Monday, August 15, 2011
PARKS & REC: The Next Generation
So how do we support this lifestyle change within our communities' infrastructure?
Along the same lines as the "Dream Animal Shelter of the Future" ...
I envision "Frisky Fitness" public recreation centers and "Pack Parks"!
We presently have DOG PARKS, where dogs get to run and socialize and play. But while they're running and playing, their human guardians are standing, chatting, being reserved as "grown ups should be" in social situations (right?). Then we have HUMAN RECREATION CENTERS, where we humans go to bring out our "inner animal". We pump iron and swim laps and run on treadmills and sweat and jump around; and leave our under-exercised dogs at home to sleep, or rip up furniture or dig holes with all of their pent up energy.
WHY DON'T WE TAKE THE DOG PARK AND THE REC CENTER, AND COMBINE THE TWO?
I envision these active, social community spaces, that are fun FUN FOR THE ANIMAL IN EVERYONE. Places where grown ups can run around and drain their own pent up energy, right alongside their dogs (and families, kids and friends), after a long day of cubicle-sitting. Where biking and blading trails, running, walking and hiking trails, swimming pools, water falls and fountains, mud pits, agility courses (and so much more), are SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED for dogs and their humans to enjoy together. They are designed to ENABLE AND ENCOURAGE a person's pack leadership skills, and a dog's inherent drive to WORK AND MOVE! Eventually, the positive mentality created as the result of parks like these, will replace that which defines exercise as punishment. Rather than dragging ourselves to "the gym", motivated only by self-deprication and calorie counting, we will think (and say to our canine fitness partners), "Let's go play, and get fresh air, and be healthy, and see our friends, and enjoy this beautiful day."
Ultimately, we have the opportunity to stop the self-destructive habits that are literally killing our society as a whole. But these are individual humans' problems first, which then become our dogs' problems; and then become severe damage to the collective community. But with projected new "realities" like this one, we can tackle obesity, depression, anxiety, stress, and all of the other resulting illnesses and addictions born of INACTIVITY. Most importantly, people need to know, by FEELING IT THEMSELVES - that life is meant to be fun. And our human hearts - like those of our dogs - are meant to be filled with passion for simply BEING ALIVE. BEING ANIMAL. And BEING FREE.