Meet me at the dog park
“We learned the dogs’ names way before we learned each other’s,” says Mélissa, laughing. Almost every day, they make their way to their dog park, where their dogs are reunited with their friends.
“They’re all about a year and a half old and have known each other since they were puppies,” says Jessica.
Socialization for everyone
“Chewie was completely out of control—he was destroying everything in the house! We had to start coming here, for his sake and for mine. It gives me the chance to be around other people,” says Mélissa, who is self-employed.
For Sheila, her daily routine at the dog run became even more meaningful during her pregnancy and after the birth of her baby, who snoozes comfortably against her while the family dog runs around and Sheila socializes. “We get out of the house because of them … and thanks to them,” the new mother says, looking down at Blé.
Scoobie, a one-and-a-half-year-old boxer, bounds over. “She’s 17 months old,” says Jack, her “dad,” as he puts it. The 50-year-old joins the group of young women as naturally as his dog joins the little pack in a dash around the park. On this hot evening, Jack has brought a cooler full of cold water for the dogs and soft drinks for the humans.
Different parks for different folks
“This is our park. The dogs get along great, and the people do too … no one’s glued to their phone!” Jack says. The other two-legged park-goers nod.
“Other parks are closer, but Chewie and I feel at home here,” says Simone. Every dog run has its own personality, and that applies to the dogs and their owners as well.
“I even tried to come at other times, but it isn’t the same,” adds Jessica. “This is our time, and our place.”
Jérôme arrives with his two huskies, followed closely by an Australian cattle dog and his owner, Gabriel.
“We need to come here for our mental health,” the young man says with a grin. “I’ve heard he should settle down around age two, but for now, I’m at his beck and call! The excitement level (and volume) of the dogs at the park rises several notches thanks to the overexcited pup, but the other park-goers are more than happy to lend a hand with his training.
“All the people here have different jobs, come from different backgrounds and are different ages, but you can tell they’re all dog lovers. That’s what matters,” says Simone.
A two-year-old Great Dane barrels into the park. He’s two, four, or perhaps even eight times the weight of the other dogs here, but he’s greeted by a sea of wagging tails. For the dogs, too, acceptance is the rule, regardless of their differences!
MONTRÉAL'S DOG RUNS
A favourite spot for social dogs who want to let loose and leave the leash behind, the dog runs are an essential daily destination for many Montréal dog owners.
There are 55 dog runs located across the city’s various boroughs.
For more information: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/animaux/responsabilites/#exercises