Strangers at the dog park


Last August I adopted a puppy from the Fayette Regional Humane Society. She was an 8-week Labrador/Beagle mix that had somehow found her way to me. Now, she is just over 1 year of age.

I named her Shadow because the first day I got her she literally barked at her own shadow. The name is even more fitting now because she is usually by my side. Shadow is the most energetic and fun-loving dog in the world, to which demands a lot of attention.

We often go to the dog park in Christman Park, and it’s not too uncommon that Shadow finds a furball friend to play with. While there I bumped into a lady who lives in the area, but originally grew up in Massachusetts and Canada. I’ll call her Sue.

Sue had an 8-month Golden Retriever who was just as rambunctious as Shadow. So naturally, they chased and wrestled until they were blistering exhausted.

While the dogs played I got into some friendly conversation with Sue. She remarked how she had grew up in another area of the US, and had even lived and traveled in other areas of the States. Which made me think, “Well why is she living here?”

Sue’s husband was originally an Ohio native and they decided to relocate to this area. She told me now that she is here, she couldn’t imagine being any other place, and had thought that Washington Court House was a nice town.

Of course, if you’re a local, then that could be hard to fathom. We see a whole lot of people leave the community with no desire to come back. Or, we know people who’ve lived here for awhile, and feel a little bit “meh” towards the town.

I find myself in place of what Sue had been thinking. I think it is a nice town. It’s unique. And if you search for it, you’d find a whole lot of rich story in the heritage. Even more so than you could imagine.

It’s always a pleasure to learn what another person thinks. Especially if they’re not originally from the area. It’s even more pleasant to learn that there is a positive impression. It points, to me at least, to the fact that most of the negative interpretation comes from within. It’s really what we are saying amongst ourselves.

One thing that Sue did mention as odd is that hardly anyone is out and active. She talked about how there is a beautiful wooded area town along the bike path that now hosts a frisbee golf course, and that she’s always so surprised that it’s nearly empty.

What she was accustomed to in places she had lived were communities that embraced recreation and being outdoors. She cited Colorado, and how it was quite normal to play a pick-up game of softball, even if there was snow on the ground.

Of course, I think that would be an extremity for us! However, I do think we could be out and active more often and that it is as important as ever to do so.

I enjoy running or walking by another seemingly random acquaintance and giving a simple wave gesture. And for me, that’s all it’s ever about. The simplicity of seeing someone out and about for no reason or expectation other than to be out.

Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes columns for the Record-Herald.

By Trey Tompkins

Contributing Columnist

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