It’s funny how one discovers new social outlets. Human beings crave social interactions and form relationships based on mutual interests starting from a young age. It starts with play dates and graduates to sport teams, school activities, social clubs, and then finally work related groups or your child’s activities.
Until I got a dog I never realized that there was a whole community focused around dogs and their activities as well. I have developed new social relationships based on my time at the local dog parks. Dog people in general are very social and love talking about their dogs. It is so easy to strike up a conversation at the dog park. What breed is your dog, what is your dog’s name, how old is your dog are great conversation starters. This inevitably leads to shared stories about your dog antics or training issues. It was in this way I met my friend Carey and our book was born. In the course of marketing our book, Carey and I have visited dog parks all across Southern California which was in part to market our book to other dog lovers, but also in part to vary our dog’s social interactions and environment. At each and every dog park that we have visited we have found a solid social group or if you will a community of dog people. They have bonded over their dogs and enjoy sharing their experiences. The people and the dogs meet regularly for play dates and conversation. It is a whole new community within a community.
I started thinking that like the local community parks and play areas, a dog park is an essential part of a community. This is nothing new in warm weather areas and urban areas where dog parks are the norm but the dog park concept is catching on in other parks of the country as well. In my hometown of Toledo, Ohio, they recently opened their first ever dog park. It was a brand new concept for them. In the smaller towns in the Midwest where people have large yards, there is typically no need for dog parks and a place to exercise their dogs, but the concept of socializing your dog and their humans has caught on. We are seeing new dog parks in community development plans and also dog focused amenities in new housing builds (that is a conversation for another day!). Earlier this year, a local community near me opened a brand new community park and in addition to the baseball fields, soccer fields, children’s play areas there was a dog park as well designed with both the dogs and humans in mind. It is a great dog park and is always busy!
I love the fact that dogs as part of our families are now being recognized as part of our communities as well.
What are your thoughts on dog parks as part of the community?