Venturing Into Vancouver (Washington)


An errand needed doing in Vancouver, Washington, and it was the best day to do it. If you’re not familiar with Vancouver, it is the Jersey City to Portland’s Manhattan, a place where many people live who work in Portland.

I was torn about whether to take Rain with me. She had been having car reluctance again and she had just had a couple of longish car trips over the weekend. In the end I decided I’d take Rain with me and we’d stop at this awesome dog park I knew about before we headed home.

It had been years since the one time I visited this park, so the first step was figuring out where I thought it was, so I could navigate us there. Soon I discovered the website of Dogpaw, a volunteer-driven organization in Clark County that advocates for off-leash dog parks. My best guess was that the park I was thinking of was Ross Dog Park.

When we got closer one intersection looked familiar. When I saw the huge fenced-in field and knew I had hit pay dirt!

Pretty much everything you see is dog park.

Rain was bursting with energy when we arrived, as is often the case. First, I played ball with her on the hillside. I threw the ball uphill so she had to work harder to get it, which burned through a fair amount of crazy in a short amount of time.

Once she was panting and reluctant to bring the ball all the way back, I put it in the side pocket of my backpack and we started circumnavigating the park along a dirt path.


Rain found many large mud puddles around the park, and she pranced through each one at least once, biting at the water she was sending aloft.

As previously mentioned, Ross Dog Park is enormous—but it’s even bigger than what can be seen in photos. You see, there are two parts to this dog park, separated by an isthmus which is about 50 feet long. There’s the lower portion of the dog park, with the grassy hillside and open field. The top of the hill sports more trees, which hide the isthmus or secret hallway to the upper part of the dog park. This other portion is flatter, but still holds a variety of smaller play areas. These play areas are suggested by the natural topography, with a hillside separating a medium-sized grass field for playing from a smaller socialization area, complete with shelter and bulletin board.


Rain also introduced herself to several other dogs! Above you see her right after saying a howdy-do to a golden retriever. She also made brief acquaintances with a little fuzzball I think was an Aussie puppy, a medium shaggy terrier of indeterminate breed, and a rottweiller. She even got to bark at a squirrel in a nearby tree with the assistance of two black collies!

Eventually Rain’s orbital trot slowed to what I considered a ‘normal’ pace. She was getting tired! We had been at the dog park for over an hour, fetching, walking, exploring, and greeting. Rain got in the car with no problem. Once we were home she was calmer and I was able to work on another project for much of the afternoon. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


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