It does not require a lot to make dogs happy — a complete belly, a hot bed, a lot of love and plenty of space for drama are all they require. For all those living in crowded towns, dog parks have become the remedy to this third condition.
“In rural areas where there are acres and acres of open woods and off-leash allowed, there are dog parks,” says Christian Lau, author of The Dog Lover’s Companion to New England. “Dog parks are a safe, generally tick-free place for puppies which are cheap to build and create a sense of community and safety in the region.”
Have a look at five amazing puppy parks and the best way to get one started in your region.
More: 8 Garden Ideas to Delight Your Dog
1. Fort Woof, Forth Worth, Texas
Fort Woof, inside Forth Worth’s Gateway Park, was the city’s first off-leash dog park. It has different fenced areas for smaller dogs and larger dogs, with appropriately sized training gear, ramps, hoops and tunnels.
It offers picnic tables, chairs and shade for individuals, and watering stations with buckets and hoses close trees in which pooped-out pups can break in the shade.
More information: Fort Woof
2. Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Richmond, California
The Point Isabel park, in the edge of the San Francisco Bay, is blessed with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County.
This inflatable playground includes 23 acres, and most of it’s available to off-leash dogs, which makes it one of the largest dog parks in the nation.
Aside from the beautiful views, Point Isabel includes two big draws for dogs and their owners. Mudpuppy’s Tub and Scrub, a dog washing machine and retail store, offers full-service and DIY dog baths, toys, treats and supplies for man’s companion. The Sit & Stay Café next door makes sure you receive all the treats you require, too.
More information: Point Isabel Regional Shoreline
3. Pilgrim Bark Park, Provincetown, Massachusetts
Though comparatively small for a dog park — 1 acre — Pilgrim Bark Park has plenty to keep your pup occupied. Much like Fort Woof, it’s divided into two segments for larger and smaller dogs. The off-leash park was designed to reflect the city’s appreciation for the arts. Local designers have designed and painted chairs, kiosks, signage and other attributes — such as this dog-friendly version of the pilgrims’ Mayflower.
More information: Pilgrim Bark Park
4. Bow Wow Beach, Stow, Ohio
Four acres of grassy knolls and forest are only a prelude to Bow Wow Beach’s most important attraction — a 3-acre lake, complete with sandy shores and a dog-dock leaping area. This dog park is a summertime staple in Stow, Ohio. But don’t worry, you won’t have to have a muddy dog house with you after every visit — dog washing areas round the park allow you to wash Fido up for your ride home.
More information: Bow Wow Beach
5. Freedom Bark Park, Lowell, Indiana
Ecofriendly dog park Freedom Bark Park includes 5 acres of landscape dedicated to off-leash dog drama. Solar-powered water pumps give your pet with water, recycled rubber mulch walkways lead owners throughout the park, and biodegradable bags assist with cleanup. The grassy regions separate big and tiny dogs — each has its own shaded area for dogs and owners, drinking water, tunnels, trees and a special digging area.
This award-winning dog park is the end result of 2,700 hours of service which local volunteers contributed to construct it, from the farmers who tilled the land to the teacher who painted that the fire hydrants. Every tree, plant, chairs and tube area also was donated by members.
More information: Freedom Bark Park
Thinking about starting a dog park in your hometown? Here’s how to make it happen.
Get support. Find a core set of people who are able to devote to the cause. Hold a public meeting and collect support. Encourage your neighbors and community members to write letters and make calls to town leaders.
Decide exactly what the park will comprise. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ list of what’s needed for a fantastic dog park comprises:Materials for cleaning up after dogsDrinking water and shadeEnough space to prevent crowdingSeparate regions for small and big dogsA two-gate system so dogs can’t escapeMore than 1 entry and exit — dogs quickly learn where newcomers enter, and congregate there.Agility gear, natural visual barriers and other interactive featuresProduce a funding. Once you obtain approval to get a dog park, odds are that you’ll need to boost the funds to construct and keep it. Produce a funding straight off the bat and set a goal for fundraising. Since town budgets may be tight, many dog parks are funded through private donors. See if your town has a nonprofit umbrella arrangement which you may work under which can expedite fundraising.
Find the land. Finding space in towns and cities tends to be the biggest hurdle for dog park activists. “Most cities and towns and the people there believe a dog park is a fantastic idea, and are willing to provide the land for it,” says Lau. “The problem is where to find this distance. Nobody needs it near their property, organization, sports or school field.” Since land is rare, many dog parks are added to an present park or become part of a larger plan to get a multipurpose park.
More: 8 Garden Ideas to Delight Your Dog