The increased interest in pet ownership has caused rippling effects. Motels, hotels, stores, rental properties and beaches have chosen to accommodate the public's love for their pooches. Where once the lowly dog was scorned at such venues, they are now welcomed. Businesses have realized the attraction of pet-owning customers is worth far more than a little clean up here and there. Dogs are adored and adorned; clothed and pampered to the point of becoming as children to their owners.
This rise in dog ownership has had an interesting turn in many municipalities. The presence of dog parks has come to the fore in many cities.
These parks are in natural, shaded areas, much like a human park, but are safely and securely fenced and dedicated to dogs and owners. Picnic tables and park benches dot the landscape, and owners are allowed to relax and let dogs run unleashed. Fido is suddenly free. No leash, no cage, no limited apartment or home to confine him.
These parks are designed to give an element of freedom and security to both pets and owners that would otherwise be hard to find. Parks can run from an acre to two or three. Picnic tables provide a comfortable place to dine, use the laptop, read a book or perform other activities while the dog runs free and unfettered. Masters or casual observers can sit comfortably on park benches and watch the antics of "dogs gone wild."
The sedentary lifestyle of many indoor pets creates their own form of "cabin fever." A trip to one of these dog parks becomes an opportunity for them to freely exercise. Dogs can become grumpy and out of sorts at times. A dog park opens up a totally different environment to work off frustrations and simply be a dog.
Chasing squirrels, birds and investigating bugs connects the dog to the real world. The master is still a key component but these new friends, these new sensations and smells are invigorating. "Mom" or "Dad" are always within earshot or are lingering at the park benches where they were previously located.
For dog owners who want to join the dog and get a little of their own exercise, these dog parks are generally roomy enough for a game of fetch, tag or a bit of wrestling. There is also playground equipment designed for dogs at some of the newer dog parks!
On the whole, most parks are grassy, well-maintained and responsible owners do a good job of cleaning up after their pooches with convenient dog waste receptacles on the property. Most pet owners relish the opportunity to allow their dog room and time to run off a little energy and channel away pent-up emotions. Panting for breath and lying at the master's feet is a sign the party's over. Once home, a bowl of food, some water and a comfortable bed can bring both owner and pet some peace and well-deserved quiet time.
Even those who do not own a pet can spend an hour or so at picnic tables or park benches and be entertained by the antics of these animals. Their interaction with owners, other dogs or the local wild birds and other creatures can be highly entertaining.