From Cara Scharf. Email her at cara[AT]borderstan.com.
On most Saturdays, you can find me at the S Street Dog Park. It sounds normal until you learn that I don’t have a dog. I’m a self-professed “dog-park stalker,” one of those people who stands outside the fence, staring longingly at other people’s dogs because I’m not lucky (read, stable) enough to have my own.
Who You’ll Find at the Dog Park
In all my ogling, I’ve noticed that there are a couple of dog and owner archetypes that inhabit the dog park. Here are a few:
- The helicopter owners: Watch out, Fido. These people are not leaving you alone for a second. Find a neat stick? Prepare to be scolded. Want to run with the other dogs? Good luck making it three feet before you’re called back. The helicopter owners rarely socialize with other humans, unless it’s to shake their head in commiseration about bad behavior.
- The social butterfly owners: These owners know everyone else’s name and business. As soon as they arrive, they’re exchanging greetings and asking how your party went last night. This often results in the owners ignoring their dog’s bowel movement or “excessive barking” (which, according to a stern sign, is prohibited).
- The old dog who can’t be bothered: Take a cue from the white hairs on this dog’s muzzle — he or she is not down with the running around and general merriment of the dog park. You’ll find this dog sitting under a bench out of the sun, but you’ll find its owner in the middle of a snarling pack of canines, desperately encouraging socialization.
- The runner dog: The gate of the dog park is hardly closed and this dog is already off, running circles around the pee-drenched grass with several other dogs hotly on his tail. He can also take the form of an instigator, the one who doesn’t mind getting in a scuffle or showing some tooth to prove his dominance. Owners might be too absorbed in their cell phones to notice this behavior, or they’re just not sure what to do about it.
- The little butt-sniffer and the big-butt sniffee who could care less: Self-explanatory… though I should clarify that these are dogs and not humans.
Where do you and your dog fit, or are you a stalker like me?
Think of dog parks as playgrounds for our four-legged friends. Dog parks allow our pups to exercise, socialize and cut lose in this gorgeous DC fall weather. If you’re looking for a local park to take your dog, look no further. We have a list of dog parks in the neighborhood and nearby.
Neighborhood Dog Parks
- Shaw Dog Park (1673 11th Street NW, between Rhode Island and R Street NW). This neighborhood favorite is open Monday through Friday from 7 am until 10 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am until 10 pm. Check out the park’s new website for community information and doggy tips.
- S Street Dog Park or 17th Street Dog Park (17th and S Streets NW). This dog park, which looks like a triangle of grass right next to New Hampshire Avenue NW, was just renovated. Renovations included fixing tears and holes in the K9Grass surface, power-washing and vacuuming the turf, cleaning the turf with odor-killing enzymes and anti-microbial sprays, removing dead trees and stumps, planting new trees in the park and covering the tree and bench area with wood chips.The 17th and S dog park is managed by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and is frequently cleaned by neighborhood volunteers. For more information on the park, call or email the DC Department of Parks and Recreation at (202) 671-0421 or dpr.dogparks[AT]dc.gov.
- Bundy Dog Park (P Street NW between 5th Street and New Jersey Avenue). Brand new to the Shaw neighborhood, Bundy just opened on April 7, 2012. The park opens at 7 am everyday, and closes at dusk. For more information, visit the website.
- Walter Pierce (2630 Adams Mill Road). Located closer to Adams Morgan, Walter Pierce provides a very green, fenced-in park for dogs. For more information, visit the dog park’s website.
- Mitchell Park (23rd and S Street NW). Yes, the playground and the tennis court at Mitchell Park are great, but so is the giant, open grassy space for Dupont’s dogs. Great for frisbee throwing or just running free, Mitchell Park is a good option in the neighborhood. The area is not fenced in (and is close to traffic), so make sure your dog is not a sprinter.
Nearby Dog Parks and Doggy Day Trips
If you and your best friend are feeling a little more adventurous, there are plenty of nearby destinations and day trips perfect for dogs.
- The Shirlington Dog Park (2601 South Arlington Mill Drive, Arlington). The Shirlington Dog Park is one of the best and biggest in the DC Metro area. The park seems to extend for miles and even has a large creek for the dogs to play in.
- Jones Point (off of Lee Street and Green Street in Old Town Alexandria – See map). Located on the Potomac River, just south of Old Town Alexandria, Jones Point is a historical (and beautiful) location. Dogs must remain on leash, but the walk to the park and along the river makes the restrictions worth the visit. Jones Point Park is open year-round from 6 am to 10 pm.
- The Billy Goat Trail and Great Falls. It’s amazing to think that Great Falls is practically in our little urban backyard — it definitely feels worlds (or at least towns) away. The Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls offers scenic views and hiking along the Potomac River.
- The Dog Beach at Calvert Cliffs State Park (9500 H. G. Trueman Road Lusby, Maryland). This Maryland State Park has a beach just for dogs. You have to hike to get to the beach, so pack some extra water and some treats for your pup.
No, this is not a casting call for another catchy canine tune along the lines of “Who Let the Dogs Out.” But on Sunday, August 26, scouts will seek-out DC’s pups with personality at the Shaw Dog Park (1673 11th Street NW) from noon until 2 pm.
Hoping you can star alongside of your furry friend? Pack your resume and a headshot, the directors will also be casting actors for extras in the video.
For more information, email [email protected]
Rover: get ready to rock and roll with your four-legged buddies! This summer’s repairs and renovations to one of Borderstan’s favorite dog parks are now complete — and boy, does the park look good!
Repairs to the 17th and S Streets NW dog park took place during the month of July. The scheduled work included fixing tears and holes in the K9Grass surface, power-washing and vacuuming the turf, cleaning the turf with odor-killing enzymes and anti-microbial sprays, removing dead trees and stumps, planting new trees in the park and covering the tree and bench area with wood chips.
The 17th and S dog park is managed by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and is frequently cleaned by neighborhood volunteers. For more information on the park, call or email the DC Department of Parks and Recreation at (202) 671-0421 or [email protected].
The Shaw Dog Park Association has a new look – and it launched this week. The newly redesigned website provides visitors with a fresh new look and an easier way to navigate information on the Shaw Dog Park and the Shaw community.
The new platform also allows gives park volunteers an easier way to register for events! And if you recognize the homepage’s graphic, you’re not alone — it’s from local artist, Dave Peterson.
The Shaw Dog Park is located at 1673 11th Street NW (between Rhode Island and R) and is open Monday through Friday from 7 am until 10 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am until 10 pm.
The popular neighborhood 17th and S Dog Park, renovations are scheduled to begin this month. Known and adored for its K9Grass surface, the canine playground will undergo necessary turf repairs, turf cleaning and landscaping. The work is scheduled to start on Monday, July 9, and is expected to take three-to-four weeks.
Some of the scheduled work includes: fixing tears and holes in the turf, power-washing and vacuuming the turf, cleaning the turf with odor-killing enzymes and anti-microbial sprays, removing dead trees and stumps, planting new trees in the park and covering the tree and bench area with wood chips.
As of now, it is uncertain if the dog park will be closed across the duration of its repairs, or if parts of it will remain open throughout the work.
For more information, call or email the DC Department of Parks and Recreation at (202) 671-0421 or [email protected].
The following information on Leptospirosis is for informational purposes for dog owners. If you have concerns about your dog and the disease, and the vaccine for it, contact your vet.
I was forwarded a blog post from the Bloomingdale neighborhood blog about a dog that may have died from Leptospirosis. The reader said he immediately called his vet about scheduling this year’s Leptospirosis vaccination and the clinic said he was the third caller of the day asking about the disease and the vaccination. As a result, I felt it was necessary to pass along the information to our readers.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by a family of organisms known as Leptospira interrogans. As a water-borne bacteria, it is spread most commonly by contamination of water sources by infected urine of wildlife and domestic animals.
Read more: Infectious Diseases of Dogs – VetInfo Until recently, vaccines were available for only two strains, Leptospirosis canicola and L. icterhaemorrhagiae, but vaccines for two additional types, L. grippotyphosa and L. pomona, which are the culprits for the latest outbreaks in other urban areas such as New York City, are now on the market.
Since there seems to be a sudden outbreak of Leptospirosis here in DC now — and some animals in our area are getting very sick — it appears that the benefits outweigh the risks of a vaccination. Remember that Leptospirosis vaccines may only protect dogs for six to eight months, so veterinarians in high risk areas recommend twice-yearly vaccination. Continue working with your vet to determine the risks in upcoming months.
Because there are seven (or more!) strains of this virus, a vaccine is not always guaranteed to inoculate your pet against the threat. Moreover, a lot of dogs have allergic reactions to the vaccine, which makes it difficult to decide whether or not to even get the vaccine.
I have never been a fan of vaccinations. I believe we routinely over-vaccinate our animals and it causes them a long list of health problems. Many times we are encouraged to vaccinate against diseases that haven’t been seen in years, or re-vaccinate every year when the initial vaccination should protect against the disease for much longer (when’s the last time you had a vaccination?
That said, since there seems to be a sudden outbreak of lepto here in DC now — and some animals in our area are getting very sick — it appears that the benefits outweigh the risks. Also, keep in mind that Leptospirosis vaccines may only protect dogs for six to eight months, so veterinarians in high risk areas recommend twice-yearly vaccination. Continue working with your vet to determine the risks in upcoming months.
Dogs that frequent dog parks and like to drink standing water are especially at risk. Since we’ve had so much rain here in the past few weeks, it is not surprising that there has been an increase in reported dogs cases of Leptospirosis. Also, cats can catch lepto as well, but they don’t get sick. Essentially, they are carriers of the disease. This is dangerous because of the number of feral cats that can be spreading the disease through their urine.
Henry Boer, DVM of Pioneer Valley Veterinary Hospital in western Massachusetts writes, “Symptoms are typical of kidney and liver disease, and can include fever, loss of appetite, muscle pain, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding. Some dogs will have an increased water consumption and urine output while others may have a decreasing output of urine. Jaundice may occur, and the dog may be painful in the abdominal area or in the lower back.”
A blood test will show liver or kidney involvement, and the disease is confirmed by finding the bacteria in a urine sample or in a liver or kidney biopsy.
Once diagnosed, lepto can be treated with common antibiotics such as penicillin, tetracycline and erythromycin. In advanced cases, therapies to deal with any liver or kidney involvement will also be necessary. I would also recommend a regiment of holistic options that keep liver function healthy by using milk thistle and dandelion root.
A dog that has recovered from disease caused by one strain of Leptospirosis will be protected from disease caused by that strain in the future, but that protection does not cross species. Unfortunately, the dog will remain susceptible to other forms of the disease.
For the time being, I would suggest keeping your dog away from standing water so they don’t drink from it, and talk to your vet about the vaccination options they have. They will have the most up-to-date information on the virus. Make sure to talk to them about possible side effects and do research on your breed. Small dogs are more prone to reactions than the larger breeds. Again, the benefits may outweigh the risks, but you need to know what to look out for.
Remember: Always be informed!
Editor’s note: Borderstan welcomes Tori Tyree back with her weekly column on you and your pets. She is the owner of Walk of the Town, a dog walking and pet sitting company. Tyree has been working with animals most of her life — caring for them in animal hospitals, training dogs, volunteering at zoos and the Washington Humane Society, and counseling customers about pet nutrition.
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From Tori Tyree
The dog park can really be a wonderful place to bring your dog so she can run around and socialize with other dogs and people. However, going to the dog park (local parks listed at bottom) is not a free pass for owners. You should never think of it as a chance to eat lunch or talk on the phone.
In other words, you must be alert and engaged for the sake of your dog — and the other dogs and people in the park. Here are seven dog park tips to remember so that every dog stays safe, including yours.
Forget the Phone. The majority of the problems I see at the park are the result of owners who are completely disengaged from their animal. This is a big no-no. You shouldn’t do it, and if you see a lot of other people doing it, it should be a signal to skip the park that day.
While the debate over rules and regulations–and how to enforce them–takes place for the 17th Street dog park, a reader went online and found examples from other locales. Thanks to reader Avi for these:
I have to believe that DC Parks and Recreation, Circle Dogs DC (Facebook Page) and ANC 2B have spent some time studying what other cities and counties have done in terms of dog park rules and regulations.
Also, Shaw Dogs is holding its monthly meeting next Wednesday the 21st at 7 p.m. at Hotel Helix. Shaw Dogs is the group that takes care of the dog park on 11th Street NW (south of R Street). They have a listserv and information on Yahoo! Groups.
Note: Neighbor Julie from Borderstan attended last night’s meeting on the 17th Street dog park at the DC Jewish Community Center. Following is Julie’s report.
First and foremost, NOTHING WAS RESOLVED regarding issues on the 17th Street dog park. No changes (from the government point of view) are likely to flow from this meeting. Commissioner Meehan, however, seemed eager to get some sort of resolution passed at tonight’s ANC meeting. I don’t believe there was enough of a consensus to make that possible.
Attendees numbered about 35. Emotions were running fairly high. While discussion could be heated, it remained civil. Many issues were brought up for discussion–though due to time limitations and the many points of view–the discussion focused primarily on operating hours of the park and the number of dogs allowed in the park at any one time. It was suggested that a follow-up meeting take place in 1 to 2 months to further discuss the issues and their suggested resolutions. (more…)
Before reading, you might want to read the posting directly below, “TUESDAY: 17th Street Dog Park Community Meeting.” From the posting: The Dupont Current ran a front page story in last week’s paper, “Park success may lead to bone of contention.” ANC 2B/Dupont Commissioner Bob Meehan is quoted in the Current story and told the paper that the believes the meeting will focus on hours of operation, the number of dogs in the park at any one time and whether un-neutered male dogs should be permitted on the premises.
Prohibition of un-neutered males in the dog park? I see. Okay…
No disrespect to Commissioner Meehan is intended here; he was one of the ANC 2B/Dupont commissioners who worked very hard to make this dog park reality. And, as a dog owner, I know how contentious these issues can be. I am sure Meehan was just saying what some dog park regulars have suggested.
However, if it is decided that male dogs who are un-neutered are going to be banned from the 17th Street dog park, I have some questions: (more…)
DC Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a community meeting on Tuesday about the operations of the new dog park at 17th-S-New Hampshire NW. Location is the DC Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q NW at 7 p.m. Here is a notice from the Facebook page of Circle Dogs DC:
Circle Dogs DC will be at a community meeting at 7pm on 13 Oct at the JCC (16th and Q). It will be a forum to discuss any dog park related issues, including rules, hours, comments, compliments, etc. Please plan to attend if you can! If you cannot and want something brought up, please email your question or comment to the gmail account and we will bring them to DPR’s attention.
I know from personal experience as a dog owner in the hood that there are issues about the dog park. The two I am aware of are the number of dogs in the park (a sign at the entrance says a maximum of 12 dogs in the park at one time) as well as parents allowing small children to play in the park (my own personal hot button). Since dogs are a serious issue in Borderstan, this ought to be an interesting meeting. (more…)
There was a nice turnout for Ray, with about 50 supporters, including community and political activists as well as ANC 2B-Dupont commissioners.
I counted four of the nine ANC 2B commissioners this morning and Vice Chair Will Stephens gave an introductory speech for Ray, as did LGBT and neighborhood activist Peter Rosenstein. My volunteer experience over the years tells me that this was a good sign for Ray–these are the kind of people you need to run a campaign and win an election.
A couple of people told me that Clark Ray–candidate for DC Council and former head of DC Parks and Recreation until his dismissal by Mayor Adrian Fenty in April–was at the ribbon cutting for the park. Some of his supporters were on hand, too, wearing Ray stickers.
Nothing unusual there… but Fenty, Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) and Ximena Hartsock (Ray’s replacement) all recognized Ray from the podium at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies today, giving him credit for his role in creation of both the Shaw Dog Park and the 17th Street park.
Ironic that Fenty fires Ray, but then gives Ray credit for his good work. I guess I do have to give Fenty credit for recognizing Ray, but some days it is tough to figure out our mayor.
(Full disclosure: I know Ray and am supporting him in his bid against incumbent Phil Mendelson in the 2010 Democratic Primary for an At-Large Council seat.)
“Thanks” to commenter on Wednesday’s “Dog Park Update: The Grass is Always Greener When It’s Artificial,” for pointing us to the February 10 news release on the dog park at 17th-S-New Hampshire NW… the shiny-grass like-green stuff that went down this week is K9 Grass.