’s Dog Park
1710 N. Highland Ave.
Tampa, FL 33602

Queenie’s is a nice little dog park north of downtown Tampa.

At first I thought it wouldn’t be enjoyable because of the fake ground covering much of it. It looks like blacktop, but is spongy. What is that stuff called? I know it’s good for trails because it doesn’t put as much strain on the joints of runners.

Walnut didn’t seem to mind, though. I sat at a picnic table and read a book. At first we were the only ones there, but within 30 minutes two large dogs and four small dogs arrived. All of them were well-behaved and the owners were friendly, but not too friendly. Multiple people chatted with me briefly, but no one tried to force me into a long conversation. Rejoice!

After we left the dog park, I walked around a little to check out the area. It’s pretty nice and on the river walk. There is also a water park next door that was full of kids and moms, but I didn’t photograph it.

I find myself wondering, why am I blogging about dog parks? But then I remember, I feel like it.

dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Hilltop Dog Park (Temple Terrace, FL)

Address: 9420 Harney Rd, Tampa, FL 33637

Hilltop Dog Park is the one I visit the most often. It’s in Temple Terrace, and I usually just call it Temple Terrace Dog Park. There are separate large and small dog areas. Sometimes people who have both a large and small dog end up bringing their large dog into the small dog area, but it’s always a super friendly large dog and no one really cares. I’ve been to this dog park dozens of times and never seen a dog fight in the small dog area, so I feel really comfortable here.

Is it weird that I feel like my personality should make me a “large dog person,” but I have a small dog and have always had a small dog, so I guess I cannot deny being a “small dog person?” I mean, there is a definite sort of stereotype or branding, if you will, that is associated with dog size. Large dog owners take road trips across the country in their Jeeps or whatever and stop spontaneously in nature areas to play Frisbee with their large dog and when they’re not out traveling and having adventures they go running with their large dog on weekdays when they get off work whereas small dog owners just like sit and eat chocolate and take their small dog with them to the salon in a big purse and no one else can pet the small dog otherwise it will growl because it was never properly socialized.

At least that’s what I think people are thinking when they ask, “What kind of dog do you have?” and then after I answer say, “Oh, so it’s a small dog,” with disappointment in their voice, or say, “I want a dog too, but I’m going to get a big dog.” It’s like, yeah, okay, at what maturity level are you if you are making yourself feel superior to me because of a dog you don’t even own yet!

Hilltop Dog Park Temple Terrace 2

Sometimes birds of prey fly over the dog park and on more than one occasion I’ve had other dog owners come over to me and suggest I stand near my dog or even pick him up so he doesn’t get snatched up by a bird. I don’t think the birds are actually scoping him out, but now I go stand near him whenever they’re overhead just so no one will come tell me to.

Hilltop Dog Park Temple Terrace 3

Everyone at this dog park is super friendly and there are many people who remember Walnut’s name. People often stand around chatting. I usually sit on a far-off bench and read a book. That’s my preference, which is why I do it, but I also feel a little rude. Sometimes I have I-wish-I-were-an-extrovert moments at this dog park. The main reason I go there is to exercise my dog and relax, and for me, making small talk with people I don’t know is not at all relaxing, whereas sitting in the sun and reading a book is extremely relaxing. But this dog part does seem to be one of the few truly public spaces I’ve seen where strangers spontaneously interact with each other. Maybe going forward I will try to involve myself in conversation for at least 5-10 minutes before cloistering myself off to read.