Ratings and Reviews
Full House park
Remember the opening scene of Full House with the park and the houses in the background? This is the park where that was shot. This is a pretty small park, half off leash and half on leash. It is nicely maintained, but not a lot of room there and the owners and therefore dogs tend to clump together. Worth a visit if you're in the city for the famous location and the shoe garden (yes, a garden of shoes with plants growing in them)! I probably won't go back that often unless I happen to be in the area, though.
Nice views, not so much to do
This park is worth a visit if you\'re in the area. It has some nice views of the city, and dogs can run and play off leash. The unfortunate thing is that it\'s just one hilltop, and the paths just spiral around and around the hill. So it gets kind of boring after a while. If I lived in walking distance I\'d probably go there regularly, but it\'s not worth a special trip.
Out of towner membership
I was visiting Jacksonville from out of town with my service dog in training and wanted a safe place for him to run in the mornings and get his puppy energy out. I contacted DogWood park ahead of time, as I wanted to visit the park on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning when the office would be closed. They were super nice- I had to fax over the application, plus an statement from my trainer saying Ollie is good with other dogs off leash, and my vaccination/titer records. I paid with my credit card and they actually dropped the key fob off to my husband\'s grandmother\'s house so it would be waiting for me when I arrived. They have various prices for out of towner memberships depending on how many days etc you\'ll be going, so don\'t feel like you have to buy a whole two months membership if you\'ll only be there a week! The park itself was very nice. Compared to the parks here in California, it is smaller and less busy, but it was still a great park. The whole park is fenced, and there are a lot of different sections so you can get away from other dogs or be with them as you like. We spent most of our time in the wooded section with trails- it was really fun to walk through the forest. Since the woods were so thick with growth, even though it wasn\'t a huge wooded area, by going on various trails we were able to walk different paths every time. The restrooms are nice and clean, and you can take your dog in with you. We did stop by the office Wednesday afternoon to drop the key fob off when the office was open, and the staff there was very nice. We will be back to the park in the future next time we visit Jacksonville, that is for sure! My recommendation for people wanting out-of-towner memberships is to call or email ahead of time to set things up. I can imagine that just showing up without explaining your out-of-towner status before hand would be difficult, and I am guessing that is the problem the previous reviewer had. It was really easy to contact them ahead of time, they got back to me quickly, and I would recommend doing it that way for anyone visiting from out of town.
Dr. Rettig is the best!
We originally saw Dr. Rettig when she worked at Creature Comfort in Oakland. She has since started her own practice-- which runs out of the Muller Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek (you can make appointments through Muller, but she is a separate practice currently). I cannot recommend Dr. Rettig more highly. She knows so much about animal health and wellbeing, especially about nutrition. She is always happy to explain anything, answer questions, and talk about whatever you want to related to your animals' health. She uses primarily Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture and herbs, but isn't afraid to recommend Western medicine or other modalities if she feels they would be more appropriate. She recommends a raw diet, or at least a diet of fresh foods. We've gotten acupuncture and herbal medicines from her to treat one dog's spay incontinance and arthritis, to treat another cat's chronic hair chewing neuroticism, and to treat another cat's nausea. Call in advance for an appointment because it seems she is always busy, but she is well worth it. We drive an hour each way to see Dr. Rettig, and will continue to do so. It is so refreshing to have a vet who spends time with you, really cares about your animal, who answers questions, and really gets to know you and your animal. Also, Dr. Rettig can explain and do titer testing for limited vaccination protocols. We love Dr. Rettig!
Come for the events
We came for Bay to Barkers which was a lot of fun, but wouldn't be back on our own probably. Seems kind of ho-hum unless there is an event going on.
Not a great place to play
If your dog just wants to walk along at your pace or swim and not interact with other dogs or anything, this would be an OK place to go. The beach was very long, and we saw several dogs but none were interested in playing and several people appeared to be terrified of their dogs meeting other dogs, even in the off-leash areas. There wasn't a lot to do or see, the beach is more of the same all the way down, and there were several dead animals (birds and jellyfish) to tempt dogs.
Nice for a chuck-it
Small skinny park, long enough for a dog to play some fetch. Would be crowded with more than 4 or 5 dogs, but when we were there it was pretty empty. It appears they are trying to make it a very nice park, putting resources in it etc. If your dog wants a lot of room to run, find somewhere else, but if your dog just wants to play fetch or have some less rambunctious play, this would be a fine place.
I haven't actually stayed at Metro Dog yet, but I've visited their facility and talked with the people who work there. They all seem very knowledgable about dogs and dog behavior. They will feed a raw diet. They have private boarding (where your dog won't encounter any other dogs) as well as regular boarding. The private boarders do have their own little fenced in area outside where they can run around one at a time. They have some nice things in their little store, and they are a green business! This is the daycare facility I plan to use whenever I need one. Updated 3/09: My dog Sabrina stayed in their private boarding. For $75 a day she got a private room in a quiet area away from the daycare dogs. She got three 15 minute walks or play sessions a day, and a lot of attention from the staff. She was totally comfortable and relaxed there, both when I dropped her off, and when I picked her up. We will definitely be using this facility for boarding in the future!posted: December 10th, 2008
Nice trails, loads of dogs
We usually park on Lone Oak Rd. near the meadows playfield and take the Wildcat Gorge loop. This seems to be one of the most popular loops in the park, others are less crowded. Everyone here has their dogs off leash, and on a typical walk you will run into 10-30 dogs going the other way past you. So please do not take dogs on this trail or to this park that do not do well with meeting lots of other dogs. The convention is to only leash your dog when approaching another dog if the other party asks you to, and there are people who let their dogs off leash who cannot recall them to put them back on leash. Most of the dogs are very friendly, and the trail setting is a nice way to meet other dogs without the intensity of a "dog park" setting. The views from the trails are nice, the trails are all well maintained and nice to walk. It's a very nice park. Please don't let your dogs play in the creek, though, as it is a protected habitat for the salamanders. Edited to add: There is a paved trail that is wheelchair accessible if you park at Inspiration Point-- it leads into Wildcat Canyon, the park to the North. This is a nice easy trail with lots of cyclists. Leashes are required on the paved trails. Also, there is a steam train at the South end of the park, I've heard dogs are allowed to ride as long as they pay the fare, but haven't tried it myself.posted: November 29th, 2008
Hard trails, few people
This park is a very interesting one. The North side of the park near the base of the hill has some nice flat areas with a few Native American grinding stones (where they used to grind acorns into acorn flour). The trails to get to the top of the hill are very steep and dangerous, passing by many houses that look like they will crumble in the next earthquake (just walking past the support beams for these houses that stretch stories tall gives me the shivers!). The park at the top of the hill is overrun with eucalyptus, which means the very steep and unmaintained trails are very very slippery and dangerous. None of the trails are maintained, and there are also many side trails leading to homeless camps, or teenage hangouts. I would not recommend this park after dark or for anyone who doesn't like harder trails. The park has a great view, though, and it is really neat because you feel like time has almost forgotten the park. The woods are overgrown and tangled, the trails feel like you're the only one that's been on them in the recent past. There aren't that many people that use the park, so it's also pretty quiet and a good place to relax during the daytime. The top of the park has a giant cross maintained by some society (forgot, sorry) that is lit up between Thanksgiving and Christmas at nighttime. There are some interesting plants including orchids on the lower slopes of the park, but beware the poison oak that is everywhere at the top of the park. The bottom of the park is actually Creekside Park in El Cerrito, which has a small grassy area and a kid's play structure. The creek has been restored with lots of native plants. The area across the Cerrito creek is in El Cerrito, which has a leash law. The Albany side of the park follows Albany city rules, which state your dog must be under control but does not specify voice or leash. So you can let your dog off leash in this park (I've verified this with Albany parks and rec) but the trails are confusing so make sure they stay close.posted: November 29th, 2008
Boutique store with good prices!
We had driven past PUGnacious every week for the past few months, and recently noticed a sign outside saying they sell raw food. The store intrigued us, but we didn't have a chance to visit until this weekend. We were very happy with what we saw! The store has an upscale boutique type feel to it. It is nicely decorated, things are arranged neatly and on cute tables and wall displays, everything was very clean and fresh looking, and it doesn't feel crowded in the shop. I was happy to see that they carry a lot of top of the line dog products and natural products, and that despite the rich look and walkable Solano location, the prices were totally reasonable! They carry a lot of the ruffwear products, have a large selection of collars and leashes, have natural chews like deer antlers and the himalayan dog chew, and best of all, many of the products were already available in larger dog sizes! We went there specifically for the reflective Easy Walk harness- they are the only store in the East Bay to carry this product, and they had it in sizes small to large. They sell NV raw food and primal bones (not grinds), and have a small selection of high quality foods in the back. There is a small cat section with a really cute daschund cat scratcher. The shop really reminds me of Holistic Hound, except at Holistic Hound they seem to focus more on holistic health products and food, and PUGnacious seems to focus more on accessories, toys and dog gear. The woman who was working the store was extremely friendly, and though she wasn't expertly knowledgable about dog training, nutrition, etc, she seemed interested in learning and talking about it with me. In a few more months (the store has only been open 3 months) I am sure she will be a great resource about these topics. The only things missing from the store were safety-tested seatblets (which I believe she is going to order) and wool toys (I'll have to bring some in and tell her about them next time I go). Otherwise the perfect little shop!