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Dog parks have blasted off in Houston

Yesterday, I took Ace to the largest and most amenity-laden dog park he’s ever been to — with 13 acres to romp and two cool blue lakes to swim in.

And here’s what he did: Sniffed. Sniffed some more. Peed. Pooped. Waded, zombie-like, into to the water twice, for about two seconds each time. Approached strangers to be petted. Then he found some shade and collapsed.

Millie Bush Bark Park in Harris County was by far the most impressive dog park we’d ever been to, and Ace — rather than frolicking, merely peed and sacked out. After five days pretty being limited to motel rooms, and spending limited time (his choice) outside on tiny patches of grass, I was expecting him to go nuts, make friends, splash around and have a gay old time.

Instead, it was like taking your kids to Six Flags only to find they wanted to spend the entire time in the restroom.

While Ace, probably for reasons heat related, was uninspired, Houston and its surrounding areas have been quite the opposite when it comes to dog parks.

Houston and its suburbs now boast over 20 fenced, off-leash dog parks with amenities that include swimming ponds, agility equipment, shaded (thank God) seating and trails.

Millie Bush Bark Park, located in George Bush Park and named after former President Bush’s dog, was Harris County’s first dog park, opening at the end of 2003.

Its success inspired other municipalities, including the city, to start opening dog parks as well.

The City of Houston announced the planned opening of its first dog park in 2004; today, in the city alone, there are six, with still more in the planning and fund-raising stages. Throw in the surrounding area, and the number of dog parks jumps to around 20.

Millie Bush Bark park features large and small dog areas, doggie swimming ponds, doggie water fountains, doggie showers, shade areas, benches, scattered trees, walking paths, fake fire hydrants, and a huge parking lot.

It makes Baltimore’s dog parks look like postage stamps.

You can find a complete list of the area’s dog parks at the website of the Houston Dog Park Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1998 to help establish and support a network of off-leash dog parks in the Houston area.

I’m impressed with my former hometown’s performance when it comes to dog parks.

As I’m sure the Basset Hound below would agree, it’s pretty darn cool.

Comments

Comment from cyndi
Time June 14, 2010 at 8:07 am

I think, as an American, my dog should have a park like this close to where we live and in every town or city we visit! It’s her unalienable right!

Comment from Lindsay
Time June 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm

That park sounds awesome! I wish our dog parks around here (Fargo, ND) had places for the dogs to swim. Instead, we just have about a half-acre fenced in with grass and a few tiny trees. Pretty pathetic! But hey, at least it’s something and the dogs don’t mind – they love socializing!

Comment from Mary Haight
Time June 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Wow – love love love that top photo! Looks like exactly the right prescription for a hot Huston day:) Funny Ace just wanted his paws cooled off, but to each his own!

Comment from JillyBean
Time June 14, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Hmmm – maybe Texas has some redeeming qualities afterall….

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