Indiana Daily Student

A Dog's Life

Canine companions live it up at Griffey Lake

Masters of slobber. Companions without question. Fetchers of all things imaginable. Dogs have been hailed as man's best friend and if the true test of a friend is who loves you when you're broke, tired, and testy, then our furry companions take the cake (and sometimes our favorite shoes). \nAs a special treat for their canine companions, some dog enthusiasts have found a special space for their pooch to run free and socialize with other dogs at the Griffey Lake dog run.\n"Where I am from in Washington D.C, the dog park is the hub of social activity," Allison, the mom of two playful pugs, said. "People stand around and talk about their dogs. It's pretty great."\nAt first glance, the dog run at Griffey Lake is nothing spectacular, but make no bones about it, it's the interaction between the dog owners and the dogs themselves that make it come to life. The park, located on the corner of Old State Road 37 and N. Dunn, is a large fenced-in field ending at a dam at the back of Griffy Lake. The dam provides water-loving dogs a place to splash around, swim, and cool down, but veterans to the park warn of snakes in the water. Snakes aside, the dam makes for a popular spot for throwing the tennis ball, shielding yourself from the shake of a soaked Great Dane, or having a wet adventure.\nTiffany, the owner of a border collie mix named Abby, once learned the hard way that not all dogs are naturals in the water.\n"Abby likes to wade in the dam but once went too far and realized she couldn't swim," Tiffany said. "I had to get in and save her. I guess I could have let her wait it out for a while [she said jokingly] but I got her out."\nWhile you might find adventure at the Griffey Lake dog run, you're probably more likely to find relaxation and good company, both human and the four-legged kind. Many dog park visitors find it a great place to unwind after a long day, hang out with their best paw-printed pal, and take in some fresh air. \n"I like the dog park because the dogs can tire themselves out so you don't have to deal with them later," Jacob, caregiver to an eight month old beagle named MJ, said. "There's a good mix of dogs out there so your dog can usually find the one he likes to play with, and plus I like to meet other fellow dog owners."\nOn one particular late Thursday afternoon, over 15 dogs of all shapes and sizes were playing together at the park, some aggressive, some more timid, all happy to be leash-free. Frequent visitors claim the number of dogs varies according to the time of day. Many say the busiest times will be around five after people get off work, but no matter the time of day, park goers say there will be at least two or three dogs present, which proves to be convenient for those with varying schedules.\n"I am a nurse working 14-hour shifts so it's nice to be able to take the dogs here to tire them out and help socialize them, especially since we don't have a fenced in yard," Angie, owner of a spunky sheltie and blue heeler, said. "It's like the dog park is an underground sub-culture or something." \nAccording to Angie, the park is a great place to meet other dog-lovers, even if she can't exactly remember their names.\n"I can usually remember the dog's names but sometimes not their owners so I find myself asking my husband, was so-and-so's mom there today?" Angie said.\nA self-proclaimed "dog person," Angie, might have a hard time remembering names, but there is one moment at the dog run she will never forget.\n"One early morning when we were here a guy wearing a bike helmet and leather gloves attempted to saddle up and ride his rottweiler," Angie said. "It didn't go very well and needless to say we left shortly after seeing this."\nAside from saddled rottweilers, the Griffey Lake dog run is everything you would expect from a dog park—people interacting with people, dogs interacting with dogs, all in an open, free of charge environment.\nHowever, while the dog run is known for being that open environment, according to Steve Cotter, the Natural Resources Manager for the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, the area is not officially a dog park. Calling it more of an "in-demand experiment," Cotter says the fenced in area is an attempt to keep unleashed dogs off the nature preserve and keep them in a more contained area.\n"There have been several individuals that want the area to be an official dog park, even though it may be known as that now," Cotter said. "We're very open to the idea, it's just very expensive and things like trash removal, benches, and mowing add up."\nAlthough the area might not be "official," dogs and their owners continue to enjoy the wide-open space and dammed creek. Cotter did say that the first official dog park in Bloomington will be opening soon on the Southwest side of town on the Karst Farm Park. For more information about this new dog run, call the Monroe County Parks and Recreation at (812) 349-2800.\nAll around the country and even in Indiana, dog parks are popping up, gaining popularity, and providing safe places for dogs and their owners to spend quality time together. The Griffey Lake dog run: proving that every dog really does have its day and as for their owners? Truly one of man's best friends.

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