We bring our beagle to the dog park frequently. It is great socialization for the canines and offers lessons for us, too.
The dogs, sometimes 15 or 16 at once, are of every breed, size, gender and personality. They rush to welcome each newcomer and "interview" the furry friend by smell, touch and circling. Their owners are diverse, too, in age, size, gender and ethnicity, and always courteous. We admire each others' pets and inquire about their names, age and health.
At first, we were concerned that our beagle would be overwhelmed by the Great Danes, Golden Retrievers and other large breeds that come into the park. And how would she treat some of the smaller pups? Our fears were needless. They run, chase balls, catch Frisbees, lap water out of a common bowl, follow their owners on a walk around the huge field, and make up rough-and-tumble games which always end with the players stopping on their own and "smiling" at each other.
We should all learn to welcome newcomers graciously, invite them into our activities, share our resources, have our arguments and then make up. We'd have a lot better world.
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Francine M. Farber