Despite the less-than-stellar weather on recent weekends, we seem to have spent a lot of our time visiting the city’s various dog parks.
Dog parks are an interesting, and very welcome concept for me. Growing up ‘x’ number of years ago, there was no such place to take our family dog (that I remember).
Back in the lawless old days, dogs could be let off-leash in the local park or conservation area, much to the chagrin of non-dog lovers also enjoying the space (and the risk of the dog doing a runner!) Of course, leash-free activity in public spaces is no longer allowed, but we, luckily, now have these dog-exclusive spaces to take our pooches to.
For the residents of urban environments like downtown Hamilton, these free-run areas are invaluable. With postage-stamp backyards or even no yards, the dogs clearly relish a place to run, sniff and play with reckless abandon.
The ‘pet-iquette’ of the dog park is interesting to watch. Owners usually stand around the perimeter, coffee in hand, watching their pets enjoying themselves. Dogs must be well-behaved and friendly. Poop MUST be picked up. You must keep an eye on your pooch at all times and be ready to put a stop any ‘unsavoury’ behaviour.
The first Hamilton dog park we visited was “Cinema Park” in Ancaster, on a foggy day not long after the holidays. While this park is located in the heart of ‘big box’ store land, I have to admit that, because of the weather that day, we may as well have been in the middle of nowhere. Being our first dog park experience (and as our girl was still quite little), we kept her on-leash, but let her socialize with the passing dogs. This park is massive and a repeat trip is definitely in the cards.
Hill Street dog park is one of my pup’s faves, because of the amount of fraternizing she can do there (it’s a very popular puppy park!), and the mess she can get into. When the snow melts and after the rain, this park is a mud pit (although the city does make an effort by putting some straw down). At the same time, the sheer joy on her face as she runs with her newly formed pack makes the post-park cleanup time worth it.
Most recently, we checked out the city’s newest dog park in the north end of Hamilton. To say the weather was ‘foul’ the day we visited this park would be an understatement. The high winds were compounded by the fact that Birch Avenue dog park is on the top of a hill. Saying that – no mud! And, someone had the good sense to put in bus shelters in the dog park, so pup owners could shield themselves from the elements, while the dogs do their thing.
I hear there’s a dog-only beach somewhere out past Stoney Creek. My girl’s a water fiend. We’ll definitely be checking this out when the temps rise.