It’s not a Saturday without a trip to the dog park.
Construction at Scottsdale’s Chaparral Dog Park is nearly complete. The South entrance & exit gates to the off-leash enclosures are still closed and there is still some temporary fencing but all the earth-moving equipment is gone and it appears re-sodding is completed. I think everyone who uses the Dog Park would agree this is a good thing.
There are two schools of thought as to why it is a good thing. Group A, let’s call them ‘entitled, cranky people’, will be delighted to have use of the South gates and to be rid of the dust and mud that go along with moving large amounts of earth in the desert in monsoon season. Group B, let’s call them ‘me’, will enjoy those things as well, of course, but mostly will be happy to not have to listen to the seemingly endless wringing-of-hands and gnashing-of-teeth about the inconveniences of construction from Group A.
Some back-story for context may be in order. There are 3 off-leash enclosures at Chaparral. One is designated for “Active Dogs”; one for “Passive Dogs” and one remains closed. Periodically the Parks Dept. rotates the designations so that each of the enclosures is closed one-third of the time to let the grass repair itself.
The view from the walk to the North gates.
Since last spring, the City of Scottsdale has been doing construction work on the sewers under the off-leash enclosures. During construction, the South gates to the enclosures; those closest to the parking lot; have been blocked off. For people who drive to the park this means they must walk around to the North gates. This is the equivalent of about 2 city blocks for the “Active Dog” owners; slightly less for the “Passive Dog” owners. The walk is through the Xeriscape Garden, which is beautiful. About half of the walk is shaded. Hearing Group A (and it is impossible to be in the Dog Park without hearing Group A) an uninformed listener would think they were describing the Bataan Death March.
People bring their dogs to Dog Parks for a variety of reasons; socialization and exercise for the dogs, quality-time for owner and their pets, and to socialize with other pet owners. None of these goals are diminished by the walk through the Garden. So what are the common themes in the grievances of Group A?
- It’s a long walk to and from their car in the summer heat.
- They have to keep their dog on the leash in the Xeriscape Garden.
- The Passive Dog people have all the shade.
- The Active Dog enclosure is bigger.
- The Active Dog people bring their dogs into the Passive area where they run too fast and play too rough.
I understand that ‘sharing’ is not as high as it once was in the hierarchy of popular virtues but, come on people! The Parks Dept. did a great job accommodating the construction while keeping the Dog Park open.
- Which would be worse; a walk through the Garden, or having the Dog Park closed all summer?
- Should the construction equipment go through the Xeriscape Garden so you didn’t have to spend an extra 5 minutes walking your dog?
- You want to walk your dog off-leash in an area of the park that isn’t enclosed? The Xeriscape Garden is near a corner at the intersection of two 6-lane thoroughfares. Why did you come the Dog Park?
- The Passive dog area has more shade and, due to the temporary fencing for the construction equipment, it is also only half the size of the Active area. The other side of that coin is the Active Dog area is twice as large. It also has a better source of drinking water. Do you want your Great Dane to be able to run? Bring an umbrella!…or come at 6:00 AM like the rest of us.
- There are always some more-active dogs in the Passive area. Owners differ on the meaning of “Active” and “Passive”. Some Active Dog owners want the extra shade more than the extra space. And, yes, some are just too lazy to walk the extra 50 yards to the Active Dogs’ gate. If you aren’t willing to talk to them, politely, about the appropriateness of their choice you’ll need to ‘tough it out’ until construction is completed.
If all else fails? Scottsdale has 3 Dog Parks. Choose a different park until construction is completed. You drove here. Drive a little farther if necessary to avoid the ‘Path of Doom’ that is the walk through the Xeriscape Garden. Just across the Southern city limit is the City of Tempe; they have 5 Dog Parks. Just across the Western city limit is the city of Phoenix. They have 5 Dog Parks.
There are people in this world with real problems and who are suffering real hardships. Tell them how awful it is that you are forced to walk your dog through the garden. Most of the owners (Harper’s included) can use the exercise. Many of the dogs (not Harper of course!) could stand to burn a few extra calories too.
I’d like to start my day watching the sun rise and the dogs play rather than hearing how tragic life is when the BMW is parked 2 blocks away.
Pets can bring peace and joy into our lives. How about we let that happen?