Extensive system of dog parks makes Calgary a great place to be a canine
If someone told you that Calgary has more than 1,600 football fields worth of space dedicated to man’s best friend, you might not believe them. But it’s true – according to Todd Reichardt, manager of parks for the City of Calgary’s centre city division, almost 20 per cent of Calgary’s land inventory is allocated to off-leash dog parks.
“We have a real affinity for dog parks here in the city,” said Reichardt. “We have over 150 off-leash sites. Compared with other [North American] cities of similar size, no one else even comes close.”
That staggering statistic speaks volumes about communities around Calgary and their love for green spaces. City officials don’t merely sprinkle off-leash areas around on a whim – they’re created once community demand reaches a certain level.
So what exactly is it about dog parks that Calgarians love so much?
Kim Rich-Kuny drives about 15 minutes from her home to take her two dogs, Delilah and Ichabod, to Edworthy Park. “I like the feel of the wind in my hair, and the sunshine. The views are great, too,” she said. “The dogs don’t have to be on leashes, either. There’s a lot to like.”
With parks scattered all over the city, every Calgarian can enjoy a day out with their furry friend without having to travel far, but it’s important to keep some basic etiquette in mind to make sure everyone has a good time:
Pay attention to signage “There’s clearly-defined signage in every park indicating if it’s an on- or off-leash area. It’s important to be aware of other users’ desires, and keeping your dogs on-leash when required helps with that,” said Reichardt.
“We have a real affinity for dog parks here in the city. We have over 150 off-leash sites. Compared with other [North American] cities of similar size, no one else even comes close.” – Todd Reichardt, manager of parks for the City of Calgary’s centre city division
Know your dog, and handle them accordingly Rich-Kuny believes that some more temperamental dogs should always be kept on leashes. “Ichabod, my little guy, he likes to chase after the big ones, so I always have to keep an eye on him,” she said of her long-haired dachshund. “At the end of the day, it’s about being an attentive dog owner.”
Be courteous to other visitors Not everyone is at the park with their pet – you might run into other people picnicking, playing Frisbee or simply hanging out and enjoying the day. This rings especially true if you’re in an on-leash area. In these spaces, people aren’t expecting to be jumped on by your canine companion. “Be conscious of other people’s plans,” said Reichardt.
Pick up after your dog Believe it or not, your little critter’s waste carries heavy penalties for the environment, and your wallet. A City of Calgary initiative called the PUPPY Program (Pick Up Pooch’s Poo Yourself) aims to minimize environmental damage to dog parks by encouraging, and reminding, citizens to pick up after their pets, a sentiment that’s echoed by Rich-Kuny and Reichardt.
With summer having kicked off in earnest, why not take your canine companion for a stroll? Even those of us without pets could benefit from making new friends of all species.
For more information on Calgary dog parks, visit the City’s website or call 311.