and it seems the joke is on us. we’ve been in town since may 15, and it’s taken us this long to bother checking out the dog park in mt. airy forest. but i knew this morning when i yelled at our two pooches for the minor infraction of looking at me longingly (please! take us outside! please! outside!) that i had to do something, so we headed out for a rowdy romp that would hopefully calm all of us down.
when we first came to town we stayed with family in mt. washington, where it was easy enough to skedaddle down sutton rd to kellog ave, zip past coney island and the race track and the marina, and take the dogs out to play in kellogg dog field. there is much to like about kellogg, even in addition to the general benefits of in-city dog parks (other dogs to help remind your dog the importance of his social skills, and you of yours; extended leash-free time for fetching, sniffing and rolling in smelly things; and somewhere legal and not rude to your neighbors where you can drop the dogs’ you-know-what). kellogg’s dog field is actually quite pretty — there are lots of trees and plenty of grass (green space is not to be taken for granted where dogs roam by the dozens per day), benches for tired humans, and water pumps for the all-important canine rehydration.
but my favorite thing about kellogg — well, i have two favorite things about kellogg. one is that in order to get to the dog field you have to cross the non-dog fields, which are often full of mid-sizers “playing” soccer. (i’ve seen some killer handstands from strikers who don’t bother to get involved with the team’s defensive moves.) but my really, really favorite thing about the dog field is this relic of a concrete structure that looms to your right when you enter the fenced-in dog area. it’s basically nothing more than a giant concrete box with a few chain-link-protected entry ways. but through those nets of metal beckons a weird and wonderful deep green forest, whose uppermost limbs burst through the open space where the concrete ceiling might be and weedy tendrils creep and simper through dilapidated concrete cracks. the smell is heavenly: part rich loamy compost, part sunshine peeking through leaves, part temptation. were i more adventuresome — i like to think of it as less responsible, but really, who am i kidding? — i’d shimmy up the side and scoot on in. but no. i stand outside and content myself with imagining the possibilities.
but now that we’re in a new ‘hood, kellogg is not all that close. and since northside was almost where we landed when we got here, we’ve been meaning to head out through it to mt. airy. today was finally the day.
the fenced-in dog park is situated on a hill along the southwest leg of the forest, which is great for those obsessive-compulsive fetchers who need the energy-zap of an hour spent running up and down a steep slope. the central area of the park is dusty and trampled, but dotted with picnic tables where folks sit and read while their dogs play, and ringed by a grassy, treed perimeter that mitigates the dustbowl effect. the park also boasts a couple of water-pumps and a (sadly closed for the season) restroom for human use. there is also a separate play area for small dogs, or for those wallflowers who aren’t feeling up to the 24-hour-party going on across the way.
while mt. airy’s dog park is only about half the size of kellogg’s (a little over 2 acres vs. a little over 5), it’s by far the more happenin’ spot. at kellogg on a busy day — even on a weekend — we might encounter half a dozen dogs, several of whom might belong to the same person. today when we pulled into mt. airy’s parking lot we were the 21st car. that’s a whole lotta dog.
we met lester, whose favorite game was to tackle our toddler. (she’s used to it, and suffered only one scratch and one mouthful of dirt.) we met “baby” or “maybe” — i couldn’t tell which it was, and i wasn’t sure i liked either — who was demonstrating her keen ability not to find the sticks being thrown for her. one dog was muzzled (perhaps because she likes to chase small animals, perhaps because she’s viciously aggressive, but either way, thanks to her person for sparing us all); another dog — a very small dog, seemingly some kind of rat terrier mix — was being carried around by the tennis ball he refused to release from his clenched jaws. we saw no terrible behavior (from humans or dogs), hopefully engaged in none ourselves, and will be very pleased to return to mt. airy’s dog park on a more regular basis.
perhaps in our spare time we’ll look into the details of getting a dog park up and running. it sure would be nice to have one closer to home.
*today’s title courtesy of ritt deitz, on hillbilly