Tabletop lounging at Barker Field Photo by Steve Hedberg
Richmond and its outlying counties demonstrate their dog-friendliness with plenty of grassy fields and mulched parks where Fido can romp and run. Northside Dog Park, Richmond's newest, opened last year and is located behind Henderson Middle School at the end of Forest Lawn Drive. The park includes separated fenced play areas for large and small dogs, plenty of parking, benches and picnic tables. Church Hill Dog Park, an 800-square-foot fenced area for large and small dogs, is located at 32nd and East Broad streets, in the lower section of Chimborazo Park, and offers dog-designated water stations, picnic tables and red fire hydrants for ambiance. The city's oldest and most heavily trafficked dog park is Barker Field, which is tucked away in the southeast corner of Byrd Park, behind the Dogwood Dell amphitheater.
Between 600 and 700 people come through the dog park on weekends, says Gerry Saunders, Friends of Barker Field treasurer, taking advantage of the mulched areas for large and small dogs, benches and shaded spots. Also in the city on the south side is Phideaux Field at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. The dog park off Forest Hill Avenue and West 44th Street is rarely crowded. Henrico County's Dorey Dog Park, at 2999 Darbytown Road, is one acre with fenced play areas for large and small dogs, water dispensers, agility training equipment, and seating and water fountains for humans. For dog owners in Ashland and Hanover County, head to the dog park within Taylor Park at 13017 Taylor Complex Lane. The dog park has agility training equipment with tunnels and ramps, as well as water and shady areas to cool off. Chesterfield County Parks' Ruff House Dog Park in Rockwood Park, 3401 Courthouse Road (at the corner of Hull Street and Courthouse roads), offers two fenced grassy playing areas (with separate areas for small and large dogs), water, nearby parking, and shaded seating areas. "There's a lot of foot traffic," says Chesterfield Parks' Principal Recreation Specialist Mark Pinney. "The peak time is summertime, where sometimes there's 50 to 60 dogs in there."