Oscar and Charlie from the Pet Greets team recently went on their holidays to Dublin. Staying in an apartment for a few days meant they missed their big garden. While they were brought to the beach and the nearby park, the dogs missed their off-lead play which they usually have daily at home in the garden. Last Sunday we decided to visit the Dog Park in Cabinteely, Dublin 18. I have to say, it was a fantastic facility. Nestled up the back of the beautiful picturesque Cabinteely park is a fenced off area (approximately 1/2 an acre) of doggy heaven. Dogs are permitted in all parts of the park, once they remain on the lead. Once within the boundaries of the dog park, off-lead play is allowed.
Upon entering the dog park there are signs outlining the rules of the park (the main one being to be sure to clean up after your pooch). What really impressed me was the security of the park. There are 2 entrances, both with 2 gates (which you can see in the gallery below). In the (unlikely) event your dog sneaks out the gate while another dog is leaving, there is another gate to prevent them escaping out into the main park. When we arrived we were greeted by a number of dogs who were already playing together. Our Oscar was a little bit overwhelmed at first, he is a bit nervous of big dogs so we kept him on the lead until he settled. We saw the back of the dog park was currently empty so decided to base ourselves there so our dogs could settle in.
Well, they had a great time. Charlie enjoyed playing with her ball and Oscar loved running around collecting sticks and rolling in the grass. Occasionally another dog would run up hoping to play with our two, but once they realised that Oscar and Charlie prefer to play with their family, they scampered off down the park to find another friend. Never once did we feel intimidated, generally all of the dogs in the park (big and small) were very friendly.
I took some time to observe the other dogs playing in the park, 3 dogs in particular had formed a play group and similarly their owners sat on the bench together chatting away for the evening. One of these dogs, a beautiful Samoyed Husky, was covered head to toe in mud after an hour of splashing in the puddles with her new friends (a beagle and a husky cross). I spoke to her owner about her thoughts on the dog park; they visit the park every Saturday and Sunday. She finds it to be a fantastic facility, her dog is now very socialised and loves playing with other dogs. During the summer months the park is open until 10.30pm, so owners can bring their dogs for some well deserved exercise after they get home from work.
Later in the evening, after the park had quietened down, a lady with a Ruby Cavalier King Charles and a Bichon Frise came along. Oscar and Charlie, now used to the park, were happy to play with these dogs and took up off the park with them. I also spoke to their owner, she said at times she doesn’t come in when it is busy or if there are a lot of bigger dogs. While the dogs are friendly and wouldn’t cause any harm, she felt big dog play is quite different to small dog play. I asked her would she feel more comfortable if the park was enhanced and there were two different sections separating the big dogs from the small dogs. While she felt that would encourage more small dog owners to use the park, she felt the council may be reluctant to do so, as it was a long struggle for the dog parks to be provided in the first place.
I was very impressed by the dog owners in the park, all stayed close to their dog with their lead in hand. If any dog got a little boisterous or over-excited, the owner would get them and put them back on the lead. This seemed to be the etiquette of the park and all owners were very responsible. I found this very reassuring and it made me comfortable to want to bring my dogs back another time. We were there for 2 hours and not once did we see a fight, or any dog showing signs of aggression.
When I told other dog owners that there wasn’t a dog park available in Cork, they were genuinely shocked. In this day and age when people are working long days, it is very important for your dog to get some exercise, especially if they are in the house most of the day. And let’s be honest, you cannot beat getting out in the fresh air. Not only is it good for the dog, it is also good for the owner. From a dog owner’s perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the dog park. It was a social outing and I got to meet some like-minded people - dog owners.
Overall our experience was excellent, once they settled in Oscar and Charlie had a great time. Towards the end they were even open to making new friends. The park was clean, secure and enabled our dogs to get some exercise in the fresh air. They were so tired after their outing they slept sound for the rest of the night.
I know a number of other parties and groups are campaigning for a Cork Dog Park. The Pet Greets team would happily support these campaigns. We would regularly bring our dogs to such a facility. While Dublin has a bigger population, geographically Cork is significantly bigger and it really is shocking that such a facility is not available for pet owners. Let’s rally together, new Councillors will be elected next week, so let’s get a Cork dog park once and for all!
Have you experienced a dog park? Would you like to ask us questions about our visit? Please post a comment and we would love to hear from you.
As a pet owner you have most likely read the book or seen the film “Marley and Me”, the story about an ordinary family and the world’s worst dog. We have all laughed and cried at the lovely moments captured in this story. But I believe that there once was a dog from Cork (Ireland) that could give John Grogan’s Marley a run for his money. This dog was Gizmo, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was the loveliest, craziest and most mischievous dog known to man.
Those who met Gizmo will say he was a unique character. I have never met (and don’t think I ever will) a dog like him. He touched a lot of hearts and I would like to share his story with you all. Once a brazen pup that caused destruction everywhere he went, who unfortunately struggled with a rare illness for a couple of years before finally crossing Rainbow Bridge in April 2013.
In May 2003, we received a call from a friend whose work colleague was looking to rehome her dog due to a change in circumstances. A month earlier, we had said goodbye to our darling Shih Tzu Snuffles who had passed away. Unsure if we were ready to replace Snuffles, we went to visit a 9 month old Cavalier King Charles called Rossa.
Unsurprisingly, we left the visit with Rossa in tow ready to offer him his new forever home. The whole car journey home, this lunatic of a dog jumped from back to front, climbed on my lap/head, licked me, nibbled me, scratched me. At 14 years of age I was so excited to have a new puppy, but I quickly realised the name Rossa did not suit his character, this dog definitely needed a more playful name. I looked at him while I called out a number of different names, “Buster”….”Rover”….”Lucky”….”Gizmo”…then the dog stopped and looked at me. I repeated “Gizmo” and I just knew that this was the perfect name for our new little Gremlin.
When we got home Gizmo literally ran around in circles and marked his territory (all over the house) for a few hours. I think mum was wondering what sort of alien was this, is he even a dog? But it was hard not to fall in love with him, he had the biggest brown eyes and floppy ears almost the size of his body.
It took Gizmo all of 5 minutes to settle into his new home. I was studying for my Junior Cert and every day when I came home from school he insisted on helping me with the study and homework. He was a great help, that is if you consider stealing my pens and chewing my books as being productive. Believe me, the dog ate my homework was a genuine excuse in my house! But this became a tradition, all the way through school and up until I finished college, Gizmo sat with me on the couch while I did my homework and assignments. If the door was ever closed he would cry until he was allowed join me, he was my study buddy and my lucky charm for exams.
One day, when he was still less than a year old we heard some crying from upstairs, we then realised it was Gizmo…somehow, and we still do not know how, the dog manage to get up on the windowsill in one of the bedrooms. Not only that, he had stole one of my slippers en route and managed to carry it up there with him. Of course we saved our little puppy, but not before taking a photograph to remember the funny event .
Gizmo and I fought a custody battle for a number of years. I had bought myself a Stitch teddy (from Lilo & Sitch) in the Disney store. Every day when I was out, he would come up to my bedroom, take the teddy and bring it to his bed. A few years later we eventually resolved the conflict as I purchased him his own Stitch teddy…
Teddy’s were not the only things Gizmo would steal; he was very fond of ladies underwear (particularly Bras). You would frequently find an ensemble of items in “Gizmo’s Den” (next to the tumble dryer). Every morning, Gizmo had my poor mother running around while he cleared the coffee table in the living room. He collected lighters, cigarettes, and pens and brought them to his den. He also was fond of chewing gum…Gizmo learned that if he opened the zip on a handbag it was very likely he would find some chewing gum (how the dog was not poisoned I do not know).
Then there was his passion for bins. From the bedroom bins he would steal items such as cotton buds; I don’t think I have enough fingers to count the number of times I had to put my hand down his throat to remove these so he wouldn’t choke. Being “clever humans” we purchased pedal bins, surely these would be dog friendly, but sadly not. Gizmo figured out that by copying the humans and standing on the kitchen bin pedal it would open, now he had an all you can eat buffet of rubbish and food scraps.
Gizmo also enjoyed a spot of gardening, he assisted my parents one day by eating half a bag of compost fertiliser….thankfully it was chemical free and passed through his system (although the clean-up following this ordeal was not fun….)
There are a lot more stories to come about Cork’s worst dog… check back soon for the next instalment of the Gizmo Chronicles.
We would love to hear stories from our readers about their dogs getting up to mischief. Has your pet eaten some object they shouldn’t have? Does your pet have a fetish with ladies underwear? Post a comment below and share your stories, we would love to hear them!
The Pet Greets Team