I’m currently camping in Salt Springs Recreation area, about 30 miles outside of Ocala. My Old English Sheepdog Mirra has been missing the companionship of other dogs because she has to stay on the leash while in the campground. She was more than ready to have a good romp with other dogs, so we took the drive to Millennium Dog park located at 2513 SE 32nd Avenue in Ocala, Florida.
It was well worth the long trip! The park is a very spacious 4.5 acres of wide open fenced in space. Parking is conveniently located right next to the entrance. There are two separate areas – one for large and one for small dogs. You can take small dogs into the large dog area, but no large dogs in the small dog area. Although there are no real shade trees, the park offers a large pavilion for dogs and their people to get out of the sun and cool off. There are water stations and bowls in the pavilion for thirsty dogs.
The park rules prohibit un-neutered males, females in heat and puppies under six months. Also, no children under 12 are allowed – a rule I completely agree with. I’ve been to dog parks where toddlers have left screaming because they were knocked over by dogs running wild in play. Another sensible rule that I wish more parks would enforce is the prohibition of food or dog treats. There is a three dog limit for each owner. Of course, all dogs are required to have proof of a current rabies vaccination, and no aggressive dogs are allowed.
The park is only open five days a week – Saturday through Wednesday. We visited on a Sunday, which is always a terrific day if you want to make sure that there are plenty of playmates for your pet. There were about twenty five dogs of different sizes and breeds ready to play with our girl. The atmosphere of the park was very pleasant, with friendly owners and well behaved dogs. I noticed that all of the owners were quick to interrupt any possible problems if their dog showed any signs of aggression. As a result, Mirra had a great time running with her own kind. She especially liked a little Jack Russell that managed to tire her out. She was a bit hesitant with a Great Dane (a Dane had snapped at her once), but she found the courage to make friends and all was well.
Mirra left the park exhausted but happy, and we will be sure to take her back to this wonderful dog park.
For more information, check out the park’s web site.