This was always the highlight of their day when it happened, which was only occasionally. They were only allowed at the play park when there was nobody else there; really they weren’t even allowed there then but nobody minded. It never really seemed fair to them, but that was the rule; so it was only if they happened to walk past the play park and Jackie happened to notice that nobody was there that they had their chance.
Today was one of those days; a beautiful sunny day and no one in the small, fenced in area where the play equipment was.
As soon as the gate was opened Jasper and Robbie bound up to the base ladder made out of old car tires bolted together and waited for permission. “OK” called Jackie and both dogs leapt together and started the climb. Once both dogs were at the top they turned, tails wagging furiously in eager anticipation, to wait for Jackie to arrive.
Minh stood regally at the bottom of the ladder and looked expectantly at Jackie; “Oh, all right” Hackie muttered as she bent to scoop Minh into her arms before she began the climb. Minh never had to do this climb, and she knew it; Jackie was always willing to carry her when Minh turned on her helpless look.
Once they all stood on the small landing at the top of the tire ladder, six small eager eyes, in three small eager faces looked up at Jackie excitedly; waiting impatiently for the single word that would set them free for the real excitement. “OK” said Jackie, with a short forward motion of her hand “Go on”. The two boys immediately launched themselves onto the slide for the short, exciting trip to the bottom; with practiced ease, each dog dug their toes in just before they shot off the bottom of the slide and sprang lightly off the slide and landed, tails still wagging.
Minh waited patiently until both boys had cleared the bottom before she stepped gracefully on to the shiny surface with her front paws; the dignity ended at that point as her back legs were unceremoniously dragged behind her as her front legs started their descent. Still she managed to maintain a dignified pose as she descended down the surface worn shiny by many a bum; while her journey down the slide was less frenetic than that of the boys, her dismount at the bottom was done with the same finesse.
While Jasper bounded back to the base of the ladder and looked hopefully for permission for another go, Robbie dashed off through a gap in the fence in search of birds to chase. As Jasper leapt onto the slide for his second turn, Minh stood at the bottom wagging her tail so hard it looked like it would fly off at any second.
Suddenly, Jackie whistled at a tune that they knew so well and the three heads jerked around, the eager anticipation shone from the faces of the three small dogs as they waited to obey her command. “Time to go; come on” brought instant motion; Jasper and Minh bolted for the open gate while Robbie skirted the fence to await eagerly outside the gate to be reunited with his family. Once they were outside the play park all the dogs crowded around Jackie’s legs until once again they heard that magic word; a sudden “OK” released them from the invisible threads that bound them and set them bounding off across the Park in search of their next adventure.
One more adventure in a life that is an ongoing adventure.