ginetteYou wanted to meet Ginette at Grand Park between our homes, somewhere green in the middle of Los Angeles, which is otherwise asphalt, concrete and neon. So we drove there, next to many tall buildings, surrounded by noisy trucks, sirens blasting in my sensitive ears, and people scurrying about. You drove around for a long time for a place to park. Finally, you pulled into a ramp that charged 18 dollars. That would buy a lot of treats, but we were ready to be out of the car. There was Ginette waving to us.  I liked her immediately.

She held my leash and watched over me while you went to the Ladies Room in a restaurant. When you came out you gave me a treat. So far it was worth the ride.

We pranced right down the middle of the park, through one section of sidewalk, into another, and then another. That was fun, but there was nowhere private to lift my leg or squat. I guess parks in Los Angeles don’t have many trees or good sniffs like I have back in Minneapolis.

You felt something on your forehead and thought it was raining so we hurried up to find a covered spot. Ginette noticed you had a big brown blob on your face. She announced it was lucky bird shit and wiped the good luck off your forehead with a plastic bag. We came back out of the cover into the sunshine. Ginette has wonderful ideas and is a woman of action.

Some people were lying down right on the sidewalk sleeping. We didn’t make friends with them.  Lots of children were throwing water bottles in the air or playing ball in tight green spaces. It was hard to stay with you when I wanted to play on the grass. You drew me close to your side so I couldn’t chase them.

We found a pink table to sit at while Ginette read her story while you listened and said a few things every once in a while, like, “Maybe you could use a different word there.” I’m glad I can say everything I need to say with my eyes and my mouth. You listened and you ate a salad that didn’t smell good to me—quinoa, beans, lettuce. So I stayed under the table and just listened.

Ginette walked us back to the parking ramp, where you hugged and kissed her like you do to me sometimes, except you don’t pat her on the top of her head.

After we drove back to our house, you took me for a real walk with real trees. I was relieved to be able to lift my leg all around the whole tree. I make a lot of sacrifices for you.

Oliver’s advice: Next time you go to a park, find one with more trees.

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