When I got Luke, my half Border Collie half Australian Cattle Dog, I didn’t realize that I would be getting an entire community with him. Unlike me, an extreme introvert, Luke loves to socialize with dogs. And dogs, generally, come with owners. That means socializing is required on my part as well, which is something I’m not bad at, but something I don’t like to do often.
When Luke was a puppy, it was easy to steer him away from the dog park. I could avoid meeting the people who lived around me. However, when Luke got older, he was drawn to the distant parks and the smells in the air that came from the dog park. It wasn’t long until I found myself visiting the dog park once a day, every day.
Fast forward six months later to a new apartment in the same complex —one that is literally less than a hundred feet away from the dog park. Now, I’m visiting the dog park not just once a day, but no less than five times. I can safely say that I’ve met every dog and its owner in the entire apartment complex. When a dog approaches, I know the owner’s name. “Hey, there is Ranger with his human owner Katherine. And there’s Zeplin with Brandon and his brother Forest.” You get the point.
Long story short, fulfilling Luke’s desire to socialize with other dogs ended up fulfilling something in me. I don’t cringe anymore when I think about making conversation with fellow dog owners when I go the dog park. Instead, I look forward to it. You go enough times to a dog park with your dog, and the people you meet start to become less like strangers and more like friends.