Eye on MI | Dogs rule

Dogs ‘welcome’ a new playmate at the dog park at Luther Burbank Park last week. - Kim Walker Stanberry/Special to the Reporter
Dogs ‘welcome’ a new playmate at the dog park at Luther Burbank Park last week.
— image credit: Kim Walker Stanberry/Special to the Reporter

Mercer Island photographer Walker Stanberry captured some of the dynamics at the dog park at Luther Burbank Park last week.

The dog park at Luther Burbank Park is a dusty, fenced, but actually clean-smelling lakeside mixer spot for dogs and their owners. As with any popular public venue, there is a set of unwritten rules that apply. Those on the inside, whether on two legs or four, guide the newcomers with voice and hand (paw) signals.

Once admitted inside the wooden fence, introductions begin between dogs and owners, owners and owners, and dogs and dogs. These rituals are not planned but rather instigated by, well, the dogs.

The johnny-come-lately husky, beagle or mix are all subjected to sniffing, rolling in the dirt, a quick chase, some barking to set the boundaries and herding in the manner of “hey, the new guy has to get with the pack,” kinds of stuff. Then the canine buddies race about, leaving plumes of dust, barks or howls, smiles and goodwill.

As with dogs or toddlers, parents are standing by, monitoring play, keeping things fair and safe. But you’ll see lots of compassion, understanding and new acquaintances on any carefree day in the dog park, by both owners (this being the dogs) and the humans they bring to the park with them. Because once you are in the park, “dogs rule.”

Below, a trio of dogs play in the Luther Burbank dog park in late September, and Bellevue resident Dawne Weisman is a frequent visitor to the park.


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