dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Al Lopez Dog Park (Tampa, FL)

4810 N Himes Ave, Tampa, FL 33614

al lopez dog park tampa

I went to check out Al Lopez Dog Park because variety is the spice of life. It’s a pretty good one! Lots of space.

al lopez dog park tampa

There is a separate small dog area, but no one was using it except for me, so I eventually moved to the large dog area. When other people with small dogs arrived, they also used the large dog area.

al lopez dog park tampa

Although the park looks empty in my photos, several people and their dogs were there. Everyone was friendly. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough seating for everyone. For such a big park, there should be more benches.

al lopez dog park tampa

I was dogsitting the dog sniffing Walnut’s butt in the above photo at the time. They’d been kind of iffy about each other in my apartment, but really bonded at the dog park, mostly over a shared suspicion about other dogs.

al lopez dog park tampa

The park did have a few of these fake log things and I sat on one in lieu of a bench. Not very comfortable.

al lopez dog park tampa

This last photo wasn’t taken in the larger park around the dog park. I’d never seen a bat shelter before and it caught my eye.

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dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Picnic Island Dog Beach (Tampa, FL)

7409 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa, FL 33616

picnic island dog beach tampa

I love the dog beach! It’s so nice to sit and let my dog run around while looking at something pretty. Even though this dog beach is called Picnic Island, it’s never crossed my mind to bring a picnic there until now.

picnic island dog beach tampa

This is one of the biggest dog parks/beaches I go to, if not the biggest. There’s so much space. That’s nice because people can interact when they want, or do their own thing.

picnic island dog beach tampa

There are a few park benches and they’re pretty far apart, so it’s really easy to sit and read without having to talk with anyone.

picnic island dog beach tampa

Every time I’ve been here, I’ve seen fish jump out of the water, which is fun. Although since then someone told me that fish jump out of water when the water is polluted and they’re trying to get more oxygen…

picnic island dog beach tampa

If you’re in Tampa, I highly recommend Picnic Island Dog Beach. There aren’t big and small dog areas, but every time I’ve been there, the big dogs have been friendly. Also, it’s a waaay less busy dog beach than Davis Island Dog Beach, which is perfect for introverts like me.

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dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Gadsden Dog Park in Tampa, FL

Gadsden Dog Park          6901 S. MacDill Ave. Tampa, FL 33611

This was a nice dog park. My parents were in town when I went there. I don’t think they’ve spent much time in dog parks before. This might’ve even been their first one. They seemed to dig it.

I took this photos months ago. I don’t go to dog parks any more because I don’t have a car any more. That means I take longer, more frequent walks, but read much less.

I don’t really want to stay in Tampa another year. But, Tampa has a good job for me, so I probably shouldn’t leave until I can land something better. Is there a word for when you know you need to make a change, but you haven’t made it yet?

Also, how to be patient and satisfied during those times, instead of longing for the change or trying to rush things along? This is an issue I’ve faced in almost every area: career, health, relationships, etc.

Do you ever feel like you’re behind? I don’t mean in a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses type of way. I mean like there’s always a gap between what you’re doing and what you want to be doing.

I guess everyone feels that way, unless they’re complacent? I guess we’re designed that way. That’s what desire and motivation are about. I guess it’s a good thing, but isn’t it frustrating?

I’ve also noticed this in creative work. The project I’m excited about is rarely the one I’m actively working on. I’m finishing the drudgery of the current project while dreaming of the next project, because I want to finish things to completion rather than start and stop, dashing around without focus, without building.

I guess that points to the importance of mindfulness. If you aren’t present, you’ll never be happy, even in your “dream job,” or with your “dream guy” (or woman). There’s always an impulse to want something else. Not necessarily something different, but something deeper, more, the next level. The tricky part is honoring instead of burying that impulse without letting it overrun you.

I think the trick is to try and do both. Be loyal, be faithful, be reliable, be trustworthy, engage in the day-to-day, the work, the tedium, but bring some of that excitement for the next thing, the other thing, into the framework of now. For example, follow through and post the months-old dog park blog post that’s on your to-do list, but between the photos and your analysis of the park (friendly dogs, friendly owners, 100% recommend), write a bunch that feels real and living, inject the stale with what’s on your mind N-O-W.

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dog parks, dogs, Florida, places

Carolyn Meeker Dog Park

Carolyn Meeker Dog Park
122 1st Avenue SW
Lutz, FL 33548

Carolyn Meeker dog park

The Carolyn Meeker Dog Park is a nice sized dog park north of Tampa in Lutz, Florida. Even though Lutz isn’t very far away, it has quite the rural, small town type of feel.

Carolyn Meeker dog park

The dog park is broken up into two sections–one for small dogs and another for large dogs, which I always appreciate. The small dog area looks a lot nicer, imo, with more of the ground being covered in grass.

Carolyn Meeker dog park

I’ve been to this dog park a few times, and while it doesn’t usually get crowded, there’s usually always at least one other dog that stops by while I’m there. The small dogs were the perfect size to play with my dog.

Carolyn Meeker dog park

When my dog was a pup, he’d play with large dogs no problem. It makes me sad that he’s so scared now. But that doesn’t really matter at parks like this, where the areas are separated and owners actually respect the rules.

Carolyn Meeker dog park

I looked up Carolyn Meeker, out of curiosity. (For some reason there’s nothing about her on the history of Carolyn Meeker Park page.) If the obituary I found is for the same Carolyn Meeker, which I’m sure it is, she was very active in Lutz civic life and also a bell ringer at the local Catholic Church.

Now I can only think about one thing: what do I have to do to get a dog park named after me?

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dog parks, dogs

Queenie’s Dog Park

Queenie’s Dog Park
1710 N. Highland Ave.
Tampa, FL 33602

Queenie’s is a nice little dog park north of downtown Tampa.

At first I thought it wouldn’t be enjoyable because of the fake ground covering much of it. It looks like blacktop, but is spongy. What is that stuff called? I know it’s good for trails because it doesn’t put as much strain on the joints of runners.

Walnut didn’t seem to mind, though. I sat at a picnic table and read a book. At first we were the only ones there, but within 30 minutes two large dogs and four small dogs arrived. All of them were well-behaved and the owners were friendly, but not too friendly. Multiple people chatted with me briefly, but no one tried to force me into a long conversation. Rejoice!

After we left the dog park, I walked around a little to check out the area. It’s pretty nice and on the river walk. There is also a water park next door that was full of kids and moms, but I didn’t photograph it.

I find myself wondering, why am I blogging about dog parks? But then I remember, I feel like it.

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