Sydney’s unseasonably warm weather of late has been perfect for exploring the city’s dog-friendly parks.
One of our favourite green spaces in which to spend a sunny afternoon is, of course, Centennial Park. And since this weekend marks the three-month anniversary since we brought Harry home from Monika’s Doggie Rescue, what better way to celebrate than with a picnic in the park?
Almost half of Centennial is designated off-leash and for Harry that means just one thing – more than 150 hectares of open space in which to play BALL!!
Harry treats a game of fetch like a religious experience. His eyes glaze over like a zealot when he clocks a ball and, despite his advancing years, he will play for hours – always retrieving the ball and dropping it promptly at your feet to throw again. He might be close to 10 years old but he’s far from in his dotage.
The park also offers countless scent trails to follow (what better pastime for a terrier?), undergrowth to forage through and several ponds full of ducks which
gives Harry total blood lust certainly piques Harry’s interest.
Yes, much to our surprise, our gentle and timid little fellow (he’s scared of cats, for crying out loud) becomes a different dog when a duck hits his radar. The red mist descends and Harry is champing at the bit to see off those feathered fiends.
So we’ve learned to steer well clear of ponds and focus instead on trying to make new four-legged friends.
Easier said than done when, on the whole, Harry prefers humans to dogs. Given the unpredictable nature of some of the mutts who’ve approached us, I can understand his trepidation. I wasn’t too keen on the mini hell-hound that clamped its teeth around my ankle the other day either. The down side of off-leash areas, I guess.
Luckily, Harry has a marvellous sense of self-preservation (how else has he survived the mean streets or wherever else he’s spent the past 10 years?). He simply turns his back on aggressive dogs and surrenders the ball – his most beloved of possessions – instantly if more boisterous players decide they want it.
When playtime’s over, pups can spruce up before heading home courtesy of Pet Wash 2000 (just past Federation Pavilion, off Grand Drive). The pet grooming service operates seven days a week and offers nail clips and flea rinses, as well as the usual wash and blow-dry. We haven’t tried it yet but we’ve watched several happy customers emerge fresh and fluffy from the groomer’s efforts.
Centennial Park is also home to puppy school every Sunday morning, with Eastern Suburbs Dog Training offering obedience classes for puppies and adult dogs, as well as agility training.
Sadly our little park pup still gets too nervous to cope with so many new dogs and people. We tried once, but then a German shepherd began stalking him (he was friendly, albeit in a slightly creepy way) and that was Harry done for the day. Give us another three months together and we’ll give it another go. Slow and steady wins the race, hey Harry?