New Mexico's Pet Resource SUMMER 2005


PAWS 'N' PILES

Frank Ortiz Park Off-Leash Area, Santa Fe

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Howl-o everybody! Rover Reporter here to bring you New Mexico’s latest hot spots for all my canine cohorts and their human friends. Places I recommend will get the “Paws Up” mark and those that aren’t worth a second sniff will get a “Doggy Pile” designation. Our scale is on a 1 to 4 basis with 4 Paws being the best and 4 Piles being the worst.

Next up: Frank Ortiz Park Off-Leash Area on Camino Las Crucitas in Santa Fe.

The off-leash area at Frank Ortiz Park is the only official dog park in Santa Fe (although nine more places for dog parks are being discussed by the city). And it’s this dog’s idea of heaven: a huge, friendly park for walking, running and playing off-leash on dirt trails with lots of junipers, birds, and even a few surviving piñons. There are benches and trash cans with plastic bags on the side for poop, and humans leave bowls of water on the ground for us thirsty dogs. The only drawback is that there’s no fence, which means dogs need to respond to voice commands and stay near their persons. But it’s far enough from the road that it’s safe for most well-behaved dogs to run around. There are overlooks with great views of Santa Fe and a cool collection of old refrigerators called Stonefridge, and trails that lead in every direction. If you like socializing, come between 5 and 6:30 because that’s when the park is busiest. In the summer, it can get pretty hot, with the sun reflecting off the sand and not much in the way of shade, so visit in the morning or late afternoon. There’s usually some poop on the ground, although I heard that once or twice a year the humans get together and poop scoop.

I saw all kinds of dogs during my visit, including dals, dobies, poodles, cattle dogs, border collies, chihuahuas, labs, and great-looking mutts like me. I heard that every once in awhile a fight breaks out, so humans should be vigilant. And bring your own toys, although you can usually find a tennis ball hidden in a cholla and there’s always another dog to play with.

To get to Frank Ortiz Park from town, head west on Paseo de Peralta towards St. Francis. When you come to St. Francis, go across to Camino Las Crucitas Street. This road will take you through the Casa Solana residential neighborhood. The park has a large field on the left where the off-leash area is located and there’s lots of parking. I give it:

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