Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dog Park: Plymouth Pillars

I thank my gods every day that there is a "dog park" within easy walking distance of my apartment. As most locals describe it, it's more like "a glorified dog run", but it doesn't make any difference to me. Two things matter: I can take Ennis' leash off, and he can run. Bonus point: With other dogs.

Obviously this is the point of a dog park. But when you're talking about an area of Seattle that is less than one mile NE of Pike Place Market and amidst the apartment complex mayhem of South Capitol Hill, you'll be grateful for any amount of off-leash time your dog can get, particularly if you don't have a car to drive to the 9 acres that Magnuson has to offer.

There is no grass and no dirt at Plymouth Pillars. It's kind of like an English beach: pebbles and rocks, dusty and dirty. Some larger rocks surround a little hill that the little dogs especially love. Many complain about the rocks—"They hurt my dog's feet!"—but I assure you, they're harmless. I know Ennis loves them, and he has little feet. They give when he maneuvers, and I think he enjoys that. But who knows.

Online reviews have said that no one ever comes to this park, but as someone who has been coming every single afternoon that the sun is out (which has been quite frequently lately), there is always at least one person/dog, if not a dozen or more of them. The great thing is that almost everyone is in their 20's and 30's—and everyone lives nearby. The dogs are all well-behaved for the most part, clearly excited and thankful to be running free outside of their small apartment walls. Ennis is among these happy frolickers.

The guy who maintains the park, which has gone through major transformations in the last two years, is around almost every afternoon, snapping pictures of the dogs and sometimes their owners. Yours truly and her faithful pooch were snapped several times: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

What a stud.

Between the fence and the freeway is a little hill that currently has sunflowers planted. There are sticks along the fence with a dog's name on each one. Each stick has a sunflower. So come spring, I can pick mine! It's a very nice idea, and it'll be beautiful once they all bloom. Just imagine the view from the freeway! I can't wait.

Plymouth Pillars isn't much in terms of space, or to look at, and there is the occasional drug dealer or flagrant hanging around. But there really is a sense of community with the people who bring their dogs. Not a lot of stuck up people with prissy, designer dogs, which is nice if you actually want to strike up a good conversation.

No judging each other. I like that. Kind of like being a dog.

Plymouth Pillars Park
Boren Ave. at Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
map it!

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