Season 1, Episode 9
We were at the Labrador Hills Dog Park when Fantasia, the yellow lab, made her appearance and proceeded to walk around the entire fence of the dog park until she caught up with Rover. She had asked Rover if it was okay to hang out there with him and he was flattered to be asked.
Rover was curious about Fantasia since he noticed that she never really played with any of the other dogs at the dog park. She got plenty of attention, especially on arrival, but it seemed as though other dogs were intimidated by her.
When Fantasia began to talk to him, Rover realized that she was very lonely and was not particularly fond of the attention, at least the kind of attention she was getting.
“I’ve been coming here for a few years now and everyone treats me like royalty,” Fantasia explained, “but nobody knows what I’m really like or who I really am. They think I’m some kind of flirt and don’t want anything to do with me.”
Rover began to feel sorry for her. He was among those who gawked and made snide remarks about Fantasia whenever she would arrive with her sidekick, Krystal. It was Krystal who enjoyed the attention. She liked the idea that women were elbowing their mates in the ribs to stop them from staring.
Everyone assumed Fantasia was the same way. She would come in and the dogs would turn and run toward her in greeting but none stayed to talk or play with her. She felt like a freak show.
“Sorry to dump my problems on you, Rover. You seem like a nice guy. I took a chance that you’d be nice to me and you are,” said Fantasia. Rover was searching for words as he tried to comprehend what Fantasia was explaining to him.
“Well, I think you’re right about what the other dogs think about you. Most of us, myself included, are kind of intimidated by you. You seem so sure of yourself and with Krystal getting attention from the humans, the two of you are a difficult pair to read.”
Rover continued, “I guess it’s no wonder you don’t have a lot of friends. I think that if you’d be open and honest like you are now, other dogs would like you more.”
“That’s what I was hoping. I don’t like to cry like this but I get pretty lonely! I’m not sure how to explain it but I really hate this feeling,” Fantasia said, as tears began to flow.
Rover was starting to feel uncomfortable, wondering what to tell Fantasia. “Um…er…you must know Tillie. I live with her and the Johnsons. I bet if you talked to her, you guys could be good friends.”
“I imagine you’re right, but I don’t think that’s going to happen right away. A lot of dogs have negative feelings about me and I don’t think I’m going to change those feelings right away,” said Fantasia.
“Maybe if we take it slowly, we can get some dogs to change their minds. Look at me. I’m a believer already and we’ve been talking less than five minutes! I think you could be friends with lots of the dogs here!”
“I hope you’re right, Rover. I’m tired of stressing out and not having friends. Krystal’s the phony one but I’m not like her. I just want to be a regular dog!” said Fantasia, emphatically.
“I’ll do my best to start getting the other dogs to see you differently. I bet you can make some friends in no time!”
“Thanks, Rover. You’re a good dog!” Rover couldn’t help but wag his tail upon hearing this.
Meanwhile, dark clouds were forming near the other end of the dog park…