A Park: Vanderyatch

By Leslie Parks - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

About two years ago I didn't even know this park existed.  I would drive past it on my way through town but really never had the occasion to go. Then Lona started piano lessons in town.  At first I used the time to run errands such as going to the grocery store.  Then I realized the gift I was given with her taking piano in town.  I had a half hour to 45 minutes to run.  I started dropping her off and running with the dog. It happened that I naturally headed toward the river so the dog could go for a swim.  Being large, dark, furry, he needed time to cool off on our runs.  That's how I "discovered" this dog park. Now I drive to the park just so I don't have to put him on a leash and he loves it. I bring a tennis ball and he runs.  There are ducks but he really doesn't pay them any attention, he's too busy running.  I am amazed at how much satisfaction I get just watching his shear joy of going for this kind of run.  He gets nervous around other dogs and gives them a wide berth preferring to chase his ball instead.  At one side of the park he insists on laying down in the muddiest spot and he comes out dripping brown rather than black.  The other side of the river is where he gets to "wash" off that mud by retrieving his ball from the water.  It's so funny when we get to river access spots.  He often stops and looks at me as if to say "Can I?".  If I say go ahead he barrels down the bank towards the water and lays down. If I say no then he runs along the trail to the next river access.  We usually stop each time we go around the park to play in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. How can I deny a lab/retriever mix the opportunity to play like that? 
The other day it was blazing hot for a spring day in the PNW so I decided to pack up our school and head to the river to work there. Lona brought her hammock, I brought the dog and we just sat by the river.  We each had things to work on and it was a perfect morning. Skagit just couldn't settle down.  He was constantly moving and sniffing and chasing his ball.  He was like a toddler who had missed his nap, constantly whining and running.  He even barked and growled for me to throw his ball.  When we finally went home he slept for about 6 hours straight. 

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