by Kipling StephensDogs in Reedley have something to celebrate! The city, in conjunction with the Reedley Lions Club, has opened a new dog park, and it is remarkable.
Today, my family and I went to the dog park while it was still cool, and we met some other dogs who were enjoying the park as much as I do. I decided to try a dog sling that my human mom bought last week when we were at the pet store. As you probably know, I’m not a dog that really likes to hob-knob with other dogs, but I got to do a lot of getting-to-know-you sniffing, and I probably have a better appreciation for these other dogs. But I digress.
The park is almost 24 thousand square feet, which I learned today is a little more than half an acre. There are a bunch of trees to keep it cool and comfortable, two watering stations, a picnic table, and a few benches. The dog park is located at Mueller Park next to the basketball courts and Grant Middle School.
There are many great things about this park, but one of the things I like the most is the location. It is so close to my home, so my family and I go there several times every week! Before the park, I would usually have an hour or so on Sunday at Reedley College on the quad, or we would go to Dinuba. Once in a while, certainly not often enough for me or my mom, we go to the beach at Morro Bay. Maybe we’ll still go there, but with this park so close, I’ve started to have to take a day off from going to the park because I’m so tired!
Reedley has needed something like this for a long time because there are so many dogs who live here and never get a chance to just run loose in a large space.
So I’ve talked a lot about the park, but now let’s talk about some of the dogs who I have met there. When I was there today, I met Bella, Sid, and Cash. Sid was just leaving when I got there, but he and his family had been there for over an hour. He’s a big Pointer with huge long legs. When my dad threw my ball, naturally I went after it, but SO DID SID! Now Sid’s people were just getting ready to leave, so they had him on his lead already. That didn’t stop Sid. He just took off, and his handler just went flying.
They got Sid off the lead, and he chased me around for a while. To be honest, I wasn’t too interested in meeting anyone new right then, but Sid was persistent enough that we did some sniff circles before running around again. Sid had a lot of toys there, but he didn’t seem like he had a tough workout. After we ran around for a while, his tongue was hanging out, and he was starting to slow down. I think that made his people happy.
Sid usually runs at a different place in town, but it’s a place without a fence. The best thing about a fence is that it keeps the cars out. It’s also a great place to leave my mark and sniff out marks from other dogs. It’s almost like a bulletin board without all the boring sales stuff.
Not long after Sid left, Bella showed up. Bella’s still just a puppy, but she’s a cute little Pug. At six months old, she’s very active and very playful. She’s also about my size, so since I was already in the mode to meet new dogs, after having met Sid just a few minutes ago, we did the sniff circle dance and got to know each other.
Bella still doesn’t know what she wants to do. Her dad said she likes twigs right now, and sometimes she likes pieces of bark, but she didn’t seem all that interested in anything but playing with me. She might have chased my ball once or twice, or she might have just been following me around. I’m not sure. She is a very nice dog and her dad, who moved here from Anaheim, seemed to be very happy to have such a great park so close to his home. He sat on the ground and played with us. It was a good time.
We saw Cash coming to the park while they were still some distance away. We could tell he was a puppy, and he was excited to be out with his family. Cash is going to be a huge dog someday, but for now, he’s just a little bigger than I am. He was able to catch up to me when we were running, but if I turned, he just kept going straight. A few times, he took my ball, but he didn’t seem to know what to do with it. He’s still a puppy, and his dad says he still doesn’t know what he can’t do. Maybe someday he’ll appreciate his ball as much as I appreciate mine.
By this time, it was starting to get warm anywhere but in the shade. That’s when I start to really appreciate one of the greatest parts of the park: the trees. These trees are huge! Almost the entire park is in shade and that means I can run harder and longer on a hot day than I can in any other park I’ve ever been too! When we weren’t running, we were sitting with our people in the shade.
I asked Bella and Cash what they liked most about the park. Bella told me she likes to meet other dogs and just run around and have fun. She doesn’t know what she wants to do yet. She might stick with twigs, or she might go with squeaky toys, or she might like something completely different.
Cash told me that he likes that any dog can go to this park. There aren’t a lot of rules about who can come and that’s important to Cash because he’s not allowed at a park in Fresno because he has some Pit Bull ancestry. I don’t mean to make Cash into a cause or anything, but just let me say that this kind of discrimination is terrible! No puppy should be persecuted because of who his sire or grandsire is. It just isn’t fair. All dogs should be treated equally. Cash has a nice place he can go now where he can be a dog with other dogs, and no one cares about where he came from.
That is not to say there are no rules for this park. While any dog is welcome, they are required to be on the leash all the way to the park. Once inside the fence, it is ok to be off-leash, but until then, please keep your humans connected to it.
Now a few days ago, I also met Cliff at the dog park. Cliff doesn’t seem to like chasing toys, but his person said he has them, but didn’t bring anything for him. Cliff had a good time sniffing and checking the place out. He said he got lots of information about other dogs, but he was worried about one thing: there were places for ground squirrels, but no ground squirrels had been installed. He wondered if they would be coming or if the squirrel holes were just for show. He said he thought about digging down to see if he could find one, but thought better of it when he caught a scent he didn’t recognize and had to track it down.
Cliff lives farther away, but he said he likes the park because he has room to run. His people take him for walks, but his leash is always too short and sidewalks are tedious on the paws after a while. He says he likes the feel of damp earth on his toes, and it feels good to run around off-leash for a while. Still, he would like to chase some squirrels.
There is another thing about dogs that probably should be mentioned. Since we don’t think it’s impolite to poop in public, we tend to do it whenever the urge strikes us. However, in an enclosed space, it can build up and get kind of nasty. I know the humans don’t like walking in it, and I’m not too keen on that either, so make sure your humans clean up after you. Just in case they don’t bring their own, there are “Mutt Mitts” available. It’s the little things that we can do to make this park great and if we all do our part, it will be here for a long time for us.