It’s a parade, every day from dawn to dusk,
dogs, dogs, dogs, and of course humans who think they are in control.
A man carries his dog in a chest pouch like a parent snuggling a small child,
or a woman pushing her dog in a stroller much smaller than one for a baby.
Jogging or walking, on leash or off, it’s usually one person with one dog.
No costumes or marching in this parade, but rather pride.
A familiar whistle or name brings the dog and owner together.
Conversations, while varied, often center on the dogs:
“Is your dog an Australian Shepherd?” or “How old is your dog?”
“We had one just like yours several years ago,”
“Can I take a photo of your dog?”
Like the one of Greg Liotta and Jon Snow, a mix of boxer and something else.
Or Mike McKinley and Carter, Daisy, and Hazel.
And if you’re lucky, the dogs will perform: chasing one another in a game of catch me if you can.
Most dogs play this game, even Chloe, a three-legged white mix seen with her family, Anna Francis, Esme, and Carys Jane.
And then there’s the usual yellow tennis ball bouncing ahead of the owner
with a racing dog not far behind.
The performances sometimes surprise:
like these dogs up on hind legs each reaching for the other
trying to determine who will lead in this dog park waltz.
There are more than 340 dog breeds in the world;
being somewhat stuffy, the American Kennel Club only acknowledges 192 breeds.
Not in these parades.
While humans may take exception, the dogs don’t see one breed or another;
How another dog smells is more important.
Not unusual for a human to be parading with two or three dogs;
And yes, you’ll see a human with five.
And then there’s Holly McCarthy with thirteen dogs:
Hoot, Hannah, Zero, Morgan, Tango, Cash, Izzy, Freddie, Maggie, Abbie, Piglet,
And the two in the tree: Sofie and Stanley.
All rescues, all mixed breed, as much as she knows.
Keeping the familiar Statue of Liberty in mind, imagine a Statue of Canine reading:
“Americans need dogs to love, Americans need to be loved by dogs,
Bring us your large, and your small, and your in-between,
Bring us the long hair, and the short hair. Each will be given a name.
Each will be excited when we come home.”
A shout out to Austin Pets Alive and all organizations working for pets.
In memory of Belle, who is greatly missed by her family.
Dog Statue of Liberty by Julius Correa.
Pease Park Conservancy celebrates the diverse ecology and history that make Austin’s first public park valuable and unique. The Conservancy works to restore, enhance and maintain this 84-acre public green space for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all.