Saturday, August 4, 2007

Authentic Community # 2

Community #2

The second community that we are a part of is the Markham Park Dog Park Crew.

We got Memphis, our Bluetick Coonhound, a little over two years ago. We almost immediately began taking her to the dog park at least once a week. For six months, we were taking her into the "small dog park", until she graduated in size to the "big dog" park - separated by a fence.

From day one, we noticed something unusual about this park. People talked to each other. Having lived in South Florida for 7 years, this was unheard of for us. South Floridians are, for the most part, very anti-social. They keep to themselves, don't say hello/wave hello/honk hello/etc. They hide in their homes, and rarely speak to anyone, including their own immediate neighbors. For the first time, we found ourselves in constant conversation with complete strangers. There was only one problem: most of the conversation was dominated by talk of dogs. As a matter of fact, it seemed that everyone knew each other by their dog's name rather than the person's name. Example, "That's Memphis' mom and dad." Now obviously, there are exceptions to this rule, but at first glance, we definitely thought that it was the rule of thumb at the dog park: It is a Dog's World.
As we've spent time there, we've discovered that there are some people who actually go to the dog park almost every day. These are the people that eventually broke down our stereotype of the typical dog park encounter. They are a tight-knit community consisting of about a dozen people (about the same size as both of our two other communities). They spend plenty of time together outside of the park also, going out to eat, traveling together, going to the beach, movies, each other's homes, etc. This group is surprisingly dependant upon each other for relational support. It's interesting how someone can live directly across from a dog park and not realize the treasure trove of relational activity taking place within.

Let me tell you why this group is dear to us - because my wife and I only go to the dog park once or twice a week, but this group treats us as if we were there every day. If you're looking to meet some really great people, just go to Markham Park and look for the congregation of 2 great danes, 2 Rhodesian ridge backs, and 3 irish setters (you can't miss them).

Our common denominator is our love of dogs and our knowledge of a great place to meet other people in an authentic community, namely the dog park itself.


Revolutionite said...

Kurt and I go there so infrequently yet when we dropped in with Shiloh (Uther had to stay home, owie foot) a few days ago we were treated to the same warm welcome. Good people.
Love the photo you chose to use :)

Candlelight Girl said...

HA! That last photo is just wrong...

revolution said...

what can i say, the dogs at the park are even friendlier than the people!

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