We are very much a family of explorers; too often, though, mental exploring wins out (fantasy books, graphic novels, and piles of scrap-paper sketches sprawl everywhere) and S. tries but fails to get us all out for a Sunday walk. So for Father's Day, we made sure to visit one of our favorite parks, without any cajoling necessary.
It never fails once we all set aside our other activities and actually get outside that we're thrilled to kick off our shoes under the open sky. We've raised a family of little nature observers, and this trip we were particularly enjoying a whole colony of crawdads camouflaged in the bottom of the pond.
We also delighted in the sight of a dog happily paddling around in the deepest pool. There actually was a trio of pooches there, and they seemed very friendly (though also very wet and dirty from their swim). On our return walk towards our car they were lounging on the grass and wanted to be petted, so we tried to ask the couple on the picnic blanket that had been nearby the whole time if our kids could say hello to their dogs.
They didn't really answer, though after we persisted (our girls were already petting away, but it was the principle of the thing), they made some noncommittal response. But just a minute or so later, they packed up their stuff and started walking out of the park -- no backward glance at the dogs, who didn't follow them. In fact, we finally realized, they were NOT the dogs' owners, which explained a bunch in terms of our interaction...
After a happy interlude getting slapped by very big, wet tails, we reluctantly went our way home as well, wondering about the dogs. There was hardly anyone at the park that day, certainly no one near the animals, and we worried a little. But they were clearly well-socialized and well-fed dogs, so we knew they couldn't be strays, and tried to have faith that the little mystery would resolve itself in the end.
Thank goodness, we didn't have to worry long; as we were in the parking lot, another nice couple pulled up and asked if we had seen some dogs. There is only one private house right near the park, and they belonged there (that had, in fact, been one of our hopeful theories); I guess they snuck out for an afternoon swim.
Certainly, an enjoyable Father's Day for all!