It's a beautiful day, and Yasha the Goldendoodle takes full advantage of it as she stands on a table at the Foster City Dog Park like a statue in a town square. Yasha is one of the park's many regulars, according to her owner, Julia Klein.
"We try to come to the park every day. It's the only park we go to," said the 20-year Foster City resident, who cites the park's cleanliness and convenience as the park's top assets.
The park, located at the intersection of Foster City Boulevard and Bounty Drive, has been the ultimate hangout for dogs and their owners since opening in October 2000. Located in Boat Park, it boasts a view of the water in addition to lighting and separate enclosures for big and small dogs (under 25 pounds). Hours of operation are from 6:30 AM to 10 PM, and there's seldom a shortage of canine friends to be found frolicking on weekends.
Sally Reingold has been taking her two Golden Retrievers to the park every day since the park opened. "It's great exercise," she said. "You get to know the adult dogs and their owners. It's good for bringing the dog-friendly community together."
The park underwent renovations in early 2009, during which time a picnic table was added to the premises, the gates and drainage systems were improved, and new synthetic turf was installed. A Grand Reopening Celebration was hosted by the Foster City Parks and Recreation committee in April 2009.
"We've been here from the beginning," said Vicki Jung, a 27-year Foster City resident who spoke on behalf of both herself and her Coton de Tuléar, Cody. "It's well-maintained, and we really like the turf. You get to know who the regulars are. Friendships are cultivated here."
Jung is part of the a group of Coton de Tuléar owners who meet at the park on the third Sunday of each month, and said the American Coton Club holds playdates all over the Bay Area.
In addition to local residents, the park attracts visitors from other counties. Emily Hayes of San Francisco takes Baxter, her Poodle-Spaniel mix, to the park frequently during the week.
"It's safe and well-lit. A great place to take dogs. There's no equivalent fenced park in the city," she said, adding that she appreciates the frequency with which the Astroturf is hosed down.
Among the alternative Bay Area dog parks mentioned were the Seal Point Dog Park in San Mateo and the Cipriani Dog Park in Belmont.
"This one is the best, though," Deborah Smith stated as she monitored her dog. "It's always easy to find parking, it's clean, and I like that the big and small dogs are separated."
"The people are nice. I love it here," said Carla Murphy, who has been taking her German Shepard, Rosie, to the park since she was a puppy. "I take her because she needs exercise and she can swim in the lagoon."
The park has been the site of recent altercations, including incidents in which a woman bit a male park visitor and a man was bitten by his own dog while trying to break up a fight between two dogs. Because of this, and due to overcrowding during peak hours, the city is considering endorsing a capacity at the park. The dogfight incident will be discussed at the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on October 6.
Edgewater, Booth Bay, Catamaran, Farragut, and Sea Cloud Park are also designated by the city as areas approved for off-leash dog exercise. A guide to dog laws in Foster City can be found here.