By Shelly Romine
With nearly 68 percent of all households in the U.S. owning at least one dog and often two, owners are eager to find a place outdoors where they can share some time with their furry friends. The Quad Cities have a plethora of places to commune with nature, and most are dog-friendly; but when looking for a place where your pooch can roam off leash and play with other dogs, you might consider taking him or her to a dog park.
I asked my friend Maggie, a border collie with a penchant for fun, if she wanted to go check out what the area has to offer. She grabbed her Frisbee, and we were on our way.
Penny’s Memorial Dog Park
2514 Third Ave. N., Lewiston
Our first stop is wheelchair accessible and has two enclosures, one for small dogs (weighing 30 pounds or less) and one for larger dogs. The park, which opened last year, sits on 1.8 acres with plenty of grass and trees maintained by Lewiston Parks and Recreation. There are benches in each enclosure, as well as state-of-the-art water fountains which allow both dogs and their owners to grab a drink when they get thirsty. A double-gate system prevents escapes and allows carefree entrance and exit to and from the park. Maggie found it a great place to play Frisbee.
Asotin County Dog Park
2500 Riverside Drive, Clarkston
Across the river in Clarkston is a one-of-a-kind park allows dogs to roam approximately four acres in a natural setting. It is gated and provides a diverse playground for dogs and their owners to explore and get some exercise.
A walking path winds its way throughout the property, and several owners walked alone or with friends while their dogs played. Beyond the walking path are hills and trails, grassy fields and the Snake River. The park is surrounded on two sides by water, providing the opportunity for dogs to get a drink, cool off and swim.
Pamela Perrins of Clarkston visits the park almost every day with Rascall and Tucker. Many of her friends also bring their dogs, so the owners catch up while their pets play. Perrin’s pups love coming to the park and are loath to leave when it’s time to go home. But even though they complain about leaving, she said, they are happily exhausted later.
Moscow Dog Park
2019 White Ave., Moscow
This one-acre park, which sits next to the Humane Society of the Palouse, is fenced and has some fun features to keep dogs entertained and engaged. There are splash pools, a box with communal toys, and a grouping of huge tires for climbing or crawling through. One nice touch is a covered bench where owners can sit and watch their pets or catch up on some reading.
Pooch Park at Pullman
1340 S.E. Old Moscow Highway, Pullman
Memberships range from $70 to $35
This pay-to-use park adjoins the Whitman County Humane Society. Membership fees are used to maintain the grounds throughout the year. Created in 2013, it has an active membership, and a diverse group of dogs may be roaming the park at any time.
Situated on a hill, there are approximately two and a half acres to be roamed and explored. There are enclosures for both small and large dogs with plenty of benches scattered throughout for owners to sit and chat while they watch their dogs play. For those interested in agility training, there are weave poles set up in each enclosure. Balls and other toys are scattered throughout the park to be discovered and enjoyed. Grass and trees abound, making this park a pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
Mitsy and her owner Zoe Skiadopoulou, of Pullman, are frequent visitors to the park. Mitsy, a chiweenie (cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund) was rescued by Zoe last year, and by the looks of it appears to be living the fine life now.
At the end of the day, Maggie was exhausted, already asleep as we headed home. Each of the parks we visited offered a different experience, but all had one thing in common – a safe place for dogs to play off-leash in the dog days of summer.