By Loretta Lynn Bell
First Published by St. Johns Magazine September 2013
I must say upfront that I am filling in for my owner who usually does the writing. She has been gracious enough to let me write this month, so that the article would be more personal and authentic.
Let me tell you, I was thrilled to find out there are so many places in St. Johns County for me to go and socialize with my peers. Not only are there special dog parks, made just for our enjoyment, but there are many other parks where we can also mingle with the public.
Our first visit was to Veterans Park, which is on Veterans Parkway, so that makes it easy to remember and find. I get excited when I see the white fence and huge fountain because I know we’re almost there! This place has two sides; one for large dogs (I guess that’s me though I’m really medium sized and very fit), and one for the smaller dogs. With a total of three acres, there is room to romp and party! There is even a shelter with a picnic table if your owners want to sit and socialize with their own kind. On my recent visit on a Friday morning I met Cupid and Toby. Toby brings his owner, Cindy, to the park two or three times a week.
We hit two parks on one Saturday and I was overjoyed! First was Trails for Tails in the Community Park at Nocatee. When we arrived there were lots of little kids in football uniforms. I was relieved to find out my owner had not signed me up for football! At the dog park across from the football fields there is a paved path that goes around a pond and our owners seem to like that. We dogs wander on and off the path. I met a shepherd named Major and siblings Happy and Bashful. And, no, they weren’t dwarves. We were on our way out when I spotted a familiar face. It was Ice Cream! I’d seen him at Veterans Park the day before! Our owners began to chat, so I got to hang out with him for a while.
Next, we went down the road a short ride to Davis Park. It’s on Davis Park Blvd. (again, so easy to find). This one has a nice, big pond with a fountain in it and lots of dogs swimming and splashing around. I had a lot of fun playing with Ellie. We raced around together, down to the little wooden bridge and back. Her owner, Amanda, brings her there a lot, so I hope I get to see her again! I also met Lola, who is tiny but full of pep, and George, also tiny, who is kind of shy but seemed to be making friends.
On another Friday morning, we traveled in St. Augustine to check out parks there. First we went to Joe Pomar Park on Masters Drive. This one has a special name: The Kids Care Canine Corral. There is a lot of space to run, with shade trees on one end and a gazebo on the other. The morning we arrived it was empty, but the grass had been freshly mown, so we decided to enjoy a few minutes there. Soon afterwards, Diego arrived so I had someone to run with. According to his owner he comes up there nearly every day. It was his owner that suggested we take a look at the pier/kayak launch and pointed the way. It was a spectacular view! The small creek there goes into the San Sebastian River.
Our last visit was to Paws Dog Park (love the name!) inside the Treaty Park Complex. In this ¾ acre park there is a park for the small doggies and one for us “larger” dogs. Our side is way cooler, with several watering holes and a mock fire hydrant. There’s plenty of room to run around, plus there’s a shaded area with benches for owners. Here I met Samson, a handsome greyhound, who was there with his grandowner. By this time I was pretty tired, so we just exchanged pleasantries while our people talked about us. By the way, all my friendships are strictly platonic; my originals owners made sure of that.
The rules in these places are pretty simple. We don’t need a leash once we’re inside the fenced area. Our owners must clean up after us, but, hey, that’s what owners are for, right?
I’m so glad I live in such a dog-friendly county. And I can wait to hit the parks again!
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