Monday, 6 March 2017

Doggy Bark Parks

Millie Bush Bark Park, Houston 
I can only speak from my own observations, but it appears that dog ownership is taken quite seriously here in the US. A few years ago, when visiting New York City, I noticed a dog-specific area in a public park. I'd not seen one before and stood for a while, as a dog owner, watching the dogs and their owners in this fenced off area. The owners were sitting on benches chatting or throwing balls for their dogs; many of the dogs were playing or running together. They were all well-behaved and looked happy. There was a grassy area and some hard tarmac in this dog park, and when people arrived, their dogs were always on a lead (or leash as it's called in the US). Likewise, when they left, the dogs were all under control and on leads.

Cut to being in Houston, where I'm now staying for a while. During my first visit here I went to George Bush Park (that's George H.W. Bush's park - the former and 41st president). It's a vast area of parkland, some of it cultivated with grass, trees, open spaces and children's playgrounds, other areas are left as wild swampy habitat for javelina's, coyotes, opossums, alligators and birds. One interesting feature was the Millie Bush Bark Park, a large grassy fenced off area where dogs and their owners had plenty of recreational space. There was even a dog pond where dogs could take a dip during hot weather. Millie Bush was, I gather, one of the Bush family's spaniels.

Walking around in Houston, I notice that dogs are always on leads and are well-behaved. If a dog moseys over to greet me as a passer by, the owner will always apologise and pull the dog back to heel. There seems to be a far greater awareness of dog control so those people who don't like dogs aren't annoyed by them. As a dog lover I'm always happy to say hello, make a fuss of the dog if it comes my way and exchange a few words with the owner.

The attitude towards dogs and dog ownership, in my US experience, is far better than that in the UK. People seem to take greater responsibility for their dogs, and being on leads rather than unleashed may even be a bye law of some kind. I'll have to check that one out.

There is noticeably very little dog poo around too.

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