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.