For sometime now, Sundays have become synonymous with Mia’s day out in our house. Like everything else – from taking over our house, our bed, our chair, our mornings, our evenings, our lives…even this happened quite unconsciously. Mia has slowly but surely taken over most aspects of our lives. So it wasn’t surprising when we realised that our Sunday was not ours anymore!
It all started with the idea of socialising this four-legged bundle of energy with other dogs so that she gets comfortable with all kinds of canines. Having done that for the initial six months of her life, she led us on to believe that going to markets with lots of humans milling around and eating at outdoor cafes, was also good exposure for her. So we did that too (and still do whenever possible!). Further on, daily walks didn’t seem enough for Mia. Since the poor dear was home all week and had to stay alone on most weekend evenings when K and I were out, I decided to drive her to a park in the neighbourhood, once a week. This would give her a chance to run around, walk off lead, play with other dogs (or not -she is quite selective about the company she keeps!) and chase birds – something I cannot seem to stop her from doing even when the same birds coming swooping down towards her for revenge.
And it all started from there – from a once-in-a-while trip to a farmers’ market or a coffee shop, it has become a ‘definite’ trip to a park every Sunday. So much so that, we actually go looking for dog friendly parks, as you would have realised from some of my previous posts. The good thing is that there is no dearth of such parks in Joburg. But the bad thing is that it means we have to check all of them out! You can read about some parks we have been to here and here.
This Sunday, we decided to take Mia on a play date. A friend of ours has a Border Collie and we all agreed to head to the Emmarentia Dam for a picnic. We have been there before but the place is so large that you can visit different parts of the park on different visits! The place is a very popular with walkers, bikers, dog owners and families alike. The South Africans’ love of the outdoors is clearly visible by the number of people who flock to this park over the weekends.
The dam is surrounded by a botanical garden, which I have not had a chance to explore yet, and is said to house several distinct gardens such as the Herb garden, the Rose garden, the Chapel garden, etc. The dam itself is huge and offers sports like sailing and canoeing.
The part that houses the botanical gardens and the main dam is not open to dogs, which is why I have not been able to see it, but the rest of the park is, and it’s quite big with smaller dams. The entrance off-Thomas Bowler Street is the best if you want to take your furry babies for some exercise.
Like every park we have visited, Mia was thrilled to bits at Emmarentia and ran around non-stop for the entire duration of our picnic (4 hours at least!). From splashing around in muddy waters to chasing other dogs and their balls across the park, Mia did it all. So happy she was just running around that she didn’t even care about the constant attention and adulation she was getting from her play date!