Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Vero Beach Dog Park!!!!

The crew on aCappella has been to dozens of dog parks. It's one of the amenities we consider when choosing where to stop. The biggest problem is finding one close by. Often they require transportation, like the one we visited in Cocoa Beach, or a very long walk.

There are a few places were the park is right near the marina or anchorage. Vero Beach has been a favorite of the crew going all the way back to Tucker.  Dyna and Dylan spent many hours there in the past. We're been so often we've developed ongoing friendships including Jim Welles who had Dyna and Dylan to his house on more than one occasion for a swim.

We met Jim and his lab Duke over 5 years ago at what was then an informal dog park. It was a large field near the Vero Beach City Marina where dogs and their people met each day. Even though it was far back from the road, no fence meant everyone had to be vigilant. Residents would bring water for the dogs to drink. It was open to the river so our water loving canines often found their way in, not always with good results.

About a year ago Jim told us about plans to make it into a real dog park. Jim, along with others, formed Friends of the Vero Beach Dog Park and began raising money and getting support from the community. We were excited and couldn't wait to return and see what they had done.

We just spent three days at the Vero Beach City Marina and this is the best dog park the crew has seen, bar none. The first thing we noticed was the size. It is huge! 3-4 times the size of any dog park we have been to. The picture above was taken standing in the center - the fence is just before the yellow building. Now imagine that all the way around. Not only does it facilitate lots of running and exercise, it prevents those doggie squabbles that can erupt when confined to a smaller space.

Everything about it is just right with lots of doggie bag stations and trash cans scattered about, beautiful canvas awnings with chairs to shade dogs and people, doggie water fountains, tons of balls and Frisbees and tug toys donated by owners, there's even memorial pavers at the entrances to help raise funds. The park runs solely from donations.

And of course lots of dogs. Friendly dogs and friendly owners are everywhere. 40-50 dogs on the two beautiful days and even 20 or so when it was windy and rainy.


Dylan and Dee Dee loved it. Dylan made a special friend, Winchester.

While Dee Dee was the social butterfly making the rounds.

Every once in a while they would stop to catch their breath but then a ball got thrown or a dog trotted by and they were off.

Our mooring was nearest the shore, right next to the dog park. So Dylan and Dee Dee got to enjoy the park even when they weren't there. From the bow the kids could hear the barks, see friends through the trees, and I'm sure smell the doggy aroma. Dee Dee would look across and think, "Heck, I could swim that." We couldn't even look at the dinghy without pandemonium breaking out on the cockpit. It's clear we'll have to make this a stop when heading back north.

Mom and Dad certainly enjoyed watching the kids play and meeting other dog parents. But the real reward - two tired out crew members means a quiet, peaceful night. I bet they're dreaming about the dog park...


Leigh said...

We were so pleased to see all the work done on the dog park when we were in Vero a few months ago. Was already such a nice, big space with friendly folks and dogs, and the fence, water stations, etc. just make it even better. Thanks for sharing the story behind the park and the people who make it so great!

Jack son said...

But dogs are not bears, they don't need hibernation, and lack of socialization for a pack animal damages that dogs mind. Boredom and lack of exercise reduces a dog fitness in many aspects and shortens their lives.
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