Meet Charlie. Charlie is a 2-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Charlie loves: stealing socks, playing tug-of-war, drinking out of the bathtub faucet, and barking at dogs that are bigger than him (which is almost every dog). Charlie hates: German Shepherds (I don’t get it), not getting all the attention, being picked up out of the bathtub, and cleaning up after himself (so lazy).
Over the course of three days, my best friend and I traveled to four of the metro-area’s finest dog parks. Charlie is a high-energy pup that loves chasing other dogs in wide-open spaces. Dog parks (and the rides in the car to-and-from the dog parks) are the best things in the world to him, so he had a great time.
If you missed “Part 1,” or last week’s “Part 2,” go ahead and check those out! Charlie and I have analyzed two Norman, OK dog parks so far: a small dog park at David Stanley Chevrolet and a much larger dog park near Griffin Park. We’ll eventually make it to all the dog parks in the metro, but this week we ventured to Paw Park in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, we had to visit on a day that was cool and windy; we were the only guests there! Here are the pros and cons of this neighborhood dog-hangout:
“Paw Park” – Oklahoma City, OK
I realized that Charlie and I had gone to the park too early in the day when I pulled up to no cars in the large parking lot surrounding the dog park (and the neighboring baseball field). Alas, we had made it there, so we decided to check out what this dog park was all about. While walking up to the gate, I could immediately tell that this was a huge space. The dog park near Griffin Park in Norman is big, but Paw Park seemed a bit more overwhelming. Before you enter the park, you need to know the rules. No worries; you’re hit with a barrage of signs:
Call it excessive, call it over-protective, or call it smart – Paw Park isn’t messing around. The rules that stand out are about age: no children under 10-years -old are allowed in the park, and the handler of the dog (unless accompanied by an adult) has to be at least 18-years-old. Being a 25-year-old single guy, I’m totally okay with this rule. I’ve visited many dog parks where little children are running around trying to play with the dogs while their parents leisurely supervise. This is a nightmare scenario just waiting to happen. On the other side, though, a day at the dog park can be a fun, family-friendly event. It’s also a great way to tire your kids out, I imagine. So, while this rule has perks for me, I assume it makes some parents rather perturbed.
This is what you’ll see upon first entering the dog park. It looks like it never ends, right? It’s wider than it appears, as well. This is great for the dogs because it gives ample amounts of playing space, but for protective dog owners that always need to keep an eye on their furry child, this park could get a tad staggering. The small dog area of the park is a good size, too, and it actually looks pretty welcoming for dogs and owners alike. There’s a shaded bench under a canopy, lots of trees for the dogs to sniff and a good amount of grass for the dogs to run on. The lack of grass in the large dog area was probably my biggest complaint:
Maybe I’m just a wuss. Maybe all dogs are way tougher than me. However, I know that if I was running around chasing my friends’ tails, I’d certainly rather be running in grass than on dirt and rocks. Just for reference, the above picture is looking back towards the entrance, and I had only walked a little over half of the park. This place is huge. You’ll know when you hit the end, though, because you run into Lake Hefner.
This was definitely the best part about the park. I love that after running around on a hot day, the dogs can all pile into a protected area of Lake Hefner and have a swim before drying off and heading home. It was a bit too cold to get into the water on the day that Charlie and I went, or else I may have never been able to get him out of the lake.
- Separate areas for large and small dogs.
- The large dog area is big – like, really big. It also has an enclosed area to Lake Hefner where your dogs can get in and swim around without. It’s like a puppy pool!
- No children under 10-years-old are allowed in the park. This alleviates any danger of large dogs accidentally hurting children, and also lessens the likelihood of any children constantly grabbing the dogs.
- There’s not a lot of grass. It’s mostly dirt and rocks. That can’t be super conducive to dogs running around and chasing each other.
- The space can be a little overwhelming. If you like keeping a constant eye on your dog, this might not be the park for you (or be sure to wear some running shoes).
- No children under 10-years-old are allowed in the park. Yes, this was a pro (for single guys like me), but this is a major con for families, single moms and single dads.