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Parks and Recreation- Part 2: Okay, Dogs ARE Allowed in the Dog Park.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Parks and Recreation- Part 2: Okay, Dogs ARE Allowed in the Dog Park....
So angledge asked me to explain Dog Church.  This was my first time in this particular novitiate, but I think I sort-of understand it.  The idea is not far off from a retreat, or a monastery weekend, or other experience where you simply get away from the binds and bonds of everyday life and just breathe in the simplicity and quiet of a solemn and separate experience...

It's just done with a bunch of friends who poop outside.

Our sanctuary was Ellicott Creek Park- more particularly, "Bark Park"- the Island portion of it that is controlled by a single bridge and airlock-style entry point for the pups:

The whole park's history is fascinating:

The Park originated in 1926 with an area of 40 acres of land. The majority of the original park was acquired through the purchasing of private land and County tax foreclosures (1936 & 1937). As with the other three original parks WPA crews built structural construction. The WPA structures included the Boathouse & concession stand (1939), shelters, recreation facilities, and the boat dock. Ellicott Island, A.K.A Island at "three mile bend" was constructed to make the creek more navigable and divert canal traffic. Charles Ellicott, a Landscape Architect, heavily influenced the island in the design process. The spur in development in the late 30's through the 40's created the peak popularity with boaters and families.

When this portion of the park "went to the dogs" in 2014, it was the perfect place: the limiting of entry to the one bridge (barring serious doggie-paddling) ensures that the pups can't get completely away.  And all those structures you see on the pre-Bark map have been either repurposed or are just big playrooms for the dogs who pass by.

Here are Ebony's companions at the start of the walking round the island: Jazz, the brownish one on the left, nine years old or so; and Ursula, the darker Alaskan husky in front of her, who's closer to Ebony's almost 14 years:

But other dogs quickly joined the party; this was early on when I still had her on leash, lest it all just overwhelm her into mayhem (august-hem, I guess):

Jazz's daddy Dave, approaching one of the former boathouses on the island...

...where Jazz had already let herself in....

Our dainty dog, meanwhile, wanted nothing to do with the water all around the island.  Even offleash, this is about as close as she ever got:

And this was kinda hilarious on a morning where it was 80F before 9 am and we might never actually see ice again outside a freezer:

Somebody put a Little Free Library inside one of the old shelters:

Ann and Dave from the Dogs Eye View, with Ursula a bit up the trail....

.... and Ann from the front, setting up her own shot of a carving being done on a dead tree in the middle of the park:

with provenance:

I'd asked if I'd need to bring water for Ebony on a hot morning. No worries, Ann assured me; there are bowls and a fountain, plus it's on an island.  Tell that to Miss Snob, though: Ebony wouldn't go in the creek, wouldn't accept from my own stash of Wegmans spring water poured into a bowl, and when she got to this after Jazz-

- she turned her nose up again and just kept panting.

Should've just put an open toilet bowl out there; THAT, she'll drink from:P

The friends of the Park are trying to attract more than just the dogs:

And here are two of our tuckered congregants right before the end of the service (Jazz, the youngest, actually has the bigger leg issues and needed some encouragement to get back to the exit):

This being Dog Church, we finished with communion, as treats were passed out for the Very Good Girls.  Despite the "Bark Park" name, we heard very little barking and almost no aggression from anyone for the entire time.  Unfortunately, Ebony associates unconventional treats with OMGTHEVET, so she turned her nose up again, I'll bring Beggin Strips next time- for all of them.

Few words were spoken, and there was a distinct aroma to the air inhaled, but we all had a blast. Ebony was unconscious for most of the afternoon, enjoying everything she saw, heard and smelled.

Praise Dogs.
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angledge From: angledge Date: August 16th, 2016 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
First: that's an awesome dog park.

Second: I have often thought that visiting a dog park is one of the best treatments for depression I've yet found. If a whole vista of wagging tails doesn't cheer you up, nothing will.

Third: so what makes this Dog Church? Are you treating it as a walking meditation? Do other people call it Dog Church?
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