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  • Where to walk your dog

    From the time we got our first dog, we committed to walking him/her twice a day, unless we experiencing extremes of weather. And for the most part we have stuck by that commitment, knowing the value of physical exercise for both our dog and ourselves. But where to walk?

    It strikes me that there are two types of dog walkers: those that take their dog to the same spot every day, invariably at the same time (give or take) and those that like variety and are prepared to try different routes or venues. Whichever type of dog walker you are, given we are still in March, be aware of some of the challenges that may arise wherever you take your dog. We are in the throws of a significant thaw which immediately raises two red flags to me: thin ice and mud. Having experienced major anxiety first hand when Finn fell through the ice at Elliston Park a couple of years ago, I wish that on no-one. With ice conditions similar to what we have currently, he decided to pursue geese, only to fall through thin ice in the middle of the lake. Furthermore, thawing ice invariably ends up as pooled water, often leading to mud pools which seem very attractive to dogs. So, in taking your dog to an area with water, be prepared for bath time on getting home!

    Irrespective of the time of year, as dog owners we need to act responsibly and observe the rules when it comes to “Off-leash” areas and “On-leash” areas. These areas are generally well signposted and there is no excuse for letting your dog off leash when the signage tells you otherwise. You only have to read comments on, say, Facebook to see how often these regulations are abused. Moreover, people who do not like dogs or people who have timid or anxious dogs, do not appreciate an off-leash dog bounding up to them, even if the dog is friendly and has only come to say “hi”. Play by the rules folks and life becomes less stressful for all concerned!

    As to varying your dog walk, my wife loves to think outside the box and created a project for herself last year during COVID times to attempt to visit all 150+ dog parks in Calgary and rate them based on physical features, safety and parking. To date she has visited about a third of the dog parks and would recommend the following, in no particular order:

    • Auburn Bay dog park (located just south of Stony Trail on 52nd Street S.E.): large open area, fenced all around, no water feature.
    • Sue Higgens dog park (located east of Deerfoot Trail where it intersects with Southland Drive): huge open area, access to the Bow River, fenced all around.
    • Collingwood off-leash park (located where 19 Street N.W. intersects with John Laurie Boulevard): mostly fenced, a gently rolling open area and no water feature.
    • Southwood off-leash area (located at the intersection of 14th Street S.W. and Anderson Road S.W.): large open area, all fenced, with a copse of trees and no water feature.

    There are many other dog parks in the Calgary area which we have yet to visit so I would recommend Googling “Calgary dog parks” if you are looking for other options. 

    Because the options, and quality, is so limited in Chestermere, we have taken the attitude that it’s well worth the time to try “proper” dog parks elsewhere and we haven’t been disappointed yet.