Celebrate International Dog Day at a local dog park

Published 9:41 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

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By Judy Stiles

Most dog owners are greeted with an enthusiastic wagging tail whether they come home from a day’s work or just step out to retrieve the mail. Millions of families have loyal dogs who love and stand by their owners unconditionally. International Dog Day is an annual celebration that takes place on Friday, August 26 and is a day set aside to celebrate the priceless precious pooches many call their best friends.

There are many dog-friendly locations in the Outer Banks. Whether at beaches, parks, hiking trails or sitting on an outside restaurant patio, there are multiple places for dogs to be out and about with their humans. Leash laws, licensing requirements and proof of rabies vaccinations vary depending on the municipalities, but all welcome dogs into their communities.

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There are four dog parks in Dare County open to residents and visitors free of charge that are good options for dogs to play unleashed. The pups can romp and run safely in large fenced-in areas that keeps them away from the traffic.

The Kitty Hawk Dog Park, located at 900 West Kitty Road, has two fenced areas with a two-gate entry to securely keep the animals from accidentally getting out when the gate is opened. The park has become a community hub for dogs to play and pet owners to socialize.

Kitty Hawk resident Sandy Standley has used the Kitty Hawk Dog Park for 10 years. “I enjoy the park, I have made friends,” said Standley. “The dogs enjoy one another and will begin barking before they get out of the car.” Standley’s beagle, Pepper, has claimed the park bench and spends much of his time on the bench getting rubs while watching the hubbub of the other dogs sniffing, digging, chasing and frolicking.

Deb Helber, from Southern Shores, comes to the dog park without her dog Sophie to keep up with her human friends while Sophie rehabilitates from a medical procedure. Helber said, “The dog park is a place for the dogs to get off the leash, run and have freedom. No one knew each other before we brought our dogs here; it is nice for the dogs and people.”

The Roanoke Island Dog Park is located at 378 Airport Road in Manteo in front of the Dare County Animal Shelter – Outer Banks SPCA. The park has two grassy fenced areas. Dare County Parks and Recreation oversees the Kitty Hawk and Roanoke Island dog parks. Both require an application and a current rabies vaccination. Applications are available on the Dare County Parks and Recreation website at www.darenc.com.

The Kill Devil Hills dog park, located at 103 Veterans Drive was recently renamed Mary’s Paws Park. The park features 1.5 acres of fenced area with toys and obstacles for the pups and swings and benches for pet owners. There is also a dog washing station.

The Nags Head dog park, located at 227 West Satterfield Landing Road, is called the Dog Park at Satterfield Landing Road. The park features two fenced areas that is divided to give the large and small dogs separate play areas.

In addition to the socialization, there are other benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can help develop children’s social, emotional and cognitive skills. Dogs can often nudge their two-legged companions off the sofa and into a more active life style. On International Dog Day, give your dog a special treat, head out to play at the dog park and give yourself a pat on the back for improving your own health.

If you don’t have a dog but are considering one, International Dog Day is a great day to consider rescuing an animal from a shelter.

The Dare County Animal Shelter is managed by the Outer Banks SPCA and serves as a community resource by assisting abandoned and homeless animals across Dare County. The shelter staff can help you determine if a pet fits with your lifestyle, and help you find a furry friend. The shelter is located at 378 Airport Road in Manteo.

Other area animal shelters include the Currituck County Animal Shelter, located at 140 Aviation Parkway in Barco – 252-453-8682; the SPCA of Northeast North Carolina, located at 102 Enterprise Drive in Elizabeth City – 252-338-5222; and the Tyrrell County Animal Shelter, located at 248 Smith Lane in Columbia – 252-766-0033.