You can't take a wrong turn at the Ashland Dog Park. As soon as you walk through the double gates, you'll be greeted by a number of athletic, over-friendly mutts and a few purebreds.
Even if you don't have a canine, this 2-acre park still is a place to hang out. Kids love to watch other people's dogs swim in the plastic kiddie pools, throw them tennis balls and then pet the furry puppies.
Adults do, too. After all, there's nothing like a little puppy love to make you feel young again.
"I love backpacking trips and long day hikes through the forest with my dogs."
— Chip Layton
"Summer is the time in which we get color in our life through beautiful plants and flowers. Each morning I look forward to simply getting down and in the dirt. I'm completely in my space while planting the newest beauty from growers markets or small and large businesses that I shop at regularly. I collect just the right mix of sunshine."
— Molly McBeth
That's what Georgia Ross, 82, and Bill Davies, 92, think. They arrive at the dog park "just about every day," rain or shine, to let their dogs frolic.
"I've been coming to the dog park since 1948," she says, with a casual wave of her hand.
If you tromp around the grass and mud in the mid-afternoon, you'll meet the "3 o'clock crowd," as Paul Nylund calls these visitors. They swing by to let their dogs exercise, unleashed, while they stand around and chat. Nylund shows up with his yellow lab retriever, Chester.
Cameron Loughlin, gesturing to Nylund, says, "You know, there are around 10 people who come here, no matter what, and I'd say we're probably one of them."
Loughlin, a meteorologist at KOBI Channel 5, is accompanied by his aptly named dogs, Radar, a McNab cattle dog, and Doppler, a Great Danebull (a Great Dane-pit bull mix).
Nylund nods. "I've been here with snow all over and still Chester swims in the creek," he says. "I mean, it's mandatory that we come here." He starts to say something else, but his words are interrupted by Chester jumping into the pool — again.
Amelia Covert Zeve is an Ashland-based writer who explores the outdoors and chronicles her adventures for publications. Contact her at email@example.com.