If you have a dog, you know that sometimes, your pup just needs to get outside and run around. Since we don’t all enjoy the luxury of having acres of fenced-in areas for our pets to get some exercise, it’s a good thing that we have the Woodmere Paw Park, in Venice.

It’s important to know is that there is a distinct difference between a “dog park” and a dog-friendly park.” Generally, a dog park is one where your furry friend can be free of a leash or harness and a dog-friendly park is one where dogs can be taken, but only if they are contained on a leash. Woodmere is a true dog park, which provides the full leash-free experience for your furry friend.

When I decided that I was going to go here for my Tourist column this week, I was instantly very happy because, quite honestly, my Golden Retriever Luna is one of my favorite “people” in the universe. Not surprisingly, she was more than happy to go along for the ride.

After we arrived in the parking lot at Woodmere, we made our way across an adorable, small bridge to the entrance. As soon as we went through the double security gates, I removed her leash.

Shortly afterwards, we met Carla Woods and her two-year old dog Tucker. I spoke to Carla for a while, while Tucker and Luna checked each other out, if you know what I mean.

Carla had driven to Woodmere from North Port, and told me that she especially loved that the park was shady and was always well-maintained. Indeed, there are big live oak trees that almost cover the entire 2 ½-acre setting, and there are several picnic tables with covers on them. There is also a separate area for smaller dogs who are under 20 pounds. My Luna is about 110 pounds, so needless to say, we stayed out of that space.

But she thoroughly enjoyed chasing tennis balls, one of her favorite activities, and after an hour or so, was lying down in the shade drinking some water. After we got home, she fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon, and I was reminded how when my three sons were young, I always made it a point to keep them active all through the day so they would sleep all through the night.

Only fitting that I should do the same for my only “daughter.”

Debbie Flessner writes the Live Like a Tourist column for the Sun newspapers. You may contact her at dj@flessner.net.

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