EppsNet Archive: Dog Park

One Last Goodbye

16 Apr 2017 /

We spread Lightning‘s ashes at Huntington Dog Beach this weekend. We didn’t make a big production of it — it’s probably illegal, for one thing — but we hiked out to the end of the rock pier and gave him back to the sea.

The Dog Beach and the Irvine Dog Park were the places he was at his best — off-leash and able to be his dominant alpha pug self.

For example, here’s a (blurry) photo of him assassinating a puggle who carelessly but intentionally blindsided him at the dog park:

Lightning at the dog park

Lightning wrote a poem he wanted us to read when we spread his ashes. I think he plagiarized it, to be honest . . . he wasn’t much of a poet but we loved him . . .

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Don’t Put a Sweater on a Pit Bull

2 Jan 2017 /

Police in Florida say a dog named Scarface attacked a family who tried to put a sweater on it.

Tampa police say the pit bull mix bit a 52-year-old woman who was trying to dress it Friday and her husband was attacked while trying to pull the dog off her. Police say the couple’s 22-year-old son was attacked while trying to stop the dog by stabbing it in the neck and head.

The three people escaped the house and left the dog in the backyard. They ended up in the hospital.

Italian greyhound

Woman attacked when she tries to put a sweater on the dog, husband attacked when he tries to pull the dog off his wife, son attacked while trying to stab the dog in the neck and head . . . meet your average, run-of-the-mill pit bull owners.

Folks, if you feel like you really must put a sweater on your dogs and you don’t want to end up in the hospital or the morgue, the dog of choice is the Italian greyhound. Those shivery little fuckers love to wear sweaters.

Visit any dog park in the fall or winter months and you’ll see IGs prancing about in sweaters, often hand-made by the owners. It is a match made in heaven.

My Dog Is a Genius

27 Jun 2016 /

This needs a little setup . . .

I used to take Lightning on weekend mornings to the Irvine Dog Park, then afterward to the Starbucks drive-thru, where I’d get a beverage and he’d get a pup cup (a cup of whipped cream).

He loves Starbucks. He used to get super animated from the time he saw we were turning left on Irvine Center Drive (toward Starbucks) to the time he actually got the pup cup at the drive-thru window.

He also knows the words “Starbucks” and “pup cup”:

He’s too old to enjoy the dog park now — he doesn’t walk well and he can’t see — so I walk to Starbucks myself on the weekends and bring the pup cups home for him.

Today I took him to the Starbucks drive-thru, just like old times, and he got super excited again when we got there, just like old times.

As I said, he can’t see, so he had no visual cues about where we were. I didn’t say the words “Starbucks” or “pup cup” to him, and he was excited long before he heard me place the order.

So how did he know?

My second-best guess is that the navigation to Starbucks is imprinted in his doggie memory. My best guess is that because the Starbucks drive-thru has a lot of foliage, it has a unique smell that he remembers.

Anyway, some non-visual cue or cues, but he was quite certain about where he was.

Dogs in San Francisco

7 Sep 2015 /
Dachshund and Golden Gate Bridge

If you’re a dog or a recently released felon, you are welcome in San Francisco. Not only are there lots of people walking in SF, there are lots of people walking with dogs. French Bulldogs, Huskies and Pomeranians seems to be especially popular.

Until he got too old to really enjoy it, I took Lightning to the Irvine dog park six days a week (it’s closed on Wednesdays) for years. I’ve spent a lot of time around dogs, so I’m better than most people at identifying dog breeds.

We were walking in San Francisco last weekend when my wife pointed and asked “What kind of dog is that?” Before I could say “It’s a Labradoodle,” our boy said “Labradoodle.”

I must have been visibly stunned because he then asked me “Were you going to say ‘Goldendoodle’?”

“No . . . you’re pretty good at identifying dogs now.” This is a totally new talent. When he left Irvine, I’m not sure he could tell a dog from a squirrel . . .

A Saddening Trip to the Vet

28 Apr 2014 /

Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.

— Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”

I’m picking up Lightning’s prescription at the vet . . . the new girl, Lauren, is at the desk.

I can hear a woman weeping loudly from back in the hospital area.

“That doesn’t sound good,” I say.

“A husky attacked her dog at the dog park,” Lauren says. “A little Yorkie. Broke its neck.”

“That’s awful.” I don’t even have the heart to ask her if she cut the pills on the lines.

Don’t Try to Be Funny at the Vet

30 Mar 2014 /
Veterinary Hospital Parking

(Photo credit: www.myparkingsign.com)

I’m picking up a prescription for Lightning at the vet . . . the new girl, Lauren, is at the desk.

“It’s a little different this time,” Lauren says. “We didn’t have the Prednisone 5mg, so we’re giving you Prednisone 10mg, and instead of giving him half a tablet, you’ll give him a quarter of a tablet. I already cut them.”

“Oh gosh, thanks! Did you cut them on the lines?” Lauren is new so she hasn’t heard this one yet.

“To the best of my ability.”

“That’s good. Lightning doesn’t like it when they’re not cut on the lines.”

She’s not getting the joke but that’s okay. I’ll help her out by taking it completely into the realm of the absurd.

“He feels like it doesn’t show attention to detail,” I say.

“I’ll make a note of that for next time.”

“Yes, you should do that. Go ahead and write it on his chart.”

Pet owners — I know this from spending a lot of time at dog parks — are likely to attribute all sorts of human thoughts and emotions to their animals, so I guess if you work in a veterinary clinic, you can’t assume that customers are joking just because what they’re saying is totally irrational . . .

At the Dog Park

24 Mar 2012 /

A pug (not mine) is humping a beagle . . .

“You could have puggles,” I suggest to one of the owners, “except they’re both boys.”

Pug Meetup

17 Jul 2011 /

There was a pug meetup at the Irvine dog park today. Here’s a picture of me with some of my pug friends.

Pug meetup

The funny thing is we didn’t even know there was a pug meetup. We just showed up and there it was!

It’s a lucky day for me! I’m going to buy a lotto ticket LOL!

R.I.P. Knut

22 Mar 2011 /
Knut the Polar Bear

It breaks my spirit to see a magnificent animal die in pain in front of all those people.

Folks, if you want to see a polar bear, go to the Arctic Circle. Animals aren’t happy in zoos.

I know you’re thinking, “But Lightning, you live in captivity and you’re happy.”

Even as a house pet, I have more freedom than a zoo animal. My owner takes me on frequent trips to the dog park, where I’m able to exercise my innate dominance of the canine kingdom.

I couldn’t live in an enclosure because I wouldn’t be able to be who I am.

— Lightning paw

A Tight-Assed Bunch

2 May 2010 /
Lightning at the Dog Park

There’s an Italian Greyhound meet-up at the Irvine dog park on Saturday mornings . . .

Italian Greyhound owners are a tight-assed bunch. They put sweaters on their dogs at the first sign of cool weather. They’re more likely than the average owner to refer to themselves as the “mommy” or “daddy” of their dog. They like to hold forth with non-IG owners on the finer points of the breed, as if anyone cared.

Yesterday the group was addressing the serious matter of whether the largest dog in attendance was a full Italian Greyhound or part whippet. The owner insisted that she has papers on the dog, but as everyone knows, whippets tend to weigh 25 pounds and up whereas IGs top out around 15 pounds, and since this dog was somewhere in-between, what was one to make of it?

“The puppy mills are making the IGs bigger,” a bearded gentleman said. “They keep the biggest males for breeding.”

“Do you think my dog is full IG?” I asked, pointing at Lightning.

“That’s a pug,” someone said.

“Gosh,” I exclaimed, “I really got taken for a ride.”

Nobody laughed. Italian Greyhound owners are a tight-assed bunch.

A Cat with an iPad

17 Apr 2010 /
Lightning Epps

I saw this video of a cat playing with an iPad. I love how the guy at the end says “You sure are a smart cat, buddy.”

LOL! That is a DOPEY cat! He’s as dopey as those dopey dogs that chase laser pointers at the dog park.

Is THAT all you have to do to be a smart cat? Bat at things that move or make noise?


— Lightning paw

Don’t Underestimate Me

30 Mar 2010 /

Now, each of us has his own special gift
And you know this was meant to be true,
And if you don’t underestimate me,
I won’t underestimate you.

— Bob Dylan, “Dear Landlord”
At the Dog Park

My owner and I took a walk tonight and we saw a woman we’ve seen many times before. She is about 40 years old in human years and a little bit chubby.

Tonight she was playing with a volleyball in front of her house with her kids and another girl. She was very good! She was bumping and setting with aplomb!

“I underestimated her,” my owner said. “She looks like a chubby housewife but she’s also a good volleyball player.”

That happens to me a lot too. As you can see in the photo, I’m not very big compared to some other dogs but I have the heart of a much larger animal.

— Lightning paw

Saturday Mornings at the Dog Park

19 Sep 2009 /

I love Saturday mornings! My owner takes me to the dog park, then we drive through Starbucks and I get a Pup Cup, which is a paper cup filled with whipped cream.

— Lightning paw

At the Dog Park

At the Dog Park

Happy Mothers Day!

10 May 2009 /
At the Park

Hi Mom! Happy Mothers Day! How are things in Iowa?

Here’s a recent picture of me at the dog park. You can see I have an underbite just like Dad. Some people tease me about it but I don’t care.

You would be so proud of me. I’m the alpha dog of my whole neighborhood!

People think that dogs don’t remember their families but of course I remember you and I always love you even though you’re far away.

Your son,

Lightning paw

The Starbucks Girl Will Be a Good Pug Owner

18 Apr 2009 /
Lightning at the Dog Park

My owner took me to the dog park this morning and then we went to the Starbucks drive-thru.

I like to stick my head out the window and say hi to the drive-thru people!

This morning, the drive-thru girl said, “Oh I want a pug so bad! Is it true that they snore?”

I don’t snore.

“Some do,” my owner said, “but this one doesn’t.”

“When I get my pug,” the girl said, “if she snores I’m going to love her snoring SO MUCH!”

That’s sweet. What a nice girl.

“She’ll be a lucky pug,” my owner said.

— Lightning paw

My Dog Reviews Marley and Me

26 Dec 2008 /
Marley and Me movie poster

I love movies about dogs! Wait — is Owen Wilson in that? I HATE Owen Wilson!

Whenever I meet a new bitch at the dog park, the first thing I ask her is “Do you think Owen Wilson is funny?”

And if she says yes, I am OUTTA there.

Rating: Two paws down.

— Lightning paw

My Dog Explains His Name

6 Aug 2007 /
Lightning on the bed

Sometimes when my owner takes me to the dog park, people ask him what my name is. When he says “Lightning,” they laugh, like it’s a joke, a bit of irony, like naming a Great Dane “Tiny.”

Look, people, I’m almost 4 years old now, but when I was a puppy, I was really fast — for a pug. That’s why my owners named me Lightning.

I’m still fast when I go full speed. I just don’t do it that much anymore.

Don’t underestimate the pug.

— Lightning paw

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Stupid People and Their Stupid Dogs

25 Feb 2007 /
Lightning on the sofa

A guy brought a laser pointer to the dog park tonight so his retarded dog could chase the beam around like a nitwit.

He tried to get my dog to chase it, but the dog just looked back at him to see where the beam was coming from, which is the intelligent thing to do in that situation.

“The pug doesn’t see it,” the guy said.

“He sees it,” I explained, “but pugs are too smart to chase light beams.”

“What does being smart have to do with it?” Laser Guy asked.

“Would you run around the park chasing after a laser beam?” I asked. “You wouldn’t. You know why? Because it’s stupid. You can’t catch it. Chasing after a ball or a frisbee makes sense. I’ve done that myself. But running around after a light beam is just moronic.”

I Get All the Holidays — And Then Some!

16 Jan 2007 /

Here’s how I spent the MLK holiday: My son went over to a friend’s house and I stayed home and read a book. When the boy came home, we threw a football around for a while, and then I took Lightning to the dog park, where he fended off an inappropriate advance from a giant black pit bull.

So all in all, a jam-packed day of doing nothing . . .

A friend of mine tells me he doesn’t get a day off for the King holiday. In fact, he doesn’t get another paid holiday until Memorial Day!

HA HA HA! I work for a company in the banking industry. If you work for a bank, you get all the holidays off! In fact, between now and Memorial Day, we get Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Groundhog Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Cinco de Mayo and spring break. Plus a floating holiday.

Oh, I almost forgot — National Safe Boating Week.


The Sheriff of the Dog Park

6 Nov 2006 /
Subduing an over-aggressive puggle

Hi everybody! That’s me, Lightning Epps, subduing an over-aggressive puggle at the Irvine dog park. I am like the sheriff of the dog park; I don’t start trouble but I don’t mind finishing it.

Last week, I was chasing a pug named Blossom around and having a great time when a male husky ran up and started harassing Blossom. These big dogs think they can get away with anything where pugs are concerned.

I snarled and charged at the husky. They never expect that. He got confused, ran straight into another husky and knocked it over.

Everyone laughed.

Then I went back to find Blossom and hump her but she wouldn’t let me. That’s gratitude for you . . .

— Lightning paw

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