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Best Places to Take Your Dog in West Michigan – Gene’s Top Five

photo by Gene Parker

After such a wet spring, it’s gonna be a “Dog gone” good summer. Four out of five canine experts agree West Michigan is a heck of good place to be a dog. (The fifth opinion belongs to a cat named Izzie and although she says it’s a nice place for dogs…it’s an even better place for cats!)  We have two dogs…a Jack Russell Terrier named Holly and  a Golden Retriever named Cali.  Both of our girls love to play outside in the West Michigan sunshine. Holly especially loves to go for a car ride because most of the time it means we are going to go someplace fun! So with fun in mind, here  (in no particular order) are Holly and Cali’s five favorite places to visit in West Michigan.

1)  Riverside Park in Grand Rapids.  This beautiful park has everything any dog would want:  Trees, water wide open spaces, and it’s a great place to meet other dogs.  This Saturday (June 4)Riverside Park is host to the Dog Day in the Park from the Grand Rapids Kennel Club.  There will be face painting, freestyle dancing with dogs, demonstrations, low cost micro-chipping and more fun and games for dogs and their human companions!  Here’s a video link of the dog parade last year!

photo by Barb Parker

2) Chase Bank in Rockford. Cali loves everyone at the bank.  She appreciates their great customer service and the fact they know her by name.  Cali always says “If you have to put your money anywhere, put it in a place to offers high yield interest and good cookies!  If you can’t make to it Chase Bank in Rockford, try your bank.  They probably have  free cookies for the canine companions in your vehicle.  Just ask!

3)  Kruse Park in Muskegon. What dog doesn’t like to swim.  Ever since Holly dove into our pool to “save” her boy, who she thought I was hurting. she has loved the water.  It was a sad day for Holly when she found out we were selling the pool, but she perked up when I promised to take her back to Kruse Park in Muskegon. Kruse Park has about one mile of Lake Michigan Beach, with breathtaking views of the big lake.  The city of Muskegon has allocated a section of the beach along the northern part of the park just for dogs.  Take a look at this video from youtube and see how much fun you and your dog will have at Kruse Park.

http://youtu.be/yfSYoFx9w4c.

Even if you don’t have a dog, Kruse Park is a very special place.  One visitor compared it to something out of a storybook.

It was the nicest, friendliest beach I’ve ever been to.  The dogs were all having a blast, running, playing, swimming and the people were so nice, too!”

4) Hillcrest Park in Grand Rapids. Looking for a great place to unwind and meet some new friends?  Hillcrest Park located near the intersection of Michigan and Fuller, directly south of Fuller Park has gotten high marks since it opened a few years ago.

“This is a great place for people to meet, people who would not have met under other circumstances,” East Grand Rapids resident Dave Kagan said. “I’m not sure who this park is more valuable for, the dogs or their owners.”

M-Live

The off-leash park is maintained by volunteers and is known officially as the Pet Supplies Plus Off-Leash Dog Area.  Take your hound there one time and they’ll be begging to go back again!  Holly and Cali both gave it four (out of four) barks!

5) Head on out the door and go for a walk! Walking is good exercise for you and your dog! It’s a great way to bond and enjoy the outdoors. Holly and Cali enjoy five or six different walks around our neighborhood. It’s amazing to me how they know the nuances of each route. Besides, you know what they say, “A tired dog is a good dog”

photo from Niki Blohm

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