Dallas' Five Best Dog Parks
Just because you call a loft or apartment home doesn't mean you've stopped obsessing over your dog. We live vertical here in Dallas, stacked on top of one another like human Jenga. This is all fine until you fall in love. It starts so innocent: a picture on the internet leads to some furry dude crashing on your couch, chewing your remote control like it's a damn Snickers. You then understand those old adages about the value of land and how God ain't makin' any more of it. Those sages were dog owners, and they were probably hungover.
One Summer morning is all it really takes. You closed the bar last night, now it's 8 a.m. and already 134 degrees. You've got to walk that dog. He's perky. He's so excited that you're awake. You aren't. You'll drive anywhere if you can prop your broken body up on a fence while he dog frolics around without you. You need to know your neighborhood dog park, and maybe one a neighborhood over just in case yours is sketchy. Here's our five favorites.
5. Bark Park Central (The Deep Ellum Dog Park)
On the southwestern corner of the intersection of Good-Latimer Expressway and Commerce Streets, underneath the elevated portion of US75.
This is certainly the youngest dog-owning crowd of any park in town. Most of the folks who go here live in Deep Ellum and are in their 20s or 30s, so if you're trying to work the "my dog is so cute" angle, this might be your spot. It's undergone a facelift recently with fun canine-inspired art painted on the overpass' structural bases. There's a reasonably large swath of running space (1.2 acres), doggie and human water fountains, bone-shaped benches, strong fences and a utilitarian bathing area.
On the flip side: There's a stinky muddy hole that seems to constantly reemerge, paid street parking, highway noise and no big dog/little dog division. Everyone here plays together. Basically, it's a true city dog park that's well kept up. Closed on Mondays for maintenance.
4. White Rock Lake Dog Park
8000 E. Mockingbird Lane
I think the best thing about this park is the consistent amount of visiting dogs. You can always bet on a few dozen friends for your mutt to romp around with at White Rock. There's also a nice amount of shade, lots of running space and an abundance of chairs so you can relax. There's water onsite and separate play areas for dogs that are over or under 30 pounds. There's also river access, but be on the lookout for discarded fishing gear. Hooks and such have reportedly washed to the shore.
It's really a gem of a space and would have ranked higher if it weren't so prone to flooding. Even the faintest whisper of precipitation causes small rivers of sewage-y mud to form. Those disgusting regions are halfheartedly blocked off from the main space with the same cheap plastic construction netting that you'd see on a job site. Any dog who likes mischief will run under or around it and then dive into Crud Lake. Also, this dog park is very popular, which can be a blessing or a curse. With lots of dogs come lots of owners, some don't fix their animals or take a hands-off approach to parenting. The majority, however, are on top of it. This park is closed on Mondays.
3. Meadows Foundation Dog Park, East Dallas
500 Liberty Street
Full disclosure: I go here almost every day. Most people you meet at this park have a similar habit, which makes it a comfortable routine. Everyone knows everyone else's dog, its temperament and where it likes to be scratched. It's like knowing every kid on the block. Sure, there are some high and low spots in the fence and yes, my dog has broken out, but for a park that isn't maintained by the city I'm thankful that its kept up as well as it is.
Hemmed in by an adorable white, picket barrier, big dogs and little dogs mingle on an L-shaped field of grass. There are only two benches in this park, so get used to standing. Also, there's no water (but there are bowls) so you'll need to bring a jug of the stuff if you want to look like a team player. Rain brings mud at Meadows, and so does overwatering from the sprinkler system (though the sprinkler situation seems to have been resolved in recent months.)
That might sound like a lot of negatives, but when people stand in a dog park they pay attention. It's the owners that make this a great place. It's neighborhood-y, and it's open every day.