Saturday morning in the dog park is sort of like Saturday morning at the playground – the parents get together, sip coffee and talk about the antics of their kids. Being a new dog owner, I didn’t realize that my first name was irrelevant; I was “Jasmine’s Mom.”
When I was growing up, our pit mix had a good solid dog name – Chipper. Our neighbors to the left had a beagle named Buster and the neighbors to the right had a poodle named Fluffy. On my first foggy fall Saturday with the coffee klatch at the dog park, I joined a circle or women and men, old and young, gay and straight, coupled and single, and their wide array of dogs. “She’s beautiful,” the gentleman with the miniature pinscher named Alex said. “What’s her name?”
“Jasmine Blue,” I told him.
The group collectively sighed. “What a nice name,” a blonde-haired woman said, and pointed to her yellow lab. “This is Jenny.”
We went around the circle introducing our dogs (but oddly not ourselves). There was an Airdale named Larry, a Jack Russell terrier named Skye, a cocker spaniel named Ashley, and a giant schnauzer named Ira. I soon realized that in this dog-obsessed city, where dogs outnumber kids and kids for many are their dogs, Fido, Rover and Spot are nowhere to be found.
As we chatted, Larry, Skye, Ashley, Jenny and Ira sniffed the new kid’s butt and the new kid stood still, if a bit stiff and uncomfortable, like it was her first day of puppygarten. The gang wagged their tails (or their stubs in some cases), but Jasmine wasn’t particularly interested in any of them because she already had a crush: a little gray schnauzer named Josh.
Because he was a little older and wiser, Josh played hard to get, prancing around the park, lifting his leg on every bush and tree. Jasmine, who outweighed him by at least 20 pounds and was tall and awkward compared to his compact schnauzer stature, followed close behind, sniffing and flirting. First she did the “play pose” – front legs on the ground, butt in the air. Then she got a serious case of the “zoomies” – she randomly took off running at full speed, up and down the hills and all around the park. Josh seemed unimpressed, barely looking out from under his long gray eyebrows. Jazzy came back and did the play pose right in front of him again, front legs stretched out on the ground, butt in the air. Jasmine is the Jennifer Lopez of dogs –her typical pit bull butt, even at five months of age, was a big, round badonkadonk. I could sympathize because I had always had a big, round Sicilian badonkadonk of my own. In high school, my boyfriend referred to it as “an upside-down heart,” which sent me home in tears. “He meant that as a compliment,” my mom said to comfort me. “Boys like shapely butts.”
Through the years, I found that, for the most part, she was right. In fact, Jasmine was named after a dear friend who bartended at the Red Jack Saloon and was famous for her own serious badonkadonk, which she wore with pride cloaked only in tight, low-cut jeans. The regulars used to order bottled beer just to see her bend down at the refrigerator. The guy I was seeing, who I met at the Red Jack, was from South Carolina, where men really appreciate curves. He was a big fan of Jasmine’s backside, and a big fan of mine as well. Jasmine and I became good friends – she was funny, smart, confident and sexy, completely comfortable with her curvy figure, something I had never been. Between Jasmine and my southern boy, I began to develop more confidence in my curves, and stopped hiding them in baggy pants and long sweaters.
All too soon, Jasmine moved back to her home state of Texas to get married. She invited me to the wedding in Fort Worth (in the middle of July – this California Girl was miserable in dry 110-degree heat). As she stood in her white gown at the podium in the botanical gardens, she was radiant, even in the heat, as she gazed into the eyes of her longtime boyfriend and now husband – Josh.
Their first dance was something typically sappy and romantic but the DJ spun it straight into Josh’s request – “Baby Got Back,” by Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Back at the dog park, I watched Jasmine’s namesake and her own Josh began to play – her flirting had paid off, or maybe Josh finally realized that he liked big butts, and he could not lie. All I know is that if there is a wedding, it won’t be in Texas in the middle of July.