- Bob Gillham
FH Dog Park: Much More Than a Place to Take Your Dog
Updated: Jan 1
The Fairfield Harbour Dog Park, located off Barbary Coast Drive, has become a popular location for dog lovers and their furry loved ones. It's a place to meet new friends and see familiar ones, both human and canine, in a semi-secluded tree-lined enclosure. A great place to forget about your day-to-day issues for an hour or more and enjoy watching your dog(s) play and have a ball with their buddies or new doggie friends.
The park's regulars include all sizes and breeds, ranging from the "gentle giant" Lakota, the malamute at 140 pounds, to Murphy, Kenzi, and Mazie, weighing in at about 10-12 pounds each. We even have a couple of 3 legged ones who fit right in with the others. Several large breeds tip the scales at 85 plus pounds, and there are dogs at every weight down to the "little guys and gals." While our canines tend to play with those of a similar size, there are many instances of the little ones more than holding their own with the larger dogs.
It is truly amazing to observe the interplay of the canines and the joy they display with one another. Whether running after a ball, wrestling, chasing each other, or playing tug-of-war, the dogs seem to relish their surroundings. Leashes or other devices do not restrain them so they can run unencumbered. The only warning for humans is that dogs tend to "run first and look second." After a few minutes of continuous playing, they will sit or drink some water, and suddenly, they are off again.
It is impressive to note the various personalities of the dogs. Some are relaxed, others hyper, and most somewhere in between. They have their favorite buddies with whom they tend to play, but most dogs are eager to meet new folks, both canine and human.
Dogs display many emotions associated with humans, i.e., companionship, affection, and jealousy. Most dogs share their feelings openly without restraint or hidden motives (maybe humans could learn something here).
Over the past several years, I have observed many beautiful things at the dog park. Perhaps the most outstanding occurred over a year ago. A young mother came to the park with her puppy and young children. One of the youngsters, maybe 2-3 years old, was running and tripped, unhurt in the middle of the park. The little one was several yards from the nearest adult when the "gentile giant" Lakota came and stood over the fallen child to protect her from the other dogs until the child's mother came to pick up the child. The "gentile giant" had never seen the child before, and I am sure he is a hero in one mother's eyes.
If you have a dog and have not yet visited the park, please try it. If your dog is shy, there is a second fenced-in area to let your dog get accustomed. The dog park regulations are posted on the gate entrance (please notice the pick-up of poop and no food warnings).
I suggest you close the gate and take your dog off its leash as soon as it enters the park. Dogs at the park tend to bark and congregate near the entrance when a new dog enters the gate. If your dog is off its leash, it will not feel as threatened. Also, it is probably wise to quickly get your dog and yourself out of the area between the two fenced-in areas since that area is confined, and you and your dog will feel safer in a more open space. Once inside, you will be surprised how quickly your dog will adapt to their new friends. After a few moments of "butt sniffing," your dog will become part of the pack and a welcomed member of the canine fraternity.
Finally, the dog park is therapy for humans as well.
It is a place to forget your day-to-day issues for a few minutes because you are surrounded by pure joy and love. A dog is indeed a friend that loves its owner unconditionally if the owner only meets it halfway. Dogs, like humans, are social animals, and a great way to show your love for your dog is to let them run and be around fellow dogs. Who knows—you may enjoy the experience and meet new friends yourself, both human and canine.
Remember what Harry Truman said—"if you want a friend, get a dog!"
I offer a special thank you to my following friends: Murphy; Sophie 1 and 2; Milo 1, 2, and 3; Montana; Dorie; Misty; Max; Lila; Mulligan; Chase 1 and 2; Shorty; Kenzi; Mazie; Tye; Cooper; Bailey; Thor; Millie; Moya; Bernie; Ginger; Rocco; Beau; Jada; Romaki; Scout; Smudge; Luna; Lakota; Spirit; Gracie; Jax, and of course Karo. I am sure I forgot some of my friends and I apologize that my memory is not as good as theirs.