Because it was not raining and Parker the poodle was in need of a car ride and a rocking good dog time, it seemed as good a time as any to head to Cherry Beach, down at the lake. It is a wonderful place for dogs to run free, and to swim and for humans to marvel at how happy another species can be. I took some pictures of the place and the dogs.
This tree represent the middle of the leash-free zone that is immediately north of the shoreline.
It’s fair to say that my dogs and I have been to every dog park in the Greater Toronto area. Two or three times, just to be sure. With just one dog now, I go to a select few. After eight years, and recognizing a bit of bias on my part, Parker and I have determined that the best places for him are Cherry Beach and Riverdale Park (both kind of central); Trinity-Bellwoods Park, (in the west end) and Monarch Park (east end and within walking distance).
The picture below is of the western edge of Cherry Beach. Looking out across the bay to the north is the Toronto skyline. The treeline to the slight left is the eastern edge of the Toronto Islands, the residential one called Ward’s Island. The water that separates the edge of the island from the edge of the mainland beach is called the Eastern Gap.
Below is Parker trying hard to contain himself. He’s a bit shaggy, and yes, I am letting his soul patch grow in again. It’s a bit grayer than it used to be. He’s eight years old now, which is 43 in human years. And that is a bit disconcerting. Not that he notices anything. He still gallops outside and lounges inside. Parker has taught me to never throw a ball like a girl. I love him for that. He will gallop full speed once the ball is thrown which is two seconds after this shot was taken and he will get a mouth full of sand, which he doesn’t really care too much for.
This Sunday, because we were later than usual, we ran into people and dogs we had not seen in a long while, including Jim, who has Bella the brown lab. His dog is super sweet, if you don’t count the fact that she would eat a small dog in a heartbeat given a sniff of a chance.
Jim and Parker do the poodle-bounce-about when they see each other and Bella ignores them. She thinks Parker is a goof. And he is.
After running around chasing the ball, it was time to head to the water, and throw sticks for Parker to retrieve. He looks a bit different when wet. He’s only 60 pounds and quite slim under all those curls.
At times, there can be upwards of 60 dogs at Cherry Beach, yet it’s rare that there is ever any trouble. GrrrBot (aka Parker) keeps other dogs away when he wants to be alone with a grr that sounds very much like mine. Hmmmmm.
Dogs might like it here but they are not alone. Cherry Beach is a dog lover’s dream place. It’s possible to meet every possible kind of breed of love puppy on the planet. Indeed, people who are considering getting a dog often come down to look at different dogs and talk with dog owners.
We met a five-year old super sweet Great Dane. Granted, his owner is on the small side, but have you seen a happier dog face in the last day or so? Turns out, the Dane’s owner knows a lot about dogs. For example, did you know there’s such thing in the dog business world as black dog syndrome? Me neither. Seems many people and many dogs are afraid of black dogs. Apparently putting something reflective on them works to deactivate the fear that other dogs might have. Humans, well, that is a whole other matter, a lot more money and a whole lot of time and talking.
My camera battery died by the time we met Max, the 12-week old yellow lab who’s hind quarters did not stop moving. And we saw our neighbours, the Siberian Husky princess, Scarlet, and her consort, also a Siberian Husky named Sterling. The dogs know each other well enough to say hi, hang out and catch up.
We met a 14-month old red standard poodle named Laker. He and Parker did the poodle stand-off with tails wagging for all of a minute then, very poodle-like, ignored each other while their humans talked.
After a total of over two hours, it was time to head back to the car, back home and back to other Sunday things.
It seemed at one point, when there were about 28 dogs and about 50 people, that there was a whole lot of unconditional love being expressed between the dogs and their humans and a lot of fun being had. Lots of smiles between people. And lots from the dogs.