You can’t miss it, my friend Sue said. Indeed, you can’t. As I approached the construction zone next to Oregon Coast Community College, a long stretch of chain link fence gleamed in the sunlight. I parked beside the gate, let Annie out and entered South Beach’s brand new dog park.
Wood chips cover the ground. Tall fir trees surround the site, adding to an aura of serenity not found many other places. To the south, cars glide in and out of the college. From the north, we could hear soft hammering sounds from the houses being built in the new Wilder subdivision. Someday, this area will be filled with homes and shops. The dog park will be moved to another location, but for now, we had lots of room to run.
And we did run. No one else was there when we arrived, which was a relief because I’m never sure how Annie will behave around other dogs. She slowly sniffed her way around the park, marked her new territory, then sprinted across the park, running one way then another. I followed, tossing tennis balls I found here and there. When our legs got tired and Annie’s tongue hung a foot long, I sat on a stump and she lapped up the cool water provided in giant steel dishes.
It was so peaceful. Yes, we have a large yard of our own at home, but out there, I’m listening for the phone, watching the clock, thinking about how I should paint the shed, cut the grass, or stain the deck. Here we could just play and be free.
A car pulled up. I leashed Annie, just in case. A young woman got out, followed by a pup she said was only 12 weeks old. My dog chose to defend her new territory, so we went home. But we’ll be back.
If your dog wants to play and meet other dogs, follow the Oregon Coast Community College signs just south of the Yaquina Bridge. You can’t miss the dog park.