On a sunny Friday afternoon, a group of dogs run together at the Portage Dog Park, located in Woodland Park, and it was clear they are familiar with each other and having a great time. Their owners gathered around picnic tables in the park, chatting and watching the spectacle.
The Portage Dog Park is very large and has two different areas - one for dogs over 35 pounds, and one for dogs under 35 pounds. Each area is complete with picnic tables, and agility courses. Most importantly, though, the dog park breeds a wonderful community of people.
“We’ve been coming here for about two years now,” said Danny Mill, a visitor of the park. “We started on the small dog side, and then Rex got a little bigger so now we’re on the big dog side. It’s a great environment here and a great way to make friends. Everyone is friends, and all of the dogs are friends.”
His dog is named Rex, and his other owner, Maria Servantes, enjoys the benefits Rex has experienced.
“It definitely helps our dog out with social anxiety. At first, he was always really nervous coming here, but meeting the dogs and getting to know the people here have really helped him open up here. We love coming here.”
Kate Sech spends weekend mornings and many weekday evenings at the park. She thinks the group keeps her dog safe.
“We’ve made some really cool friendships and now our dogs have relationships and they're comfortable with each other and play without any issues,” she said. "It’s nice having the sense of community and trust with other owners so I don’t have to worry about my dog, Nissa.”
The park is free to enter and doesn’t require a membership fee, however, be sure to have proper tags on your dog and proof of vaccinations, as Animal Control regularly checks for these things. It keeps everyone safe while opening up the park to anyone.
The size of the park even accommodates dogs who aren’t ready to play in the pack. “It’s been big enough that my dog can stay far way from the other dogs if she wants, and slowly join them,” said Sally Hughes, a new visitor of the park.
Many owners bring their own water, but there is a fountain located outside of the park. There are also receptacles for waste as well.
While no food is allowed in the park, treats are! Don’t forget those treats for training on the awesome agility course.
The dogs get the chance to socialize and play, which benefits them, and the fact they fall asleep when they get home likely will benefit the owner!
“She’s young and has tons of energy, so I can get it out of her and she'll sleep at home and I can get things done,” joked Sech.
The dog park is located at 2100 Willowcreek Rd, Portage, IN 46368. For the rules of the park and more information check out www.facebook.com/PortageDogPark/.