2011-05-12 / Family

Many dog parks, many choices

By Linda Levine
Special to The Acorn

SOCIALITES—Neighborhood dogs enjoy some time to run free at a local off-leash animal park. SOCIALITES—Neighborhood dogs enjoy some time to run free at a local off-leash animal park. The sound of the hallway closet door opening and the jingle of leashes never fails to elicit howls of anticipation from my three dogs. They know that every Sunday afternoon is their special time to run and play with their friends at the local dog park.

Going to the off-leash parks is the happiest time of the week for my canine companions: Pie Pie, Lady and Koko. On cue, they leap into the family car for their big adventure, their tails swishing back and forth with excitement.

As my husband or I drive, the three of them politely share the car’s back windows as they relish the numerous smells and sights of their neighborhood. And as we approach the park, they begin their boisterous barking and a cry of utter delight fills the air.

Once there, the dogs rush to greet old friends and sniff out new ones. Up and down they leap, chasing other wagging tails. Often there’s a tattered ball or gnawed Frisbee in play, and my girls enthusiastically join in the fun.

We usually sit on a parkbench basking in the joy of this very special place. People are especially friendly at dog parks. The conversation among animal lovers flows easily. Strangers will speak lovingly and endlessly about the wonderful attributes of their particular pooch.

I usually find the parks to be well maintained as owners are generally good about using the on site pooper scoopers. Water is always available and there is frequently a person standing by to make sure each animal gets a fair chance to drink.

We are very fortunate to live in an area where there are several excellent dog parks nearby. Owners— and their dogs—usually have a favorite. Check the Internet for locations and rules.

Calabasas Bark Park: A pleasant, small park with nice shade and newer benches. Many pets and their owners are frequent visitors who often build lasting relationships. The park is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but convenient to get to, right off Las Virgenes Road near A.E. Wright Middle School.

Oak Canyon Community Park in Oak Park: A newer park set in a lovely woodsy environment. There is about a 200-yard walk from the parking lot to the dog’s play area, but handicapped parking is available closer to the enclosure. The water bowl can get gross at times, but owners aren’t shy about cleaning it out.

Thousand Oaks Dog Park: A large grassy area which is divided by gates to separate the small dogs from the larger ones. I love the fact that it is so large. We usually walk the perimeter so that we can exercise along with our girls. The picnic tables and benches are a nice feature and enable people to socialize. Double gates here, as in many of the parks, prevent the animals from going astray.

Linda Levine lives in Agoura Hills, which has no dog park.

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