Rather, I can simply be myself and connect with people who share my perspective and interests, and with dogs who—much more so than Emma and Eleanor far off in the Swiss Alps—will be kindred spirits with Altai, satisfying his need for socialization far closer to home.
We still go to our local dog park, though less often than we used to. And Altai still gets excited when we go. He gets even more excited, I think, when he sees me reach for my backpack and hiking boots. To Altai, the only thing better than socializing off-leash with other dogs is doing so while hiking in the mountains. At the end of the day, however, I don’t think it matters much to him whether the socialization came through our local park or the arrangement of an Internet Meetup group. What really matters is that there’s a real, live dog there to greet him when it happens.