Hard to imagine that this dog park wouldn’t be familiar to most dog people who live in South Calgary. It’s got to be one of the biggest fenced dog parks in town. It’s got swimming, trees, sticks, hills, dogs, training areas, picnic areas and paths for walking. It’s busy with a capital B. Everything a dog could want. Unless your dog is a dog who doesn't much like being around other dogs. Because there are a lot of dogs here.
In case you're not familiar with the dog park, it's visible on South Deerfoot Trail by the Southland Drive overpass. Click here for directions. Parts of the park even run parallel with the busy freeway, but far enough away and fenced off from the dogs. The entire park is pretty much fenced except for the areas where there is riverbank. And even for the river, the nice thing is that there are fenced areas at the points where the dogs can get into the water, which makes it much easier to keep your eye on your dog. It seems like a lot of thought has gone into this park over the years. I know I used to take our old Black Lab, Peppsy to the park almost daily over twenty years ago. Besides lamenting on how it could possibly have been that long ago, it goes to show what a great area it is. There are also many updates.
Okay, for Betty's sake, because she seemed curious, I looked it up on our friendly neighbourhood Google browser, and it turns out that this dog park was made in 1992, because a citizen's group opposed a golf course proposed for the area and wanted to make it a dog park and preserve the land. We thank you citizen group of 1992! There's a really great site here that gives you some more information on the park, the kind of trees it has, how big it is etc. It also says it's 62 Hectares. Which made me think. What exactly is a hectare? Big., That's my official definition.
Anyhow, to me it will always be THE DOG RUN! That’s what I used to shout in a kind of ridiculously excited voice to Peppsy as we drove up. I even used to go to the park when I was pregnant with my son, who is now twenty. Wait. How can that be?
I’ve ventured over to Sue Higgins with Betty a few times. And maybe it’s just my circle, but I have heard rumblings about the dog park, and some problems with mean dogs and dog fights and humans arguing over dogs. But I haven’t run into anything like that when I’ve been there with Betty. Or Bruce, because yes, our tiny little Chihuahua even joins us in fair weather, and he too has a blast.
The dogs pretty much leave him alone which is exactly what he wants. He had space to walk, and so many new places to pee on. (BTW- Is this what every male dog does? Has to pee on everything? Bruce is the only male dog I’ve had, and he likes to pee on it all. )
For a time my husband was renovating a house in South Calgary and so we made a few trips to this familiar dog park. Something else I never knew was that the dog run had an actual name. Not THEDOGRUN shouted in a high-pitched voice, rather The Sue Higgins Off Leash Park. Which is lovely and I’m sure Sue Higgins was a lovely person if someone named or sponsored a dog park in her name. I mean how could you be anything but lovely to have that honor? Dog people are the best people.
At any rate, Betty and I have been here a few times, and Bruce as well. But. We made a special trip back to the Sue Higgins Off Leash Park aka THE DOG RUN! for our 2021 Betty Does YYC Dog Parks. Because we can. So why not?
Wintertime is, of course, a different season for dog parks in Calgary, especially after big snow falls like we’ve had in earlier winter. When we visited the DOG PARK it was just after New Years, and we still had a HUGE PILES of snow. Like deep, deep snow that needed paths dug out for walking.
I would have to say Sue Higgins Park holds up even under these winter challenges. It’s just a great dog park . There are many different sections, so even if you visit a lot, you can make it a new walk every time by heading in different directions in different order. It’s pretty easy to get in a good walk, about 5km is what Betty and I are trying to do each day and we easily did that.
And we also know from experience that in the warm weather, it’s a great place for dogs who like to swim. There’s lots of spots along the river where dogs like Betty, who love the water, can jump in, and go for a swim. Off course, Betty has become a total asshole with sticks, so we’ll have to see how that goes this summer. We are working on her possession issues, but she is a dirty rat. (She’s also beautiful and the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet, but when she has a stick. Um. No) Anyhow, it’s kind of cool to see the park in different seasons, because as the water rises and falls and freezes and unfreezes, it changes the adventures for the dogs.
There’re wooded areas within the park for sure, but they’re not dense, and are also crowded with people. Not that it’s a bad thing. I've never really minded how many people are at this park because it’s so big, and there’s room for everyone if people are respectful and follow the rules. Which they have, whenever I’ve been there. There’s opportunity for really fun dog play with dogs if that is your particular dog’s jam. Or a dog can go off on his own with his owner and throw a ball or just walk, because there’s lots of room for that too. In the really hot weather, I remember the swimming area sometimes got overcrowded, but for the most part, it’s a great swim spot for doggos.
All in all, I love this dog park and so do a lot of other people in Calgary! It’s a great place for humans to get in a nice walk, and for dogs to roam without worry, because of the fencing. There’s lots of space to do whatever you and your dog are into doing at a dog park. There’s a huge parking lot, and lots of overflow parking. I know this park gets busy on holidays. I haven’t taken a poll, but my guess is that it’s also been getting a lot more use during COVID-19 19. You definitely have to drive to get there, but in these times of social distancing it’s worth it. For the dog, and for you!!!
I think there are some dog bags available at the park, I seem to recall bags being available by users of the park, but for the most part, it's a BYOB (Bring your own poop bag) park. There's lot of garbage containers in the park, to dispose of it too, which is nice unless you're really into carrying around your dog's poop. Which I mean, of course you're not. You're a dog person, not a weirdo. Sue Higgins is definitely on our top 10 list of Calgary Dog Parks. Even though we have lots more dog parks to explore I can't see it getting bumped off!
Have to give the Sue Higgins Off Leash Park a solid 5 paws out of 5 paws.