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GUEST COLUMN: Tails from the Dog Park

Lesleigh Turner I just moved back to Sarnia after a hiatus of about 30 years.

Lesleigh Turner

I just moved back to Sarnia after a hiatus of about 30 years. Oh, I would visit once in a while, my mom still lives here as did my sister and my beautiful niece O, but I never dreamed that it was in the cards for me to return permanently. Life is what happens when we are busy making plans, or something like that.

The exploration of Sarnia as it is now, had begun.

“That was where I went to kindergarten,” I pointed out Errol Road School to O.

Mmmm, she replied, not demonstrating the attention such a fact deserved.

This is the street I was born on. I slow down and point out Grove Avenue. O scarcely takes the time to glance up from her book.

This was my school from Grade 1 to 4, Oakwood Public. We had no gymnasium so in the winter we put mats in the hall. But this is childhood memory, sometimes as my mom would point out, rather suspect.

O laughs.

One of my favourite new discoveries is the Blackwell Dog Park. We have two little dogs that like to run with the big guys so we fit right in, or so I like to believe. Some of the most interesting and chatty people from Sarnia frequent the park with their canine companions. We check it out weekly and always meet someone new, be they four-legged or two.

Today, someone had kindly or absentmindedly left a dog Frisbee behind. This was a magnet for O who loves throwing anything for dogs that participate with enthusiasm.

L and S look up to check if the item in your hand is edible. If they ascertain that it’s not they flatly refuse to participate in the fetching ritual … seems silly, a waste of time, what is the point?

The big dogs beg to differ.

“The point, my friends, is fun, fun, fun. Tug of war, bounce and catch, launch yourself through the air and snap … damn … almost. Taunt the little girl.

At one point, the myriad of techniques a retriever came up with to protect the Frisbee from his rival - a golden Sharpei-bumbersnatch - was so astonishing in it’s breadth that a crowd formed.

It ended only when the retriever decided to celebrate by immersing himself very deliberately and luxuriously into the only mud puddle in sight.

“OHHHHHHHH,” the crowd sighed and laughed.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the dogs were wrestling and running and playing.

All seemed right in the world.

Lesleigh Turner is a 50-something woman, guardian, registered nurse, director and actor. Living in Sarnia is her latest adventure.