Thanksgiving day we ventured down to Crestwood Park. I’ll be honest, we haven’t been here in a while because of a dog owner whose rottie attacked Whiskey. The owner was unwilling to discipline their dog and we had to leave, feeling more than a little put out by bad dog owners.
I’ve missed taking Whiskey down to the park but we were burned. Bad. It took him months to become friendly around big dogs again, and still he’s not the same as he was before. Not completely. Partly this may be because he is coming into his adulthood so maybe he would have become more aloof and cautious anyway, but how would we know? Short of an awesome time machine.
So imagine my surprise when we got to the park and had such a fantastic time. We had planned the doggie play date to introduced Whiskey to Max and Casey- two dogs belonging to a friend of ours. Their energy was a superb match for Whiskey who would have frolicked all day if we’d let him.
The biggest surprise was how many dogs where there, of all sizes. It was refreshing to see so many ages, so many breeds, so many sizes all playing together. The pack worked out it’s hierarchy throughout the morning as dogs came and went and it’s really fascinating to see in action. I’ve been listening to a Cesar Milan book and have been learning a lot about the concept of packs and pack leadership so thinking of these impromptu packs is pretty interesting, especially to see in action!
I asked around if there were always so many dogs (I’m not sure how many but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were as many as 15 or more dogs there at it’s peak). People answered that no, there weren’t usually this many but they figured it was because everyone was off work for the holiday.
First, I’ll tell you this- there are clear signs all over the park that dogs are to be kept on a leash. This isn’t followed in the fenced in field. From talking to locals, they all treat it as their black market dog park. So be aware. And while I haven’t heard of anyone getting fined or in trouble for having their dog off leash there, do know that I’ve had some really nasty looks from walkers when I had Whiskey off leash in the fence (and notably was outnumbered by the dogless since I was the only dog person there at that time).
Second, the fence is not secure and I’ve seen more than one door just swing open and dogs rush out so if you have an escape artist who doesn’t come on command very often, then you might want to walk around and familiarize yourself with the doors and their various ways of being opened (some have been rigged by good Samaritans with string to hold the doors together). Luckily the time i saw the dogs wander out the open door (owners across the field, oblivious) a lady saw them while she was walking on the track and ushered them back inside and closed the door. They behaved and obeyed this total stranger. Mine probably wouldn’t and would instead take off so I’m a little wary about such nonsecure fencing. Also, dog pictures are up all the time there of dogs that either got lost in the neighborhood nearby or were lost at the park (ran off) so I feel bad for them, but it also covers the area with a gray cloud of warning to be careful with Whiskey there you know?
Rating: 3 tail wags out of 5 for fun. Not a full five because it’s not the best place for escape prone “won’t come when called” dogs, and it’s not a “real” dog park so technically, legally you should not have your dogs off leash there so…yeah. I still say we should take it over because there needs to be more off leash sites in Birmingham.