Benches for the humans to sit on, well-kept grassy play areas, and separate sides for the ‘big dogs’ and the ‘little dogs’ make the Oakdale Dog Park a favorite destination of many local dog owners.
“The dog gets so excited when we hit the railroad tracks,” owner Carol Bates of Oakdale of her Shih Tzu, Baxter, who knows when they are approaching his favorite spot.
The dog park is along Crane Road, near the intersection with Greger Street at the west end of the city. Once you cross over the tracks on Crane, it’s a quick U-turn at the stop light to pull up alongside the park.
“It is the best one around,” Bates added of the Oakdale dog park. “I come almost every day.”
Patrick and Elisha Rhoades of Modesto concurred.
“They do have parks in Modesto but they’re not very good,” Elisha said, noting that there aren’t the welcome grassy play areas in the Modesto dog parks.
“We live in east Modesto,” Patrick added, “so it’s not too far for us to come here.”
Their dog, Loki, a terrier mix, was enjoying the chance to run around in the grass, alternately chasing and being chased by Baxter.
“It gets really hot in Modesto but here, I don’t know if it’s the open fields around it or not, but it is a lot cooler,” Patrick said.
Also on hand recently was Rich Olds, with his brindle deer Chihuahua Petey, pressed into service tossing the ball for the three canine friends to chase down.
Oakdale’s park is open from 6 a.m. to dusk every day and it is recommended that dogs be spayed or neutered before coming to the park. They must also have all their vaccinations, to help keep all canines safe.
The separate sides for the large and small breeds is a big drawing card, park users said, since dogs of similar sizes get to play together. For the small dogs, they – and their owners – don’t have to worry about them getting roughed up or accidentally run over by the larger dogs. For the large dogs, they can engage in the playful wrestling, again, with dogs of similar size. It’s a win-win, dog owners said.
Oakdale resident Mike Leavitt brought his terrier mix Patrick in for some exercise late one recent afternoon.
“He’s a rescue dog,” Leavitt said of the roughly year-old dog. “My wife brings him here in the morning, I bring him in the afternoon … he’s kind of spoiled.”
Two times a year the dog park is closed down for about a month for re-seeding and maintenance. But for the most part, it is open for dogs and their owners to enjoy.
Riverbank has just started discussions on developing a dog park for that community while nearby Escalon does not have a dedicated dog park but has several neighborhood parks.
The small dog side of Oakdale’s dog park has just two benches, though many regulars bring their own camp chairs or blankets to use while their dogs play. The big dog side has three benches and both sides have a water fountain with a dual purpose, a top side for humans and a bottom bowl for dogs to lap up the water after a day of play.
“The people you meet here are so nice,” Carol said of enjoying the company of other dog owners.
“It’s like a little dog family,” Elisha agreed.