Shelia Huffman – Guest Contributor
May 22 2013

Anyone holding a “K-9” wins hands down, at least at one table in a certain Dallas park. 

This particular group of fella dog owners seems to be enjoying a friendly game of Texas Hold ’em while their dogs run about, sniffing one another and doing what dogs do at Central Community Dog Park.

The park, voted one of the best in Dallas, is owned and maintained by Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but it is open to the public.

What makes this park so special?  Aside from the statue of St. Francis of Assisi standing to remind us to love and protect our animals—shade, lots of shade! Mature Live Oaks provide a canopy of shelter from the hot Texas sun. But as the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves,” so big electric fans and a cool water mister are provided during the dog days of summer.

In addition to shade, the park has plenty of seating so you can relax with a book or visit with other “dog people.” The park seems to attract an especially friendly crowd.  Responsible, too, with patrons picking up after their dogs, resulting in a clean park. 

There is also a separate fenced area for small dogs (30 lbs. and under), a bathing station so you can take home a clean dog and a fenced foyer for unleashing and leashing your dog when entering and leaving the park. 

The park is located at 4711 Westside Drive, just behind the church, and ample parking is available. Central Dog Park is open from sunrise to sunset.

How about a game of water frisbee? Now you’re barkin’.

The White Rock Lake Dog Park located at Mockingbird Point, just off Mockingbird Lane, is a dog park with a big swimming hole. A fenced area takes you right down to White Rock Lake. The dogs taking a dip seemed to love it.

The park itself is huge. A brick path memorializing cherished pets leads to the fenced dog areas; one for large dogs, one for small dogs and a third one to the lake. 

It also has plenty of shade trees, and it is equipped with picnic tables—so pack a lunch and bring a date.

White Rock Dog Park also has the distinction of being the first off-leash, city-owned dog park in Dallas. 

Pet Outreach hosts a dog adoption at the park from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month.

The park is open between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily except Monday when it is closed for maintenance. A large parking lot provides plenty of accessible parking.

What’s new in Dallas? Klyde Warren Park! Known as the "heart of the city,” the 5.2-acre park is an urban green space built over Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and it features a special area, My Best Friend’s Park, for the truly “urban canine."

The fenced park lets your dog play off-leash in the midst of downtown Dallas. He or she can even cool off by romping through a water fountain in the park.  My Best Friend’s Park is a city dog’s dream come true. 

Starting in June, obedience training classes will be offered on Saturday afternoons. This is a great opportunity to learn how to be a “good dog” owner. 

Another bonus at Klyde Warren? The Dallas Gourmet food trucks line the curbs bumper to bumper on weekends, giving people a variety of chop lickin’ treats for lunch or snack. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

So forget that old saying “dogs are people, too.” It’s not all about them. You should have some fun—and you can, at one of the Dallas dog parks.         

"To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace." - Milan Kundera