4. Changes

Dear Boomer,

This has been the best summer ever – although the humanoids just don’t seem to appreciate it.

Cool mornings. Rainy afternoons. Lots of mud to splash in. And on top of it all, new space and constant activity.

My Alpha took the Lump and me to watch the crews tear down the old link fence of the municipal lot. A few days later, we watched the backhoe tear down the house and dig up the parking lot. Then another crew came to cut away the scrub, while a tractor flattened the earth. A few days later, new trees. It was wonderful. Today you’d hardly know that there had once been a city maintenance yard there.

I’m going to miss the scrub, however. It was always a place where the humanoids did not want to follow us – our own leafy club house on the shadowy and aromatic fringes of the park. Gone now. There goes the neighbourhood.

There’s fewer and fewer places these days to bury a bone, find a lost ball, or leave a deposit to let the rest of the gang know you’re hale and hearty.  She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed seems to approve, though. When she takes me for a walk at night, she’s much more at ease walking along the open space, with the moonlight and the streetlight shining through where there were once dark shadows.

But in this dog’s life, it’s one step forward and one step back – and hope you get a reward if you do it right. We have won some valuable territory near the street, but we’re losing ground in the play area. New play structures. New limits.

During the summer months, Alpha gets much more fussy about the limits. He won’t let me go near the kids’ structures or go say hello to the Lump and his friends when they play on the toddler swings. This is hard enough to take without the playground expanding its territory this summer. What was once a no man’s land, where both the kong and baseball could fly free and equal, has not been turned over to the swings. Swings say they have no territorial ambitions in Poland or the baseball field, but I don’t trust them. We managed to push them back into the corner between the trees and the tennis court, but I know they’re greedy for more space.

And in the meantime, the Lump has a whole new, bright yellow, plastic play structure to clamber over, although it doesn’t seem to matter much. The Lump is growing into a sensible humanoid. He seems happiest when there’s just a pile of sand to build up and scrunch down, and pays scant attention to the quality of the adjoining play structure. If there’s things to climb up, and other things to slide down, so much the better. But a good pile of sand is all that’s required.

What are they going to do with the old wood and rubber-tire play structure? I think fair is fair. They should turn it over to us. Let us chew on the tires. Let us chase balls down the slide. Let us clamber up the steps and cross the swinging bridge.

Why should just the aristocratic dogs, like Star and Blanche and Prance, have access to facilities for special dog games? Why not something for us poor, deprived inner city pooches?  (All right, I know I’ve been out to the cottage and can’t plead poverty, but that’s another point entirely.) I say we move in, take over the wooden play structure, and make it our own. If enough of us pooled our strength, maybe we could drag it over to the new field.

Today the wooden play structure. Tomorrow the park!

Yours in the struggle,