Ruff, it’s nice to meet you

Aafreen Mahmood

Sometimes it’s just good to socialize with our community

A few years ago, I used to walk Milo to Jollyman Park every summer evening at 6 p.m. Why 6 p.m.? Because that’s when all the dog owners brought their dogs to the baseball field, unleashed them, and chatted with one another.

Once a typical evening at Jollyman ParkIt started off with my puppy and a woman, Mary, who had a hybrid puppy and a ten-year-old Collie. We happened to see each other at the same time everyday, and eventually we began to meet each other everyday. My family watched the puppies grow up together and Mary watched my sister and I “grow up”.

Soon, we met more dog owners and invited them to join us at 6 p.m. The group began to grow and grow, sometimes with more than 20 people showing up in one evening. Though many of them were adults, I felt a connection with them because I saw them every single evening. From time to time, little kids and non-dog-owners would visit or to just to hang out with the dogs and people. Sometimes we would set a day for a potluck at the park to celebrate all the dogs born in that month. My family became good friends with Mary and often, my sister and I would go to her house, where she taught us how to do mosaic artworkto hang out and let the dogs play until they run out of energy.

At the park, there would be people sitting, standing, or running after their dogs. The dogs are scattered all over the field, and there is only one way to get them all together: giving them treats. When someone reaches into their pocket, the dogs stop whatever they are doing, listen, and when they hear the plastic bag crinkle in that pocket, they immediately start running towards the treat person. It’s a real treat to see 15 some dogs sitting obediently in a half circle with their tongues hanging out. Some of them even begin to drool. Their way of saying thanks? Slobbering all over your hand.

As sophomore year rolled in, I found myself neglecting the dog group and Milo because I was too busy studying. My mom ended up walking Milo everyday and updating me about our dog friends. And now with the dog off-leash controversy in Cupertino and the police patrolling around the park, the dog group no longer exists. My mom tells me that it’s rare to see everyone together again. And when she does see someone, it’s certain new people, people I don’t know.

I miss going to the park every summer evening and seeing everyone and all the dogs. It’s not everyday that I get an opportunity to meet new people and relax, so I encourage everyone to devote some time to something as extraordinary as meeting new people and hold on to it. Set studying aside for an hour or so, and just socialize, even if it’s with friends.