Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We Are The People In Your Neighborhood

This week we are exploring the "local" dog parks to see which ones we like best. I say "local" because none of them are *really* within walking distance, the closest (and our least favourite / most likely to cause Woo to dig holes) being a 16 minute walk away (so says Google Maps). However, 16 minutes X 2 eats up a lot of the allotted 45 minute pre-work morning run, so I don't really consider that "walking distance."

I thought we would photo-document the off leash parks as we explored them. Except I didn't think about doing that until this morning, and it also has been raining, so we're going to fake like it's our first time (who knows what that's like? Ladies? Who's with me here? Hello?)

Today's visit was to the off-leash area on the corner of Oak and 37th. This is not really our neighborhood at all, and would take 38 minutes to walk to, allegedly. It only takes 6 minutes or so to drive though, so I tossed the beasts in the van and off we went.

On the way we made a pit stop at the park at 37th and Columbia, but it was not really a hit with the dogs. I have nicknamed it "Monkey Tree park."

It's a great big open field in Queen Elizabeth Park, but that's really all it is ... a big open field on a crest. The pooches said it was boring, and while the foliage was lovely:
It did not otherwise provide very many photo ops. And Tweed, who considers himself my artistic muse, looked downright blah.

So we moved onto the next park.

This park had a monster in it.


The park on Oak and 37th has the usual "off leash rules" sign planted and the edge of it and someone has used a Sharpie to write "Doggie Death Park" across the sign. If you had the sort of dog who, say, didn't come when you called him, or chased squirrels with reckless abandon, or who thought The Food Lady's Road Rules were "stupid" and your dog's name was Mr. Woo ... then this park could be quite dangerous. The only thing that separates it from Oak Street at rush hour (ie always) is some half assed shrubbery and trees. We stuck to the East, as far from traffic as possible, but I'm not convinced we'll be spending a ton of time at this park.

The other mystery of the park is why it's not been mowed. The grass is at least waist high. This makes poop scooping a kind of fecal safari, or what we have come to call "Mission Impossible." We've only been to the park twice and I have lost two poops and a rubber Chuck-It (tm) ball already. It's clear this park will be a land mine of poopies in the dark winter ahead, so I think it will be off limits until Spring.

Anyway, having already lost a Chuck It (tm) ball to the jungles of Oak and 37th, today we were forced to play Fifa (tm), it being the only toy we can't really lose in tall grass.

Mr Woo wasn't super happy about having to share his precious Fifa (tm) with his siblings, but it sure kicked his competitive gear up a notch or two, and he finally got some exercise. Which is good, because he is starting to resemble an orange Fifa (tm)!


Tweed, OTOH, is not a fan of Fifa (tm) and couldn't quite believe I was making him play with it.

"Saaaay what?"

He's a pretty good sport though, so he soon joined in the fun. The rules are:

Never kick Fifa (tm) toward Tweed.
Never expect Tweed to chase Fifa (tm).

"Oh hai! No kicking stupid ball at me. Kthnxbai!"

Tweed will go get it if Mr. Woo has abandoned on it in search of something vile to roll in. That's his version of playing-with-Fifa (tm). I think he secretly likes it, myself.

Piper, OTOH, wants it all the time. She will steal it from the other dogs if she has to, or intimidate them into dropping it. She Doesn't Play Well With Others which is why we usually all each have our own toy.

"Throw it. Kick it. Do something with it."

And then once she has it, she is not inclined to give it up.


It's hard work, being such a greedy witch.

So this park on Oak and 37th has its pluses and minuses both. On the plus side:

It's full of little hidden treasures:

It has some great photo ops:

But for the winter, it's just too overgrown, too dark (no lights!) and too close to a busy thoroughfare. I think if we played there regularly, I'd be one less dog over the strata limit in this building in no time! And with my luck, I'd step on every stray and lost poop in the whole park.

In our next entry, we will explore what is possibly the city's most pathetic dog "park," the one that is a scant 16 minute walk from my house and which, oddly, causes Woo to dig holes furiously.

Until then, keep being beautiful, my friends.

PS - I'm looking for a job, since I just lost mine. If you have any leads, feel free to drop me an email!


shihtzustaff said...

How does one email you?

Sweet~Ceana said...

That last picture is gorgeous. Tweed looks fantastic.

Kathleen said...

Dog parks...at least you have them. Nothing like that in Lima. Our parks are bedrooms and bathrooms for the homeless. No off-leash runs there. The dogs love it, but only because there are some really NASTY things to play in.

Anonymous said...

I got really lucky with my last two rentals. The one before the park was a 2 minute walk from my door. The current place is a 2 minute drive (I would walk but I don't want to take my chances during rush hour). This has a green belt that is mowed and we have a 3 football field size place for us to romp with very few other dogs around. Heaven!

Good luck with the job search. I am on job #3 this year. This is far and away the best job I have had in several years & I am staying.

Black Jack's Carol said...

"If you had the sort of dog who, say, didn't come when you called him, or chased squirrels with reckless abandon, or who thought The Food Lady's Road Rules were "stupid" and your dog's name was ...."

I sure do relate to that above description. Black Jack's name would fit right in there.

"This makes poop scooping a kind of fecal safari."
I laughed out loud at this one.

Oh, some beautiful, beautiful shots!

Hope you find the perfect nearby spot for your morning walks. In some of the new places I've been, I've just headed out the door and followed my dog. Sometimes, they find the best places on their own.

Are you hoping for something in photography? writing? computers? keep food on the table sort of stuff? I have a feeling something will turn up very soon, but if not, e-mail me with a few thoughts, and I'll keep a more focused eye out for something suitable to a lady of your considerable talents.

riosmom said...

Sorry about the job. Is this the time to launch Big Air Photography big time? The pictures in this post sure are a great testimonial. The last picture of Tweed is lovely. Keep us posted.

Booker the Treeing Walker said...

Sorry about the job loss ... but on a brighter note, what a wonderful day you had with the woofs! The tall grass might be poop-unfriendly but it sure makes lovely backgrounds. We could never go off-leash at a park without a 6-foot fence. We are so lucky to have our Bark Park!

saratogajean said...

I'm jealous you have options! We only have one dog park in my town, and it sucks big time. Talk about poop mines.

Luckily we have the beach, and for 9 of the 12 months, it is relatively empty.

Anonymous said...

Shihtzustaff: reddogphotos@shaw.ca

Biggie-Z said...

Sorry to hear about the job situation. Since we are on the other side of the country (which country, ha!) I'm no help when it comes to jobs.

I AM amazed at the concept of dog parks that don't have fences. We first encountered them in Washington DC, and most of them are teeny tiny patches of grass in the middle of traffic circles and major streets. There were dogs off-lead there, but I really wonder how one can feel comfortable doing that for the very first time. Yikes.

As always, a wonderful post!

P.S. I will have to find some way to use "fecal safari" in conversation soon. I love it.

3dogslater said...

You braved the death park? I'd have to put shock collars on all three of my dogs to consider going there. Total lack of squirrel recall equals squished puppies :(

There really isn't much that's decent in your area. Charleson Park is safe, but in the winter turns into a muddy cesspit. There is a waterfall/pond you can use to clean the dogs up, unless dry is a key part of the morning exercise.

Tatyana said...

I must say, that unfenced, unmowed park provided for some amazing photography. I'd be leery of bringing my dogs there myself, though. The iglets tend to think that "come" is an invitation, not a command.

re fecal safari - that's what gumboots are for!

Natalie said...

Dog parks like that really scare me. Even with Oreo, who can't be bothered to run off because it's too much energy wasted.

Good photos in that brush, though. Nice.