Boyle's Brains

The Spookiest Things to Do in a Dog Park

By Megan Boyle

- Bring a Ziploc baggie of ground beef instead of a dog. Start to remove its leash. Look tentatively around the park. If someone catches you doing this, direct piercing, relentless eye contact at them while slowly refastening the leash on your beef.

- Select a dog to never be more than four feet away from. Follow it closer. Trot alongside it. Try to touch it. Chase it. Try to touch it again. If the owner asks you to stop, insist that there are laws against bringing dogs in heat into public spaces. If the owner says the dog is spayed, say you know they’re lying because “the scent is unmistakable.” Smell the owner and shake your head disapprovingly. Walk away backwards, quoting something in Latin.

- Dig a hole in the center of the park until you are asked to leave.

- Fake a phone conversation where you brag in a mostly unwavering voice about how you “can kick any dog’s ass,” are “always ready for a fight,” and “always leave the park with more than I came in with, if you know what I’m saying.”

- Hide 12 security cameras and aim them at the same bench. Install a motion sensor under the bench that, when activated, will detect the sitting person’s cell phone number and turn on the cameras. The person will receive their first text message photo of themselves on the bench 15 seconds after they sit. Photos of themselves from slightly different angles will be sent to their phone in staggered intervals for the rest of the day. Exactly six months later they will receive the same sequence of photos, ending with the text “Happy Anniversary.”

- Open a blood bank. Although this can be done alone, group situations are ideal, so one person can be “the bank” while others silently request donations by staring inappropriately at dogs entering the park.

- Haunt your blood bank.

- Distribute uneven scraps of paper that say “New Friend Coupon: Good for One Free Foot Massage and Spa Night at My House! Bring Your Own Dog! B.Y.O.D.! Ha ha! Oops, I mean, ‘arf arf!’”

- Wear yellow rubber gloves.

- Watch your dog play with other dogs. Smile at an attractive stranger. Respond to a text message. Check your email. There is one new message from a vaguely familiar email address. Open it. The words seem unreadable for some reason. Pick at what appears to be a new crack on your phone-screen. Watch the crack grow. It looks like it’s growing from the email. Rips and cracks obscure the words of the email. Push your finger through a rip and quickly retract it. Turn off your phone. Look to the park, where there are no longer other people or dogs, only copies of your dog. There are so many copies you can no longer see the grass or horizon. All the dogs are staring at you with their mouths closed. The only sound is their collective breathing.

- Wear a dark red bathrobe and stand with your back against the park gate. Fixate your eyes on a single point, constantly shake your head “no,” and experiment with saying “no” at different volumes.

- Enter the park on a sled pulled by nine Siberian Huskies and one nude male human with extremely sad eyes.

- Walk to the park carrying a heavy-seeming black bag close to your chest. Sit cross-legged on the ground near an unoccupied bench. Rock back and forth. Clutch your bag. Sweat a lot. Periodically burst into strange, forced bouts of laughter and say things like “I’m a real dog person, I love dogs, must love dogs, right? I mean dogs, right? Am I right?” aloud to no one. 

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