I have to say that the Deer Ridge Off Leash took me completely by surprise. I used Google Maps (click here for directions) on my car’s Blue Tooth to get me there, so map lady was telling me where to turn and when she said I’d reached my destination on my left, I was kind of puzzled. I’m suspicious of her on a good day, because she often takes me on wild rides, but this seemed odd.
Granted it was a VERY snowy day just after New Year’s 2021. I saw a man on the very snowy road, walking with his dog so I rolled down my window and asked, “Is this the Off Leash area for dogs?”
"Sure is,” he told me. “Just find a parking spot along the street, and you can walk all the way up...” He pointed off into the distance down a snowy sidewalk, and I nodded and wiggled into a parking spot on the road. I leashed up the doggie and brought her out of the car. There was no signage I could see indicating I’d reached an off-leash dog park.
“Hmmm,” I said to Betty.
She did not answer me. Because she’s a dog, silly.
All I saw was a path, atop a steep hill. The road was right beside the path and sure enough, people were walking with their dogs off leash. Hmmm. Now it was snowy, and it was a residential street, so I unclipped Betty and we walked a few feet, before I got nervous that she’d bolt away, so we headed down the hill. It was a good toboggan hill distance down the hill. It led to another path that didn’t feel like she would run onto the street.
There were a few other people walking along the lower path. I asked a couple people if they knew how far the path went, and they kind of shrugged and pointed and said, it goes out quite a distance that way. So, I started along the path, and Betty found a cute little dog named Bella to play with. Her owner was a nice man, and we walked and chatted for a short distance, the dogs playing nicely until Betty saw a bird and shot up the hill after it. I could tell she was frazzled and, in the state, where she doesn’t even hear me or listen to my COME command, so I stopped and told the man I was heading back because the no fence thing, in the middle of the city, freaked me out.
I led her back down the lower path and then before we climbed back up the hill, I put her on the leash. I don’t trust her to not run off at this point in her life, because well, she does. She needs a fenced, off- leash park. Maybe that’s the difference between off leash and dog parks? I’m going to investigate this, but not today because my to do list is too big.
When we reached the top of the hill again, we had a short walk on the upper path back to the car. I spotted a single sign that indicated it was an off-leash area and yes, some dogs walked the upper path off leash. Dogs better trained than Betty!
As we approached my car, I ran into two younger women, who were probably in their 30’s. One was wearing a black bathrobe. Okay. It was 7 degrees or something and we’ve been cooped up and in Christmas mode, so I whatever. Odd, my brain said. But I can see her point. And then I looked at her hand and she was holding a drink glass, and it had what I guessed was brandy or scotch in it. I laughed and said,
“Oh, that’s funny, you ladies are walking your dogs and having a drink.”
They kind of giggled and the one said, “Your glass is more obvious than mine.” Her friend had a brandy glass and amber liquid. I was down with their life choices. I mean, it was super snowy on that road. Barely driveable. It was Saturday after New Year’s Eve. It’s been a month of the pandemic lockdown. Why not have a drink in your bathrobe while you walk your dog?
Anyhow, it didn’t take away from the dog park experience.
I totally see the appeal of the Deer Ridge Dog Park, IF you have a dog with excellent recall. It looked like a lovely walk for humans. The man I had talked to said he liked the park because it was never that busy. He did say a lot of people used the path without dogs, and he tried to keep his dog in check for them.
I think if it were my local dog park, I’d probably be tempted to throwing a dog ball or toy up the hill a bunch of times, until Betty burnt off some energy, rather than playing with other dogs. I’d like to see this dog park in weather other than snow. I’m sure it’s a scenic park in the summertime and fall.
A good community dog park, for well trained dogs.
BYOB- Bring your own (poop) bags.
3 Paws out of 5