Bushington’s Dog Park

Submitted for Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about activism.... view prompt

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    The stench’s still gone.   Hallelujah!  But, this week, our family’s having other problems.  See, my family used to take me once a week (well, me and a family member) to the dog park.   Now, in a dog park, smells are everywhere.  Smells of other dogs, smells of trees, humans, squirrels, raccoons, deer, insects, and other animals.  But, someone called, the Mayor, is shutting the dog park down because, “Texas (or taxes) should be spent in better ways.”  All I know is I miss smelling my friends at the dog park.  After all, I am a dog.  

     So, my family decides to apply for paw mitts (Why would I need mitts?) to walk on a sidewalk outside Mayor’s office. We have a big house, but it doesn’t have a lot of smells.   The bed and blanket sometimes smells different, but everything else smells like rose flowers, because of the maids.  They spray a can of breeze from a place called Fa: Fa breeze.  After they spray that, almost everything smells the same.  


*

    It’s Tuesday (Dog Park Day), so I go to the door, wag my tail, Sean takes me out, I pull on the leash, and I pull him to the car.  Sean sighs and reminds me the dog park is still closed.  It’s closed.  But I want to run around collar free and smell other dog’s hinnys.  But, Sean decides to walk me around the block and I smell an old oak tree at the corner.  The tree’s surrounded by red cedar sticks and I like smelling those, but it’s not the same as the Dog Park.  I mark my territory and Sean walks me back to the house.  I pull him in the direction of going around the block again, but he says he has homework to do.  Maybe later.  Maybe. 


*

    After a few weeks of being cooped up, Daddy goes to the mail box and gets a letter from Mayor’s office.  Daddy opens it and says the permit to picket outside Mayor’s office has been approved.  Everyone’s happy about that.  I’m not so sure.  A permit means purring and purring means cats and I hate cats. 

      So, next day, they have a family discussion (everyone sits around the mahogany table in the dining room to discuss a family topic) about how to organize the protest, how to advertise the protest, what newspapers, news casters, radio stations to call, setting up a website, etc.  They come up with a plan that has steps.  

    So, step one is Daddy drives me to a craft store.  The workers don’t seem to mind me and some even pet me.  I look around and smell bass wood, carnations, permanent marker, and hundreds of other smells, but it’s still not the dog park. But, after five minutes of talking to a sales rep, Daddy gets 20 blank white  posters, 20 long wooden sticks, a staple gun, staples, and five black permanent marker cases.  He says it cost him about fifty bucks, but Daddy says I’m worth it.  We get back in the car and drive home.

The family unloads the car, goes down to the basement with bags from the craft store, and start their work.  Mommy takes the permanent markers out of the packages and passes them around.  Roberta takes one, Mommy takes one, Sean takes one, and everyone gets one, except me.   I wish I could help, too, but don’t have thumbs.  But, they write things on the posters like, “Our Dogs Matter” “Dog Parks Never Hurt Anyone” “We Fight For Fido,” “Paw Prints Never Pollute,” and other slogans.  Daddy then takes the gray staple gun and staples each poster to a board.  

     Then, Bob takes his iPhone, puts it in my face, but I smell something cooking.  It smells like bacon, so I try to walk away, but Bob moves me back and tells me to sit, so I sit. But, the flash goes off on his phone and I squint.  Bob and I continue this until he’s happy with his photo, then he lets me go smell for bacon, which smells like it’s coming from our neighbor.  

     Daddy goes out, but leaves me home this time.  He goes to something called a print shop.   Bob, Sean, And Roberta take me upstairs, and I have my lunch (Royal Canine Dog Food) and they have theirs (cheeseburgers, fries, and sodas. Wish I was eating that)   But, in half an hour, Daddy comes home with thousands of papers with a picture of me on it and words I can’t read, but Roberta says, “Nice.   ‘Rally to support keeping our local dog park open.   This Saturday from 9 am - 5 pm.  Call 412-363-3456 for details’” and I’m on the poster.  

*

     Saturday comes and my family takes two cars.   I go with Daddy, Sean, and Roberta.   Then, everyone gets out of the cars and Daddy takes the signs out of the trunk.   Each family member takes a sign.   About fifteen other people come throughout the morning, and each person takes a sign.  Then, everyone just walks back and forth on the sidewalk.  Daddy has me on a leash, but he won’t let me smell the grass.  

     At noon, everyone in my family takes a half-hour lunch break and goes to a drive-through.   I get a kiddie burger and I’m happy.   Then, we go back to Mayor’s office and keep marching back and forth.   People with big black machines (called video cameras) go by and ask my family questions like, “Why is this so important?”

      Then, something weird happens.   Men and women in blue uniforms which Mommy calls “the cops” come out and they have dogs with vests.  Yea!   Other dogs!   I pull on my leash and Daddy says, “No, Bushington!!   No!” But Daddy loses hold of my leash and I go to a dog by a woman in a blue uniform.   The policewoman holds her dog tight, so I sniff the dog’s behind (she’s a female dog), she sniffs mine, and we start playing with each other.   The policewoman looks puzzled, but decides (after a moment’s hesitation) to let her dog go.   Within half an hour, all us dogs are playing and having a great time.  

     We went home that night and Daddy turned on the TV.  On the news, it showed us dogs playing.   

     Next week, the mayor decided to keep the park open and to allow police dogs and military dogs some relaxation and rest time, and everyone’s tails were wagging, even my family’s.  


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