The humans have ALL decided to stay home…

By Chynna Hamm A Good Boy

Henlo friends!

Something magical happened this past year!

The humans have ALL decided to stay home and they’ve started walking even more and that means that I, the goodest boy AKA señor snuggles AKA pupper extraordinaire, AKA your dearly beloved dog, gets to tag along.

So pretty please leash me up as soon as you can and take me to my most favourite place in the world, the dog park!

I do like lying by your feet while you work from home, but I need more of something that I’ve heard the humans call “enrichment.” That’s when you give me cool things to do while you work, like peanut butter filled Kongs, or squeaky toys, but I also like to channel my inner wolf and explore Edmonton’s river valley. I’ve even learned to count to 40 this year, which is the amount of off-leash dog parks that Edmonton has. I’m working on it, but I haven’t been able to count to the number of puppy pals I’ve made during this pupdemic… I mean pandemic.

The super smart humans proved long ago that I can’t give them COVID-19, so please feel free to pet me while I’m at the park. Also, please continue to comment how cute I am with the other humans, just keep one Great Dane length apart (or like 7 Chihuahuas) because now that all the indoor, no-dogs-allowed, unfun human places are closed, everybody (and their dog) comes to the park.

Some of the humans like to keep their funny looking muzzles on (I think they are called masks?), but because we are outside it is not required.

Ironically, I’m the one that has to worry about the spread of germs while playing at the park. Because the parks have been so busy this year and people are bringing their “Pandemic Puppies” to play (spoiled dogs that have been adopted sometime during the big lockdowns and have little to no socialization with other humans or dogs), the rate of unvaccinated dogs has increased.

My favourite big parks like Terwillegar Dog Park and Jackie Parker are always busy with lots of my fur-ends to play with, but the risk of Canine Cough (AKA Bordetella- at least that’s what I’ve heard my scary vet call it) is very high this year. I was once minding my own business playing fetch and this bitch had the audacity to cough right on me! I know that my doggy friends can get Canine Cough from any other place there is another dog, but dog parks are the number one cause. The main thing to do to protect me is to make sure I’m vaccinated by a vet, no matter how guilty I make you feel for taking me.

Dog parks are considered a privilege in many cities and are kept running in Edmonton by volunteer dog park ambassadors. These are the fun people who I always see at the park when I go to play. At my favourite park, Buena Vista Dog Park, these humans are always excited to see me, give me treats, remind my human to make sure I’m playing nice, and even act as the local bartender. Cold water in a silver bowl is what I’ve always ordered, but some dogs take a side of slobber too.

The City of Edmonton has stopped providing poop bags since the beginning of the pupdemic, but my human still insists on collecting mine. She says that even if she forgets her special bags, kind strangers have tied large bags filled with grocery bags to poles to ensure that she can continue her collection. Who could blame her? I am a blessing to the humans, and they honour me by collecting my little presents.

My human says it’s important that when she says my name I come. I have finally started to listen (I assure you its only because I want to, not because I HAVE to) because the many paths at the parks are multi-use.

This means that I have to share the trails (especially at the parks like Terwillegar, Buena Vista, and the Hawrelak Off-Leash Area) with other humans, scary bikes, strollers with the tiny humans in them, those weird boards with wheels, and one time I even saw The Big Dog on the trail (mum calls them “horses”). I love these trails because they are quieter than the main fields that I play in and I can have alone time with my human underneath the beautiful grey trees.

Some of the dog parks I play at offer even more enrichment opportunities. Paisley Dog Park and Manning Park offer areas that are fenced in for me to play and socialize in. Those young puppies I mentioned before (see “Pandemic Puppies”, or honestly just “doodles” because that’s all the humans seem to adopt these days) should start by playing at these types of parks because they are controlled environments. Socialized dogs like me are extremely happy, and my human says it’s because of all my time spent at the dog park. My human is right, I am God’s gift to this world, and an extremely well-behaved boy (the GOODEST boy, if you will).

Is that the leash I see you pulling out now? Dog parks are wonderful places to walk, enjoy nature, and sniff some really good butts.

Pretty please come to the dog park with me, and we can nurture both of our well beings. As the weather gets nicer, it will be even more enjoyable to spend time outside with me, your bestest friend.

Edmonton Dog Park Map
City of Edmonton off-leash dog park information page