Your dog isn’t simply an animal, it’s a member of your family and you want to give your furry four-legged friend the very best. He needs his exercise— plenty of space to stretch his legs, get some fresh air, play and socialize. But not just any dog park will do. Here’s an update on some that are sure to suit your fancy.

Shaw Dog Park
1673 11th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
(330) 737-1364
www.shawdogs.org

Let your canine companion run free through 15,000 square feet of fenced-in fun. The Shaw Dog Park is a free facility that is equipped with two fully-fenced enclosures. One enclosure is for dogs that weigh under 25 pounds, are older or have physical challenges. A larger enclosure is more suited for active play like running, ball tossing and frisbee-throwing. Let your dog enjoy some social time off-leash and burn off some energy as it gets a thorough workout at this spacious park.

Newark Street Dog Park 
Newark St. N.W. and 39th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 671-0421
www.newarkstdogpark.com

The Newark Street Dog Park offers bench seating and roofed pergolas for humans to enjoy while their pets frolic at play. Your dog’s comfort is given equal consideration as the grounds of the park are composed of a crushed granite surface that is comfortable for dog paws. The surface is also environmentally friendly. Newark Street Dog Park has a small play area for little dogs, pups and dogs new to the park to get acclimated, as well as a separate larger one once they become used to the environment and the other dogs. But the amenities don’t end there. The park offers tennis balls so you can play with your pup, a water fountain for dogs to refresh during the summer heat, as well as a water pump and stainless steel water bowls for your pets to use year-round. This park is truly what you call “all-inclusive.”

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Rockville Dog Park At King Farm
Gaither Road and Piccard Drive
RockvilleMD 20852
(240) 314-8700
www.rockvillemd.gov

Your pet will enjoy a fun afternoon at the Rockville Dog Park. On hot, sunny days, your dog can lounge in the cool relief of a 20-by-20-foot shade shelter that runs through areas for both large and small dogs. Other features of this park include a Mutt Mitt Station, park benches, picnic tables and drinking fountains. For the benefit of you and your pets, not just anyone can roll up and use the facility. The park is locked and restricted to Rockville residents whose dogs are licensed in that city. Licensed dog owners are provided the combination code to enter. For your added convenience, there’s even parking to make the logistics of your visit that much easier.

Ruff House Dog Park
3401 Courthouse Road
Richmond, VA 23236
(804) 748-8364
www.ruffhousedogpark.com

Ruff House Dog Park has a little something for both pets and their humans with two kennels, bench seating, water and convenient parking. The park is run by an organization whose mission is to keep “a beautiful and well-maintained space open to dog lovers and friends,” where pet visitors can exercise and play in a clean and safe environment. Ruff House offers plenty to keep your dog’s social calendar full throughout the year, as it sponsors activities for your pet that include fun events like Birthday Bash in May, Howl-a-woof in October and Santa Paws in December. Your dog’s dance card will be full in no time.

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Kevin Don Porter is the author of OVER THE EDGE and MISSING—two mysteries available on Amazon.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com..