A Doug's Life: Is it Really, or is it a Dog's Life This Time?

Stephen Morris and his dog Mason enjoy the open space and amenities of the dog park on Murrieta Road.
For the record, I love dogs.

I have two of them. One big, one small. The golden retriever, named Binny, is true to his breed: Extremely loyal, not incredibly smart, somewhat paranoid. The runt, named Wyatt, is part rat terrier, part dachsund, mostly maniac. It's an interesting contrast, and it keeps me busy.

One thing I'm not great about is getting them out and about for some exercise. Walking around the block is sometimes an exhausting adventure. Even though Menifee seems like a dog friendly community, I am not always welcomed when being dragged down the street by the beasts.

Thus I was intrigued when I learned that we have a couple dog parks in town. Maybe the boys just need a new environment in which to play, I figured. It's worth checking out.

Deciding to leave the dogs behind for the first scouting trip, I checked out the dog park in Pete Petersen Park on Murrieta Road. A large grassy area is surrounded by an oval walking track suitable for man and his best friend. Signs warn dog walkers to keep their pets on a leash while using this area.

At the north end of the park, two enclosed areas allow dog owners to let their pets off the leash and enjoy their own playground. There are dog-themed structures to jump over and play around, drinking water and a place for the owner to sit in the shade. Most of all, it's a public place where dogs can be dogs -- without dog or owner feeling like trespassers.

Stephen Morris brings his Australian Shepherd, Mason, to the park every day. He says it's a good workout for Mason as well as himself. In his previous home, Mason was kept in a crate 10-12 hours a day and was in danger of being euthanized after suffering heart problems. Today, he is happy to stretch his legs at the dog park under the watchful eye of Morris, who has trained dogs for years.

"This is probably the best one around," Morris said about the dog park. "There are couple of groups of regulars who come here every day. I'm usually in the 7 a.m. group.

"This is great for a dog like Mason. With the kind of heart attack he had, he shouldn't even be walking around. He's a herding dog, and he had a lot of stress from being kept in a crate all day. Now he's nonstop, hours of pacing and running. He'll get going 80 miles an hour. He knocked me in the gutter once, trying to get out of the car to play."

Morris is cautious about Mason's interactions with other dogs -- especially when people let their dog off the leash outside the fenced-in area. For the most part, however, he is pleased with the opportunity to let his pet get some exercise in a relatively safe environment.

I haven't ventured there with Binny and Wyatt yet, but it might be time. I don't know how much longer the back yard will hold them.

Separate fenced areas are provided for large dogs and small dogs at Pete Petersen Park.


  1. I have found a excellent dog park in Lake Elsinore Heights, the quickest way to get their is Holland Road,pass the new school and about two traffic lights you will see a hugh park to the east, the park is fairly new, and the dog park is separate, big dogs and small dogs, the dogs just love playing and there is a lot of room to run and have fun with other dogs. Fridays aren't the best time to go because it gets really crowded but, try it out, its great!