My name is Alexa and I have a six-year-old Golden Retriever named Stella. We’ll be your quirky Girl and Dog pair, here to deliver the scoop on all the best dog-friendly spots. This month, it seems appropriate to start our Girl and Dog stint with our mainstay haunt, Marymoor Off-Leash Dog Park in Redmond. Coined the “Disneyland of Dog Parks,” it’s pretty much a given that your pooch will find this to be the happiest place on earth, minus the Mickey ears and with cheaper parking.
Marymoor is a former forty-acre farm, so there’s no shortage of space to play. After parking in their large gravel lot and grabbing a few poop bags from their complimentary dispenser, Stella and I enter a grassy field full of every breed of dog you can think of. One black lab leaps after a Frisbee, a corgi yaps at its owner’s feet, and two pugs sniff each other in the woodchips. Stella loves hopping through the tall, camouflaging grass. I lose her for a few minutes as she frolics, and find her soon after rolling blissfully in something gross, of course.
But no matter. Once through the field, we enter a woodsy trail that leads straight to the Sammamish Slough. There, dogs can swim to their heart’s content. Stella loves the water. She sprints through the trees and over the little wooden bridge, her claws clicking on the mossy planks. I take my time, watching a pair of lanky Great Danes saunter by.
I leave the trees and find Stella has dived into the first of many slough access points. These access points are like lagoons bolstered with steps into the water for the ease of all dogs, no matter age or size. Many have been known to skip the stairs all together with a flying leap. The steps also come in handy for inevitable moments of disobedience, when the owners are forced to go in after their pups and drag them out by the collar.
My Stella pup is especially fond of chasing the tennis ball (I call her the Belle of the Ball), so I toss it for her several times into this first lagoon. At any given time, there are about eight dogs bobbing in the slough, constantly distracted by all the water toys landing in their vicinities.
As we continue down the path along the slough, there are four more lagoons like this one, each different but still equipped for doggy-ease. Sometimes, kayakers pass by, paddling slowly and dodging flying tennis balls. Today, a bright yellow kayak sends a mutt into a fever of barking and growling. Stella is unfazed and we move onto the next lagoon to play more ball.
Marymoor is fun for the humans too. There aren’t many places where you can stand back and watch so many dogs swimming and playing together so well. But, Marymoor isn’t for the lukewarm dog-lover. I usually dress in an old t-shirt, leggings, and water shoes because a trip to this park guarantees getting dirty and wet. But I enjoy the immersive experience of this park, watching the humans interact with each other’s dogs and with the fun environment.
After trips to each of the watering holes, Stella is tuckered out. She carries out two tennis balls and I take one out of her mouth, inquiring to woman next to me if they have theirs. She shrugs, surrendered to the fact that your dog almost always leaves with a different tennis ball than it came with. But what would a trip to a doggy amusement park be without a soggy, smelly souvenir?