Washington Park has got to be one of the better parks in Winston-Salem. Although it isn’t huge, it is listed as one of the biggest parks in Winston-Salem (according to cityofws.org). The walkways curve in and out around Salem Creek and through the wildly growing mixed foliage. And lest it be forgotten that one is not in the middle of a national forest, the end will spit you out near downtown. Due to the curvy walkways that interconnect, one can traverse a smaller or larger area depending on the route one decides to take. Even though most of the banks to the creek are too steep to easily creep down, there is at one spot a small hidden path through to the creek. Often in warmer weather, people and their dogs can be found wading in this spot (although more often the dogs than the owners). Sometimes, a dog getting a bath can even be found here!
One of the most renowned aspects of Washington Park is the fenced in dog park area, in which hounds of all shapes and sizes can be found running off-leash. While all of Winston-Salem’s parks require dogs to be on-leash, in this area, local dogs can roam free (for a few acres, anyway). Despite the relative freedom that dogs and their owners can enjoy, it is expected that owners clean up after their dogs, so keeping an eye on one’s mutt is a must. Additionally, as a dog owner, one needs to be aware of his or her dog’s personality and how the dog acts with other dogs. Any location that has many dogs able to converse has the potential to be a dangerous place, and the dangers are compounded with animals that are not spayed or neutered. Although everyone has the right to enjoy the dog park, I have seen a couple of situations that could have been prevented had the owners been paying attention to their pet. No matter what, male or female, fixed or unfixed, dogs will try to hump each other. Usually, it’s a dominance issue. Therefore, it must be stopped as soon as possible, because most dogs do not appreciate being placed into subordinate position and may attempt to bite the other dog for the presumptuousness of humping.
Also, if you have a puppy, be aware that not all dogs enjoy puppies (nor, for that matter, do all people)! Some dogs may try to attack puppies, for so reason that we people can see. Possibly your puppy has a high energy level. Make sure your puppy isn’t trying to use that energy up with a dog that doesn’t want to be played with. Barking and backing away from your puppy are sure signs that your puppy (or maybe dog) are annoying another dog and is about to get jumped unless you as the owner step in.
Please, for the sake of your pet as well as other pets, take these tips into consideration. As a former veterinary technician, I have witnessed several animals with puncture wounds being brought into the office, and because of this, there are many vets who advocate no dog park time at all. While I personally would never deny my own mutts the clear pleasure that the dog park provides to them, I am also a very cautious pet owner and keep close to my duo. If you love your pet (and especially if you do not have the money for a visit to the vet), I advise you do the same.