It’s an extended family that sometimes leads to friendships outside of the fenced grassy acreage. — Amy Lovett
209 DOG PARKS TURLOCK of dogs and humans come to socialize as neighbors and pets build friendships. One story that stands out to Pinkston is of a recently widowed woman. The widow was only drawn from her bed to bring her dog to the park. The dog’s need for exercise gave her purpose and the dog park provided the venue. However, every city does not have a dog park, the funds or a nonprofit like the Friends of Modesto Dog Park. Ripon resident Amy Lovett travels to Stockton or Modesto to take her dog, Kali, to the park. “We can run and play at home but the interaction with other dogs is completely different than what I can ever give her at home,” said Amy. “Kali is always exhausted when we leave and wears a smile on her face.” To Lovett, dog parks are important for socializing and safe environments. “There is never a dull moment. Even when the skies are gray and sprinkles are in the air, you can usually find another dog family out at the park to make it worthwhile,” she said. There is always someone to strike up a conversation, and sometimes, even form bonds with: “It’s an extended family that sometimes leads to friendships outside
of the fenced grassy acreage.” Lovett adds, “It’s amazing the changes I’ve seen in her, for the better. She has always been happy-go-lucky but she knows how to interact and play with the other dogs.” Like many other dog owners, she would like to see more dedicated dog parks. “There are so many people with dogs that are treated like family and try to incorporate their furry children into their everyday lives,” she added. For Kristin Montgomery, her entire family benefits from the park. Her half lab, half boxer mix is given a spacious place to explore after moving from a 47acre ranch. Judging from Pep’s tail wagging, romping, and smiling, she thinks the stimulation, other dogs and humans he meets encourages everyone to be social. “I enjoy conversations with the other dog owners, who all put their pets’ needs on par with — or above — their own,” said Montgomery. “For the kids, it allows them to learn to interact with dogs of all types and not fear them. I enjoy seeing the different breeds and personalities of dogs. It reminds me of the creativity of God in designing animals, and helps me remember that all of us are exceptional, even if we look the same.” ■ 209MAGAZINE
The Swanson-Centennial Dog Park Corner of N. Countryside Drive and Tuolumne Sunnyview Park 500 S. Berkeley Avenue
Modesto Dog Park 601 E. Morris Avenue
Merced Dog Park Yosemite Ave and R St.
El Pescadero Park 301 W. Grant Line Road
Barkleyville Dog Park 5399 Feather River Drive Michael Faklis Park 5250 Consumnes Drive
Beckman Park 1426 West Century Boulevard Vinewood Park 1824 West Today Street Dog areas are also located at: Lodi Lake Park and Lawrence Park in Lodi
that all dogs are required to be up to date with shots if you plan on bringing them to parks. In addition, parks are mainly open from sunrise to sunset and some include separated sections for dog size.