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Stories from the dog park: ‘In this new world of tangled worries, my puppy keeps me sane’ | Stephanie Wood

Conversations amid canines reflect the loss and anxiety being felt in the pandemic. But there’s also connection and joy

Lola Montez and Gadget the cavoodle are delirious in their play: on hind legs and wrestling with bear-cub front paws, pashing with drooling mouths; rolling across the grass, legs akimbo then wrapped tight around the other’s furry body in mad embrace; then up and off, zooming away, flying and skidding back.

Last time we crossed dog-park paths, Gadget’s owner, Kim*, gave me a recipe for kangaroo risotto – minced roo, rice, a can of kidney beans, oats, grated carrot. Lola Montez wasn’t too fussed about the risotto. I’m not too fussed about being my fussy puppy’s personal chef.

Related: Love you to death: how we hurt the animals we cherish

Related: I love my dog. But why must walkies involve horrendous social interactions? | Emma Beddington

Names have been changed.

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