Four happy dogs can't be wrong!

Within Community Park, sharing a fence with the Public Skate Park
Sunrise to Sunset
nice dog size

The Community Park dog run is a nice place for dog owners to gather any time of the day from sun-up to dusk. The park is also home to the SPCA's annual dog gone walkathon where local community members, dogs and UC Davis service organizations like Circle K International come together for a dog gone day of fun and a 2 mile marked walk.

Situated behind the high school and library and adjacent to the skate park, this dog run is an underused gem. Periods of highest use are typically weekday evenings between 7-9pm, and occasionally weekend evenings. A small but growing group of people and dogs have starting gathering here on a regular basis. In the past, a group of small dog owners have informally used it as a "small dog park" until one was built at Toad Hollow. Hopefully they will grow into the new dog run-walk-chase-hop-skip-scramble.

Periods of highest use, on the other hand, often coincide with the regular use of the park. A small but growing group of Davisites wearing birkenstocks and fuzzy socks gather here on an irregular basis to take up the green. Some notable regulars at the Community Park dog run have included: Dora the Explorer (schnoxie; featured in the July 2008 edition of Davis Life magazine), Allie (the Smartest Puppy in the World), boy Scout (Corgi), girl Scout (Westie), Maverick (Schnauzer), Dante the Gentle Giant (Rottweiler), Dylan the Ball-Obsessed (lab, of course), Rudy the Rowdy Poodle, and other occasional guests.

Advantages to this dog run include:

  • increased owner vigilance and responsibility, both in terms of keeping an eye one's dog as well as being held accountable for clean-up after one's dog.
  • less of a "Wild West" flavor due to smaller size and number of dogs leads to fewer incidents of aggression and chaos
  • proximity to restrooms: there are 2 clean, well-maintained city restroom structures nearby
  • non-stop doggie TV: this is a well-used park and there are always skaters/bikers in the skate park, ultimate games, soccer practices, strollers/runners/bikers passing, all providing a little "doggie TV" when there happen to be no other dogs for your pooch to play with
  • guy with ice cream push cart passes fairly regularly
  • convenient central location allows for much stopping in of new and unfamiliar dogs, providing an opportunity for training your dog in meeting/greeting

Some areas for improvement include:

  • access to water: currently there is no water fountain or spigot within the dog run (the above-mentioned city restroom structures are nearby, however soccer moms have been known to scowl when dogs are invited to use the fountains)
  • lack of parking directly adjacent to the park: for those who choose to or must drive, parking is available by the high school or the art center
  • single-door access: double door entrances provide extra security from escapes as well as space for dogs to get pre-acquainted through mesh
  • city shuts down dog park for bicycle valet use during major events
  • unreliability of finding other dogs to play with: since this dog run is generally underused, dogs occasionally have walked away disappointed.
  • Known to be a swampy mess in springtime, it never really drains until the weather dries out.  Be okay with your dog/you getting muddy.

Elizabeth Barthel with pet sitting client Willow at the 2006 Dog Gone Walkathon

See also Dogs for other off-leash areas within Davis as well as other resources for local dog owners. Park dedication The rules.

Thanks Robert Zimmerman: "If Dogs Run Free"

If dogs run free, then why not we Across the swooping plain? My ears hear a symphony Of two mules, trains and rain. The best is always yet to come, That's what they explain to me. Just do your thing, you'll be king, If dogs run free.

If dogs run free, why not me Across the swamp of time? My mind weaves a symphony And tapestry of rhyme. Oh, winds which rush my tale to thee So it may flow and be, To each his own, it's all unknown, If dogs run free.

If dogs run free, then what must be, Must be, and that is all. True love can make a blade of grass Stand up straight and tall. In harmony with the cosmic sea, True love needs no company, It can cure the soul, it can make it whole, If dogs run free." —Bob Dylan