The journey in a dog park |

The journey in a dog park

Teri Vance
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

On a recent morning of this unseasonably warm winter, I took my Foxy Roxy dog for a walk through Riverview Park, at the end of Fifth Street.

I was looking for other dog owners to talk about places in the city that are canine friendly. They were easy to find.

I quickly ran into Peter and Pat Bauer, of Indian Hills, who bring their dogs nearly every day to the park. I met them walking along the park’s south loop with Winston, a red coon hound, and Buffy, a Pomeranian.

“We value this park, we really do,” Pat said. “It’s off leash, and it’s big, which is good because this one (Winston) needs to run. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”

With the sounds of geese honking and the rustle of a breeze through the cottonwoods, the park is a natural refuge within the limits of the city.

“Sometimes you even see wild horses here,” Peter said.

We exchanged farewells and continued in different directions along the path. I decided to finish the mile-long south loop, then I’d hit the main, 1.6-mile loop and talk to more dog owners.

But as I walked along, I couldn’t help but go over my own history at the park.

I adopted Roxy in November 2006 from the Carson City Animal Shelter. I wasn’t really sure I could handle the responsibility of a dog, but went ahead anyway.

For the first little while, we both remained courteously aloof. But when Roxy, who had been abandoned by her previous owners, realized I was offering her a permanent home, she became fiercely loyal.

Emphasis on “fiercely.” She defended home and owner with terrifying growls and barks.

I took her on walks in the hills around my house and she discovered sagebrush, running water and rabbits for the first time. Next step: Obedience school.

She passed her course, but obeying me was never a problem. It was playing well with others.

So we started going to Riverview Park. At first, I kept her on a leash. When other people approached, we stepped off to the side to let them pass. She’d usually growl under her breath.

Over time, I started letting her off the leash, but I would put her back on it as we passed other people. Sometimes she’d lay her ears back and the hair between her shoulders would rise.

Then, I would just call her to my side as we encountered others.

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I just stopped worrying about her.

As I walked along this day, I’d almost forgotten the tension I used to feel when other walkers, joggers, bikers or dogs moved toward us.

I now watched nonchalantly as people passed and Roxy sniffed their feet or ignored them altogether. I smiled that smile to other owners letting them know they could trust her with their dogs, even their children.

The only warning I had to give was that she was wet and muddy from playing in the Carson River.

And I realized that day how far that dirt-covered path had really taken us.

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at or 881-1272.

For more information, call the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department at 887-2262.

– Sonoma Park, 1003 Sonoma St. Dogs are allowed off-leash until 4 p.m. and must be on a leash after then.

– Blackwells Pond Park, 2317 Northridge Drive. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day.

– Steinheimer Park, 2860 Ridgecrest Drive. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day.

– Fulstone Park, Eastridge Lane and Northridge Drive. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day.

– Monte Vista Park, 1102 W. Long St. Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.

– Mayors Park, Koontz Lane and Center Drive. Dogs are allowed off-leash except between 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

– Long Ranch Park, Longview Way and Waterford. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day.

– Ronald D. Wilson Memorial Park, James Drive and Mark Way. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day when construction is done.

– Fuji Park, 601 Old Clear Creek Road. Dogs are allowed off-leash except between 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

– Carson River Park, Carson River Road. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day.

– All park trails and natural and open space areas. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day.

If you want a good hike alongside your dog, consider some of these places.

Ash Canyon area

End of Timberline Drive

The Ash Canyon area is a moderately strenuous jeep road climbing into the foothills of the Carson Range.

Silver Saddle Ranch

East Carson, off of Carson River Road

The Silver Saddle Ranch contains a set of moderate jeep tracks that meander near the Carson River and strenuous footpaths climb and connect with the Prison Hill trail.

Prison Hill

East Carson, off of Edmonds Drive

The Prison Hill system of trails spider webs from the trailhead at the top of Koontz Lane, one of which involves a strenuous climb to the top of Prison Hill and subsequent loop at the top on a rocky footpath.

Clear Creek Road

Top of Clear Creek Road in southeastCarson City

This walk begins at the old Clear Creek camp and continues up Old Clear Creek Road paved and unpaved at times. Moderate to strenuous.

Lakeview Hill

Off Combs Canyon Drive at the U.S. Forest Service gate

This trail climbs until you reach the Flume Trail, with spectacular views of Carson and Washoe valleys.

Kings Canyon

End of King Street

This old highway climbs like a mad dog (no pun intended) to the top of Spooner Summit.

Old V&T trail

Behind Western Nevada College

This trail can be accessed at various points behind the college. It was once the V&T Railroad grade and climbs a scant 3 percent in a mile and a half overlooking the back nine at Silver Oaks Golf Course.