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Enjoying some time with furry friends at BARC Park

If I am looking for a reason to turn off the television or take a break from my household duties, I can just take one look at my dog Tyson, and I can talk myself into taking him outside for a walk or a trip to the dog park. All I have to do is take out his red leash and he starts jumping up and down, panting, and heads straight for the door. Seeing him so excited to be outdoors and socializing with the neighborhood pets can get me off of the couch any day. Although we usually like to take a lap around the block, I know it is also important for him to socialize with other dogs as well as other people.

The dog park provides him with the opportunity to get exercise, socialize and get used to being around adults and children who are not in his immediate family. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 43 million American households have dogs. Unfortunately, the second most common reason many of these dogs are surrendered to shelters is because of lack of training or behavioral issues. Having a physical and social outlet is imperative to encouraging appropriate behaviors with other dogs and people, but also gives them the chance to expend some of their boundless energy.

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To find an excellent dog park in the area, you do not have to travel very far. The BARC — Baltimore Area Recreation Center — Park in Reisterstown located off of Academy Road behind the Hannah More School and park is a convenient and well-maintained dog park that welcomes many local pets daily. There are two fenced-in areas for your dog to run free. There is a 1.5 acre park for large dogs and a .75 acre park for smaller dogs.

There are large grassy areas separated by a fence with water fountains on each side for when the dogs get thirsty. There is also a shaded area for hot, sunny days, as well as benches for the owners to sit on and enjoy the view. The fenced areas also have tennis balls for the dogs to play with as well as ramps and steps for climbing. The perimeter of the fence is also anti-dig, so you can feel secure that your playful pet will not try to dig their way out of the park. The dog park is situated on the same property as the Hannah More Park, so not only can your dog get out and enjoy nature, but you and your family can take a walk, toss around a football, or enjoy the large playground, too. There is also a pavilion with picnic tables to enjoy a snack or meal.

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Yes, at the dog park, your pet gets a chance to socialize and frolic, but being at the park also gives dog owners a chance to enjoy nature as well. Being outside with your pet and being around fellow pet owners is a great way to meet your neighbors and relax. A dog park can bring about a sense of community and a way to share your love of dogs with others who have the same passion. At the BARC Park, there are groups that meet up regularly with their dogs. There is also an annual party thrown by BARC volunteers each year with games, prizes and cake.

Membership to the park is $25 per family per year and dogs must be immunized and licensed. This seems like a small price to pay to be able to meet your neighbors, enjoy the outside and watch your dog having a blast.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

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