Dana Mumford, a retired GE employee, is a frequent visitor to Howlers Corners in Ken Reid Conservation Area near Lindsay with his two dogs. He and his wife Jane find the off leash dog park, the first of its kind in the area, a suitable spot for their 9 year old chocolate lab, Leslie, and 8 month old Shih Tzu-Lhasa, Teddy.
“It is absolutely fantastic. The dogs love it. Everything they need is here. They run around and seem to enjoy it very much,” says Mr. Mumford. “They also learn to socialize with other dogs and it is just great!”
As the dog park opening drew closer last year, Dana was among those who had looked forward to the park opening its gates and kept the pressure on to get things started sooner.
“I called often, wondering when it would open, and I am glad it finally did,” he recalled.
Howlers Corners opened its gates on June 14 last year. The opening of the three-acre off leash park is a result of support from local businesses, a generous $7,500 grant from the City of Kawartha Lakes, and the work of volunteer organizations such as Friends of Kawartha Conservation and the local chapter of the John Howard Society, in partnership with Kawartha Conservation.
Although the Mumfords drive in from Omemee, they still find it convenient.
“We are both retired. We love dogs and love to spend time with them. And that’s what dogs do, they run and play,” Mr. Mumford said with a big smile on his face.
The couple finds the park’s conditions to be quite good. Mr. Mumford notes that all of the necessities are there–disposable bags, waste bins, fenced areas, and other amenities–and he doesn’t recall any incidents or issues.
Steven Vince and his partner, Jessie, are also frequent visitors to the park. A machinist by profession, Mr. Vince drives from Lindsay to walk his two dogs on the Howlers Corners trail. They include a 5 year old chocolate lab which he adopted about a month ago and a 3.5 year old English setter called Jenny.
He considers Saturday mornings the best times in the park.
“Between 10 to 11 on Saturdays is a good time. That’s when it gets most crowded around here,” he said.
Before Howlers Corners opened its gates, Mr. Vince used to walk his dogs on a leash in Lindsay. Sometimes he’d go to Oshawa or even to one of the dog parks in Orillia, at which he finds the infrastructure lacking.
“The ones in Orillia are pretty small and the one in Oshawa is not fully fenced,” he said.
As for common safety, ground rules, and dogs getting into fights, Mr. Vince remarked that his pets have never had any issues or incidents with other dogs, nor has come across any.
“I have never had any issues,” he said.
Mr. Vince noted that owners usually know their dogs well and would hold them on a leash when they see that the atmosphere is tense with other dogs around.
“If owners aren’t sure whether their dog is friendly or not, it is better to just keep them on a leash; see how they interact with other dogs first,” Mr. Vince suggested.
For those who are concerned about their smaller dogs being with larger dogs, there is a fenced area set aside for the smaller dogs, which is also being used by guide dogs.
Mr. Vince believes that dogs will, for the most part, figure out whether they can get along. Sometimes it just might happen that they don’t get along, and the owners need to remain aware and alert. The rest is a dog’s routine business.
For more about Howlers Corners, visit KawarthaConservation.com/friends/howlerscorners.html or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/howlerscorners