Rocky Hill Dog Park

The Rocky Hill Dog Park!

Nick Carroll By Nick Carroll

Frequent visitors to the Rocky Hill Dog Park say it’s a great place with a community feel.

“This is the best park around. People come from all over. I know people from Farmington, Glastonbury, even Enfield,” says Deborah LePage, of East Hartford. “It’s wide open, nice grass. A lot of dog parks are wood chips. It’s just kept very nice, and it’s a friendly place. There’s a lot of very nice people who come here.”

Mike Silvey, of Rocky Hill, points out: “You’ve got the big dog side and the little dog side, so they’re not mixed together too much. Most of the dogs that come here are very friendly to each other. It’s just a good place to come and hang out.”

Located inside Elm Ridge Park, the Rocky Hill Dog Park is a fenced-in, off-leash facility. The 1.5-acre dog park, which opened in 2010, is dotted with trees and benches, and has water available.

LePage, formerly of Rocky Hill, and her dog Roadie are at the dog park five days a week or so. “We come to socialize our dogs, but also, you get to know people, too,” she says.

Roadie, a retired racing Greyhound, is a transplant from West Virginia. “Once they’re done racing, they’re put up for adoption, and groups find homes for them,” LePage explained. Not surprisingly, “He loves to run,” she says.

Roadie is LePage’s fourth Greyhound. “They’re very laid back,” she says. “They really don’t need a lot of exercise, despite what you may think. They’re quiet dogs.”

Silvey and his Chihuahua Peter are regulars at the park, as well. “My wife happened to find this place one day and he thinks it’s his now,” Silvey says of 12-pound Peter.

“We come here every time we have a free couple hours. During the week, once the sun stays up until 8:30 we’re here until dark. On the weekends, we’re here from maybe 9:30 (a.m.) until maybe 12:30. Then we come back sometimes in the afternoon.”

Silvey explains that, at the park, dogs must display a valid license and up-to-date rabies vaccination tag. “We welcome people from out of town,” Silvey says. “But just follow the rules.”

David Shonta, another familiar face at the pup park, says famed dog behaviorist Cesar Millan stresses that most dogs need 45 minutes of exercise a day or they can become bored or aggressive.

Shonta is at the dog park every day with Beau, a black Labrador Retriever-Tennessee Hound mix. “It’s a great place for him to run around. It’s safe,” says Shonta, of Rocky Hill.

Beau is a rescue from West Virginia. “He’s aware of the term ‘doggie park.’ His ears will perk up and he’ll run to the door,” says Shonta.

“We’re like the old thing they said about the postman: Rain, sleet or snow should not separate us from our duty. We’re like that with him and the dog park.”

The Rocky Hill Dog Park is open from dawn to dusk.