Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the freedom of heart lake

I stumbled upon a dog owner's paradise one day back in February...Heart Lake. It's a local Conservation Area that is home to a number of large picnic areas, a paved walkway that goes on for miles through park, as well as several hiking trails that weave through wooded areas and around the large lake. It operates during the summer and fall season with the usual parking and admittance fees, packed crowds of families on the weekends, and the usual 'dogs must be leashed at all times" rules and regulations. It is, however, closed for the season between Thanksgiving and Easter...closed and transformed into a wonderland for dogs.







I discovered, purely by chance, that during the off season, Heart Lake becomes an unofficial, leash free park. And it is a little slice of sunshine. Due to the expansive nature of the park, dogs can comfortably meet and frolic with one another, intermittently on a walk, without the anxiety that can sometimes accompany the forced continuous interaction that occurs in the small, confined little plots of land that are designated as leash-free zones in the city. And for less sociable dogs, the space allows for freedom without interaction if necessary. As I walked Sophie through Heart Lake on several different occasions, there was peaceful vibe that simply did not exist at the frenzied leash-free zones.






The owners are calm, courteous and genuinely enjoy spending time with their dogs. They recognize the value of what they have found at Heart Lake and make a concerted effort to leave a small footprint. By continuing to treat the conservation area, each other and the dogs with respect, we hope that those who may have cause to speak out against our use of the park in the off season will continue to quietly look the other way. And our dogs will continue know the freedom and joy of Heart Lake.

(All photos in this post, as well as many on The Charlie Project site, are from Heart Lake)

28 comments:

edprescott said...

Truely a little slice of doggie heaven..:-)

The Write Girl said...

You guys look like you had a good time. These photos are priceless : )

Joanne said...

What a treasure for the dogs, and for yourself. I'd love to walk on those miles of trails!

Erin,Bubs,Tex and Veda said...

Very cute :D Looks like they had fun!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Boy, what a find. Wish I could join you. They look like they're having a BALL!

Sharon said...

How fun!!! I just finished watching the movie "Marley & Me" & cried my eyes out! I read the book & knew I couldn't see it at the movie theatre because I already knew what the ending would do to me. I LOVE seeing dogs run & play and think there should be more places like this for them.

Emma Rose said...

How wonderful to have a place like that to make new friends, or just be alone together...

Hugs for my friend Sophie!

Emma Rose

Delwyn said...

A lucky find for the doogies. We have 'dog beaches'- designated leash free zones for wonderful doogie romps and swims.

Stella said...

Thank you for visiting my blog this evening. In returning the visit, I find beautiful writing, and wonderful photos. I need to come back when its not so close to bedtime and enjoy more of what you have to say.

Jo and Stella

Kathy said...

It sounds like a wonderland for you and Sophie. I love the pictures.

Far Side of Fifty said...

What a great place you have found for winter runs! Could they make part of it an off leash area in the other part of the year also? I don't have a problem with the on leash rule when there are lots of people and children around..but I have been to a few areas that say "NO Dogs allowed" Needless to say..we don't stop there. I think a few ruin it for others, I try to always have a plastic bag in my pocket..just in case..
Wonderful photographs! :)

Butler and Bagman said...

What perfect moments of jumping...what a well-timed camera!

gigi said...

It's just a shame that they can't have the same fun spring and summer. Beautiful shots. It's as if you must be laying on the ground to get such good pictures.

Jeanne said...

Cool place!

Fenway said...

Sigh....we are constantly dealing with leash laws where we live. All we want is a slice of heaven like you found--no crazy dog packs, no hordes of little kids crazed to pet the dogs, no Little League or soccer games. Is it too much to ask that taxpayer money ALSO fund a decent sized natural area for dogs to run free and play just with their owners?

Bruce said...

I wish they made cat parks!

Carolynn said...

What a great romp! I'm so glad to hear you found a spot where Sophie can run & play and be with other dogs, if she wants to in the beauty of the great outdoors. Even if its only during the off season.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

This looks wonderful. I am so glad that you and Sophie have a great spot to go to.

We are having problems with White Rock beach. Dogs are only allowed there on-leash during the winter. Now people are taking their dogs off-leash, whenever and where ever they want. Letting them mess on the beach where the kids play, and they don't clean up after themselves. A few people can so easily ruin it for everyone.

Jen

Becky said...

Nothing like seeing a dog run free! Glad you found this spot for Sophie!

Chris said...

I have just found your blog and loved the pictures of the dogs having fun. We are so lucky here in the north of
Scotland, we have miles and miles of beaches, woods and tracks where our dogs can run free. I hope you contonue to enjoy many happy days

Barry said...

"without the anxiety that can sometimes accompany the forced continuous interaction that occurs in the small, confined little plots of land that are designated as leash-free zones in the city"

Well said. I try to take Lindsay to such places as little as possible. They certainly weren't designed by anyone with a knowledge of, and love of dogs.

Katherine Aucoin said...

You certainly got some great action shots! I'm hoping more area like tis start showing up

HalfCrazy said...

Oh, I'm so glad that they have a place to run around and play with other dogs!

Glad you encountered more dogs for the Charlie Project!

Pam said...

All of those dogs look so darn happy. Being free, running and playing does a dog good.

Mason Dixie said...

Seems like a great place, I too do not like the confined small spaces Mason gets antsy.

Natashya said...

What happy looking puppies!

Jan said...

Too bad cats aren't social like dogs. My cat has such bad cabin fever. He has never been outside but wants to so badly

SSQuo said...

The pics are gorgeous! :)

I recently had a fair share of dog parks and creeks as we were visiting friends. I think im ready for another visit.