In praise of maple grove dog park
I had never been a dog owner until December, 2016 when my family acquired the remarkable Snowdon (not named for the spy), a Portuguese water dog. Much to my surprise, I have become a dog person. My wife had been taking our dog for his daily trip to the dog park throughout all of last year. At the start of July however, I had to take over “for a few days”. Instead, the daily, early morning trip to the dog park became one of the highlights of my summer (and hopefully a highlight for Snowdown as well). I had certainly been to the dog park before we got our dog, usually for the Dog Owners Association barbeques. I had also used some ward funding to help with the purchase and installation of the four “in ground” garbage containers.
However, going every day gave me a new perspective on the value of the dog park to the community. The dog park turns out to be a busy place – but I have never felt crowded given the sheer size of the facility (second biggest in Winnipeg) and the large forest with its trails. I got to know many people, and got to know many dogs. I used to question why the city would fund parks like this, but I now see that this is a recreational amenity both for the owners, and for their dogs. It’s a valuable part of living in St. Vital.
A final note – decades ago when we studied “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” with the very capable Peter Cowie at Dakota – there was much discussion of a passage near the end of the book which involved a dog rolling around in the grass. I got the symbolism about “joy” on some level, but only now many years later seeing our dog and other dogs rolling around in the grass at Maple Grove, did I really get the image and the sense of joy that the dogs are experiencing. And so I hope to keep walking with Snowdon as the City Council calendar restarts, and if you see me on my phone in the park, please tell me to put it away and enjoy the moment.