Our Day at the (Dog) Park
So far, at least, 2014 seems to be my year for visiting new places around town (or rediscovering them, as I wrote last week about our trip downtown to Olvera St. and Philippe the Original restaurant).
This past weekend, my better half and I took our two young and shall we say “high spirited” dogs to try out the relatively new Crescenta Valley Dog Park. The park officially opened a year ago last October. Why we hadn’t visited yet is beyond me. But time doesn’t just fly these days; it rockets by on afterburners.
To sum up our dog park experience: we all loved it. The pups ran themselves into a panting, slobbering frenzy up one side of the chain-link-fenced enclosure and back down the other. They had a great time “meeting” the dozens of other dogs of all sizes that were there during our visit. Surprisingly, all the dogs were very well behaved (even their owners!), too.
The CV Dog Park is actually two parks that parallel each other; one side for larger breeds and the other side for smaller dogs – each with more than enough room for any Rover to run over, chase balls, sniff out the competition and all the other doggy stuff they do so well. The one slight negative for me was how warm it is with all the exposed dirt. Even though there is plentiful natural shade provided by the resident oak trees, it felt warm and stifling. That said, there are well-working drinking fountains with cool water for people and pooches near the entrance to either side of the park, so it’s easy for both two- and four-legged guests to stay hydrated.
Watching our dogs play at the park reminded me of the many times we took our own kids to various “play lands” inside fast food restaurants. These often-sketchy facilities typically have large, brightly colored plastic tubes connected to big bubbles with lookout portals and junctions into other tubes, and slides that empty into massive pits filled with an ocean of plastic balls. If they pay attention at all, parents typically stand just outside the play area and watch helplessly as their kids tried to keep from being trampled by the more aggressive kids.
My wife always called these play areas “Petri dishes” due to the myriad of bodily fluids left on the well-worn surfaces. With the passageways of these kid-sized Habitrails too small and narrow for any adult to crawl through armed with spray bottles of disinfectant, one can only imagine (and believe me, we’ve imagined!) how many germs and viruses our young ones were exposed to for a half-hour of fun and distraction. Even so, that half-hour of relative calm while our kids crawled inside the Petri dish was sometimes all that kept us on the rails of sanity, if you know what I mean.
But when I think about our visit to the dog park last weekend and compare it to most “play lands” for kids of the human persuasion, I’m actually quite impressed at the relative cleanliness of the dog park. There were more than enough shovels and bag-lined trashcans stationed throughout each of the two sides of the dog park and nary a canine landmine in site. I’m sure peer pressure has something to do with how quickly dog owners remove any doggy deposits from the ground. I only wish parents of kids at fast food play lands would be as responsive in cleaning up after their progeny.
I have no doubt we’ll be taking our canine kids to the CV Dog Park on a regular basis. It’s not only a great place to wear the pads off the pups, but it’s a fun place to watch a wide and wonderful variety of shapes, sizes, personalities, temperaments, attitudes, quirkiness, styles and grooming habits.
And the dogs are fun to watch, too!
I’ll see you ’round town.