Still On The Fence?

Fido wants to play, so you oblige by taking her for a walk. After tossing the Frisbee for a while, you let her run on a dirt trail through the beautiful yard you perfected during the dog days of summer.

Dogs in your community wonder when you'll provide them with their very own park!

And still your pooch looks at you afterwards with a sad face that you interpret as…“More play time, pleeease!”

You are out of breath–and options–until you remember…the dog park.

This destination for people and their pets serves as an additional way for dog owners to keep their canines healthy and well adjusted.

Experts like Elizabeth Barker–a veterinarian technician at Greenwood Farms Veterinary Clinic in Macon, Ga.–swears by dog parks, and uses her hometown’s designated green space in the city’s west-central district as a venue to train and rehabilitate the dogs in need at her workplace.

Barker describes dog parks as a convenient, neutral space that introduces dog owners to an alternative place for their pets to run and play.

“Dog parks provide stimulation and afford the animal and owner a chance to bond beyond their daily routine,” she explains.

On a sunny fall day, Barker’s statement resonated loudly as a woman who referred to herself only as Heidi and her 6-year-old Boston terrier named Terrence took full advantage of the opportunity to get out and about in the overtly Fido-friendly environment.

She and her “guy” have been frequenting this spot for the last five years, and Heidi says a day at the dog park is a much better way of expressing love, respect, and appreciation for a pet than the ongoing confines of a small backyard, the inside of a house, or the end of a rope or chain.

“People who bring their dogs here obviously care about their pets. I bring him here every week,” she says. “And it’s nice and relaxing for me.”

Diana Williams agrees with Heidi and uses the park when she’s not serving as treasurer to the Macon Dog Park Pals to Animals. The nonprofit organization oversees and maintains the city-owned property with the help of the Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation Department’s Grounds Division.

She believes the social, psychological, and physical benefits of going to the park for both dogs and their owners are immeasurable. And with obesity at an epidemic level across the country, going to the dog park might contribute to the creation of a more-fit nation.

“The park gets people out and communicating, and reminds them that pets are very, very healthy for owners,” Williams notes.

A dog park is a friendly place for canine and human visitors.

A Dog-Lover’s Paradise

Going to the park is easy. In most municipalities that have one or more, they are just a walk, car cruise, or mass-transit ride away.

But what to do once owners and dogs are there? If looking for the answer, the award-winning Cosmo Dog Park in Gilbert, Ariz., is a dog-lover’s paradise.

The 2007 Dog Fancy magazine’s Best Dog Park winner opened in July 2006. Today, nearly 600,000 people visit annually from all over the country and bring their canines to run, jump and…do what dogs do in great dog parks.

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