Toronto woman willing to break into dog park clique by any means necessary
TORONTO, ON—When Hannah Sims first brought home her new pug puppy, Lunchbox, she couldn't wait to take her furry new pal to the local dog park just up the block from her condo.
Sims, however, was in for quite a shock when she realized being accepted into the established dog park crew wasn't going to be as simple as she thought, especially since she made a crucial error during her first visit.
"I was giving Lunchbox a treat, because she took a dump outside instead of on my kitchen floor for the first time, when another little dog waddled up. I offered the little guy a treat too and before I knew what was happening a man came running and screaming across the park," Sims recalls.
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It turned out that screaming man was actually the father of Bananas, the alpha Dachshund dog and honourary mayor of the whole dog park pack. Unfortunately for Sims, Bananas only consumes raw meat from an organic New Zealand cattle ranch, and Bananas' dad was not pleased at Sims' offering. Even worse, during the commotion, Lunchbox wandered off and tried to engage Lady Jones, an elderly poodle being kept alive via oxygen tank, in a game of "hump and fetch" but only ended up becoming entangled in the tubing.
Sims avoided the park for months after that ordeal but became determined to try again after learning from Lunchbox's doggie daycare instructor that she was having trouble making many pup friends at dog school too.
After meeting with Bananas' dad and the rest of the pack, Sims and Lunchbox were granted temporary acceptance into the crew if, and only if, they were able to complete a series of challenges to prove their worth.
First, Lunchbox had to beat out the other dogs in Flip Bowl, a popular water chugging contest, using only his left paw to flip. "What the pack failed to realize is that Lunchbox slurps down full bowls of toilet water on the regular, so it was no real challenge," Sims shared.
Sims then had her own confidence tested when she was tasked with prank calling the local vet's office, designing and building a 20x20 foot dog parade float for the pack's annual "Dogsmas" party, and finally being forced to stand outside the local humane society wearing a sandwich board sign admitting she purchased Lunchbox from a kennel.
Sims admits the hazing rituals put some strain on her. "Was the process humiliating, emotionally draining, and inordinately expensive? Yes. But it's all worth it now that I know I can go to the park after work and watch Lunchie take turns playing hump-and-tug to her heart's content."
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