Monday, August 24, 2009

Princess Dog Walker

I live between two cities.  Between two coasts.  And I am really trying hard to see the light in each city, and appreciate their differences and qualities, rather than wish I were in the other while I was in one.

 I bring my dogs with me everywhere I go, and if there is one big difference between New York and Vancouver, it’s what you can do with your dogs.

 The boys love New York.  What dog wouldn’t?  The streets of Brooklyn are lined with innumerable smelly ‘treats’ putting this concrete jungle on the map of doggie wonders.  On our walk the other day, Mr. Mop ate a soggy napkin (the whole thing, I looked down and there he was, strutting and munching away), a chicken bone (of course, these are everywhere, I am now adept at wrestling them out of his clenched jaws), a wet nap (what soggy napkin meal isn’t complete without a wet nap?), and an unidentifiable object I would rather not think about.

 The hard part about New York – obvious chicken bone dodging aside – is that we aren’t super close to a big park.  And the parks here are only off-leash before 9 am and after 9 pm.  It’s a fair walk to the park, so by the time we walk there, the boys are too tired to wrestle the other dogs.  I could take the subway, but it’s too hard holding both of them as they FREAK out over the loud noise that is the F train.  And I don’t have a car.

 Which is what gives Vancouver a nice A++.  I have a car, and off-leash parks are in abundance (both walking distance and driving), and there are no ‘hour limitations’ to letting the hounds off-leash. 

 I love off-leash.  I just love unclipping their leashes and that moment of freedom when they motor as fast as their little legs will let them.  Brooklyn is especially cute because he is so little it sort of looks like a bunny mixed with a galloping mouse.

 But here is where I have a hard time mixing New York and Vancouver:  the clothing.  New York is, well, New York.  I fit right in this summer with my selection of dresses.  Vancouver is a much more casual affair.  Where you can wear yoga clothes all day long, and to the opera if you so choose.

So what happens when I walk my dogs in a Vancouver park in New York clothes?  Princess Dog Walker.

 I especially love going to Lighthouse Park.  Even if the parking lot is full, you rarely run into people on the trails (something that never happens in NYC where the population is roughly equivalent to that of BC).  I go often.  And usually I am in my runners, yoga pants and puffy vest.  But this last time, I happened to be in a sundress and flip-flops.

I was ridiculous.

It’s ridiculous enough that everyone who walks at this park have big dogs, like Labs, Retrievers, and Border Collies.  I show up with a 9LB Yorkie and Mr. Mop. 

 So there we are, wandering through BC’s rainforest coast, minding our own business, when the worst thing happens:  we get lost.  I thought I was following a path, but low and behold, the path was suddenly gone.  I let Mr. Mop lead me (big pack leader mistake) hoping he can sniff out the trail.  And by the way he was strutting, I felt like he knew where he was going. 

 But he didn’t.

 Brooklyn was trying his best to hop over logs and I was traipsing through a forest wearing flip flops, a little sundress and holding my iPhone above my head trying to get a signal.  Mr. Mop turned back and looked at me hopefully. 

 Finally, we break out of the overgrowth back to the main path.  I literally have cobwebs stuck to me and bugs all over my hair.  Of course, this would be the perfect time to meet up with one of those people that we never see in the park.  And we do.  What did those two rugged hikers think of the girl who flew out of the trees, in a pink dress, yanking bugs out of her blonde hair with her two tiny dogs? 

 I looked like an idiot.  Like a Princess dog walker.  They looked at me with raised eyebrows.  Well, whatever, if I can hike in flip-flops through a forest, clearly I am tougher than I look.

 This doesn’t happen in New York.  Then again, Lululemon is brand new here.  Give it time.

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