Going to the dogs

by Julie Our family's weekend morning routine is to go to our local dog park.  Any time of year, and in almost any type of weather.  It's a great way to meet some people in your neighborhood, get some exercise (if you walk there), and a real fun way to get some fresh air and let the kid(s) run around.  And yes, everyone knows the dogs names more than their people's names.

There are tonnes of great dog parks all through the city of Ottawa.  And the Ottawa Dog Blog has created an awesome dog park finder, which makes it all the easier.  While we love our local dog park, and have met some really great people (we even know their names!) we sometimes venture out to some of the larger dog parks for some adventure.  Two of our favorites are: Bruce Pit - Ottawa's most popular and largest dog park; and Conroy Pit.  Both are very large wooden areas which have dozens paths that weave through them.

While Chili (the dog) can roam freely, sniffing from tree to tree, the jellybean can also roam freely (sometimes sniffing trees - hey, he's three!).  The paths range from dense forest, to thick shrub, to large fields.  Everyone is very friendly and the dogs are well behaved.  We have yet to come upon a dog that is aggressive or misbehaved.  And considering the amount of dogs you see there on any given day, that's pretty impressive.  While the dogs are well behaved, there is the occasional knocking over of small children, or adult, by rambunctious dogs at play.

The parks are clean and most of the dog poop is picked up.  I say most for those that might not venture into the woods to find where Rover might have squatted, and the few people who don't stoop and scoop.  I say there are few of those people because more often than not people let the owner know, offer a bag if they happen to be out, and basically stare them down until they clean up after their dog.  Yes, that would be me.

Do you have to have a dog to visit dog parks?  Of course not.  It's actually a great place to visit if you have been toying with the idea of adding a new member to your family.  Especially if you have a little one who hasn't been around a lot of dogs.  While I wouldn't bring a child who is nervous to a large place like Bruce Pit on their first outing, your local dog park is a great place for first introductions.  And if you are seriously considering adding that extra member, dog parks are actually a great way to "shop" for a dog.  You will see every type of breed and mutt there is, and everyone is friendly and often very willing to discuss the pros and cons of their dogs.

So instead of quickly walking the pooch around the block before you head out to the hills to go for a great outdoor adventure with the kids, take the pooch with you and have an adventure together.

Julie (a.k.a. smothermother) is mom to 3 yr old Jellybean and married to the hubby.  You can read her blog at www.smothermother.blogspot.com.