dog parks and ghost stories

dog parks and ghost stories

As I’ve mentioned before, Paul and I take Jera to the dog park for about an hour 4 times a week. We’ve found if we aren’t consistent about this she drives us NUTS. (THOSE are the times when I just want to open the door and let her run away, far away…)

There is a nice dog park about 10 minutes from our house that just opened recently. It’s really nice, with a large park for big dogs and a separate smaller one for dogs 20 lbs. and under. We tried taking Jera to the big dog park because sometimes there aren’t any dogs in the small dog park, but she is somewhat of a problem. She likes to get all the big dogs to chase her as she runs around, and if they start lagging behind she stops and waits for them. She’s a VERY fast runner and is very quick at doing a 180 mid-stride, so she can often outrun some of the slower big dogs (like Golden Retrievers). She doesn’t seem to realize they are much bigger than her, and they think it’s much fun to chase a puppy around. They sit on top of her and bite her ears and she doesn’t complain. When we get home, we find scratches and cuts all over her. Sigh. So we decided to go back to the small dog park, where she might be alone but at least she isn’t being eaten up.

Around the middle of May, they closed the big dog park to re-sod it. Consequently, all the big dog owners are bringing their big dogs to the small dog park. We have more often than not had to leave the park immediately because Jera is being a problem. It’s SOOOOOOOO frustrating because we don’t have a yard to let her run around, so our only place to let her off leash is the dog park And now the big dogs have taken over the park, and so the small dogs have stopped coming. I don’t blame them. The worst are the big dog puppies who just want to play but don’t realize the difference in size. And really, Jera is a problem too because she won’t leave the big dogs alone – she just entices them and lets them sit on top of her biting her even though she can get away.

So, we have decided to find a new dog park. I researched online and found another one near us, so we went after work yesterday. This one is in the woods, and there is only one park (instead of two separate ones for big dogs and small dogs). Jera went crazy sniffing and resniffing every tree, and then she started playing with the other dogs. Unfortunately there was another puppy there who was a bit bigger than Jera and loved to sit on top of Jera. The other dog was also enjoying biting at Jera. Jera wasn’t running at all – she kept to underneath the benches and between peoples’ feet. Her tail was between her legs and she cried out once. Frustrated we put her back on the leash and left. We walked around for a long time, but walks just aren’t as intensive as letting her run and she really needs to run.

A slight side note: I just looked up the phone number for the other dog park to call and complain about them letting the big dogs into the small dog park, and they said they would be opening the big dog park again on June 11th. Hooray!! I think tonight we’ll take her to the tennis courts of my apartment complex – they are all fenced in – and let her run. I hope that helps some.

Anyways… so we were at this other dog park last night, and it’s in this huge park with all these abandoned buildings. We first thought it was an old apartment building, but then as we walked up to it and peeked inside we decided that it was an old dorm. The entryway had a front desk JUST like Gerig. Then we were trying to figure out what kind of place this park used to be, because there weren’t enough buildings to be a college campus. We drove all around and looked at all the old buildings. One looked like a chapel (later found out it’s an old theater) and it was obvious that despite being boarded up vandals had come in and wrecked havoc. So, when I got home, I looked online to see what I could find out about this place. (WHAT did we do before internet??)

The park used to be a mental health hospital called Brook Run. It was opened in 1965 and shut down in 1997 because, it seems, of some dubious circumstances. We didn’t see the actual hospital portion because the road leading to it is gated off, but despite the “security” people love to sneak in and take pictures/spraypaint/skateboard/who knows what else. Reading all the articles about it made me shiver… The dog park is right next to where the hospital is – we probably could have seen it if we had looked. I’m not sure what the buildings were that we saw, but I could see them being housing for some of the patients (so our guess of dorms wasn’t too far off). For some interesting pictures of the hospital, check out this Flickr set I found. (If you look at the aerial photograph of the hospital – on the top center you’ll see the corner of another building that’s behind the hospital. That’s the building we walked around, where the dog park was.) I thought the pictures were very interesting. Too bad there is so much spray-paint – I think the building would be a fascinating place to photograph.

Reading about it was all very creepy (especially pictures like this one and this one), even though I don’t believe it is haunted. I also read somewhere else that the hospital is supposed to be demolished this weekend. They are going to turn the whole area into a park for fun, games, and the arts (remember I said there was a theater?). It should be very nice when they’re done – the property is beautiful with lots of old trees.

We’re going to try a 3rd dog park tonight – this one supposedly has a special dog park for little dogs, so I hope Jera can finally get some of her energy out. :-)

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