Dogs, including Bella, my 3-year-old, black shaggy Labradoodle, run, leap and otherwise frolic through a beautiful (and mostly fenced in) forested land. A land set aside just for them. A land conveniently located no matter where you work or reside in Central Southeast Portland.
Mt. Tabor Dog Park is just over four acres in size, and wants for nothing. Providing suitable and safe entertainment for dogs of all breeds and sizes, and owners of all experience levels, it is one of the numerous dog parks dotting the Portland metro area. Portland loves its four legged friends. Large, leafy trees are sprinkled throughout the landscape and, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, also function by providing cover for dog owners (always essential for those rainy months), exciting spots for dogs to check their “peemail” and homes for the playful squirrels.
Currently, Bella and a Boston terrier are barking with excitement at two squirrels sitting in one of the tall trees. They are asking the squirrels to come and play with them. “We’re having so much fun. Please, come and join us!” The squirrels decline the offer rudely by squeaking in anger at the exuberant pooches. The commotion catches the attention of a Great Dane who runs over to check things out. Five dogs eventually surround the tree, barking in unison. A teacup Chihuahua has somehow become the leader of this squirrel brigade.
The dogs bore of this game and when I toss my Frisbee they each gallop after it with smiles and drool on their faces.
While the dog park in itself is wonderful, it’s actually a small portion of the grand 196-acre Mt. Tabor Park, which is the crowning jewel of the Mt. Tabor neighborhood. The park is home to tennis courts, a playground for kids (the human kind), running trails and a large amphitheater where my wife and I often catch summer concerts in the park. This community also boasts stunning homes – a well put together arrangement of Colonials, Tudors, Bungalows, just to name a few.
It’s all within convenient biking, walking and driving distance to some of the finest eateries and boutique shops that East Portland has to offer. Bella has friends here so we come to the park often. But, like all good things, the fun has to end for the day. I leash Bella and she prances proudly back to our Subaru Forester. She falls fast asleep at home and I watch the Oregon Ducks from my couch while Bella snores the day away.