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The New Dog Park


We discovered a new dog park practically around the corner from where we live. I don’t know how long it’s been in existence, but it can’t be long, because the grass is still green and the ground hasn’t been chewed up by little paws. There are two separate enclosures, one for the big dogs, and one for the Crickets. There’s a relatively new housing development nearby, so the dog park may have been part of the building contract, but so far people don’t seem to know about it, so every time we go Cricket is the only dog.

On her first visit to the dog park, Cricket performed a perimeter search, to check in with any other dog who may have visited there before her. She is very good at perimeter searches, and was happy to spend all of her time slowly sniffing. On her on her second visit, I walked with her along the fence line, and gently introduced her to the middle of the space. She even did a few running leaps across the grass. But her favorite thing to do was to wait until her humans were sitting on a bench, and then she’d crawl underneath and focus her search on that small area.


The perimeter search


“The grass tastes so good here!”

There’s a body of water next to the dog park that’s meant to add scenic views, but I’m not sure what to call it. It’s connected to the duck pond by underground pipes, and then runs out into the bay, eventually, somehow, but most of the time the water is more like slow moving sludge. Cricket is unimpressed.


Outside the perimeter

For visit three I finally remembered to bring my camera, if only to prove that Cricket really doesn’t understand how a dog park is supposed to be used. We’ve been going after dinner, when the weather is more tolerable, but we never see other dogs. There was one guy walking along the path outside of the dog run, and two teenage boys trailing marijuana smoke, making Cricket search for an invisible skunk nearby, but other than that we were alone. Cricket checked the perimeter thoroughly, tasting the grass at various locations to make sure it was all just so. I found the skin of a yellow tennis ball on my own perimeter search, so it seems like someone must have been using the dog park for its stated purpose, at some point.


“Someone peed here!”


“And here!”


But hopefully not over here.


In the parking lot next to the dog park, each time we’ve been there, there’s been a dog grooming truck. Thank god Cricket hasn’t recognized the picture of a perfectly coiffed poodle on the side of the van, or else we’d never get her out of the car.

We’ll have to go more often to get Cricket used to the purpose of a dog park. I tried to throw a tennis ball for her a few times, but she just looked confused. For such a contrarian of a dog, she was happy to have her leash snapped back on in order to leave the gated area.


One last sniff of the grass before she leaves, of course

Supposedly there will be outdoor movies, and free concerts, on the piece of grass next to the dog park this summer, but we’ll see if anyone shows up. I think Cricket would like to go to a concert or two, but something tells me the humans might not be very happy to have her there. She likes to participate.


“I’m ready!”

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

61 responses »

  1. One of the great things of owning an iPhone is that my camera is always in my pocket.

  2. The reason you don’t see other dogs is because of Cricket, the Intimidater.

  3. Be very careful – we had some very bad experiences at the local dog park. People are idiots at times – I had a Doberman pin Max down by his neck while the owner told me “they’re just playing.” No, actually, they’re not! Another guy would come with a GSD and send it after any dog that was playing alone. After awhile, we stopped – I was too protective of Max and my husband told me I’d probably be arrested if I kept going.

  4. I’m envious you’re in Summer at the moment and can take Cricket out for walks after dinner.

  5. I’m thinking of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. I think the stage awaits little Miss Cricket!

  6. It looks so beautiful and green, Cricket sure looks like she’s having a swingin’ time checking out the park 🙂

  7. I hope that Cricket has the occasional pleasure of listening to recorded concerts at home, Rachel. My Nechama has a great love for music, and comes running when she hears I’ve turned on the stereo. Music is a language we can share, and animals seem to have a natural affinity to the sort of music we like to listen to. So glad to hear that she has some grass to enjoy. We have numerous dog parks here in Jerusalem, and more than one in our neighborhood, where we often watch them in light hearted play.

  8. How they love to sniff! My Chicki would stay out all day, checking out every few metres…

  9. We have a dog park not far from here but I have never been there. Benji is the most lovable of dogs but not very sociable with other dogs. If there are guests straying with us for a little while, that seems to be fine and he’s ok with that, but he is not so friendly with strange dogs outside. I don’t think he would be so good at a dog park. Cricket looks as if she is having fun.

  10. So is skunk a nickname for weed as it smells the same? Brits don’t have skunks (well maybe someone sneaked a few in) so I don’t know what they smell like!

  11. thebookofjess7504

    Great post! And I hope that Cricket has a good time in the dog park! (After she learns the purpose of the dog park that is!)

  12. We don’t have a purpose-built ‘dog park’ here, but there is a very big nature reserve, and a public park called Beetley Meadows. Everyone walks their dogs on both, all the time, so Ollie spends most of his walk sniffing like mad. (When he’s not chasing squirrels!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

  13. Isn’t it great when you find a sneaky hidden dog park. We have a couple near our house that we enjoy taking our dog to. While he doesn’t run around as much as he used to, he does enjoy being in the open space without a lead

  14. Always good to find a new patch of grass. Cricket will be pleading to go again.

  15. I’m jealous Rachel lol! We have been promised a dog park for quite some time but nothing has materialized. I’m proud of you for getting outside with Cricket and enjoying some outdoors time 🙂 It looks like you two have found a hidden gem 🙂

  16. Ah, the sniffathon. I keep telling Maggie she hasn;’ missed a single blade of grass, but she won’t have it!

  17. If people don’t appreciate Cricket’s musical contributions, they’re just sour….

  18. That looks like a wonderful dog park. Since she is finding spots where other dogs have peed, it is being used by others. If you are wanting interactions with other dogs, maybe you should try going at different times during the day. She does look like she is having fun having the space all to herself though.

  19. There is a great piece in today’s Times about the smell of weed permeating an apartment in Brooklyn Heights and the people trying to track down its origin. Apparently the present stuff is very stinky and skunk is what people say it smells like.It sounds like your park has anticipated dog conflicts and has separate areas for big and little dogs. That sounds very prudent.

  20. Dylan behaves in the same way…every day when we go to the dog park. Perimeter search is mandatory.

  21. Fabulous pictures of Cricket, the adventurous dog!
    I hope you continue to enjoy the dog park with her…too fun!

  22. I bought my younger boy a very small pony for his 3rd birthday. He could have cared less. I think some dogs have the same indifference to dog parks. Like Cricket, Lexi loved to read all the pee mail, but that was all.

  23. how nice!
    a park of our own
    for each of us dogs 🙂

  24. Cricket is beautiful. ❤😉

  25. marcelino guerrero

    “but do so far people don’t seem to know about it”, THATS GREAT 🤙🏾. I have a rescue dog, that’s terrified of people and other dogs, and we have to go to the park at crazy hours (peak sun in LV summer) just to get a little privacy!

  26. Awww your doggy is so cute! 🙂

  27. That’s the fun of the dog park! Sniffing the pees! 🐶🐶


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