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WHO LET THE DOG'S OUT?Austin MpandawanaMy Top Picks For A Jaunt With Your Poodle In Gauteng. Just like us, our beloved canines are probably grateful for the continued extension of eased COVID 19 restrictions. Consider for a moment, that in a bustling megalopolis like Johannesburg, many dogs would have been stuck on balconies, porches or at best limited to the same patch of grass for long periods of time. Now that we are steadily getting back to some of our pre-lockdown habits, it is worth our while finding out which spots in Gauteng can offer us the best of what we have sorely missed, a good time out with humanity’s best friend.
To help us along, I have picked some spots that fit one or more criteria which, according to SURE Petcare, 1 can be regarded as important to dogs and their owners when it comes to having a jaunt. These criteria include things like a space where the dogs can explore, a place where they are likely to meet up with other dogs or an area with sufficient space for extended walking or jogging, just to mention a few. My first pick and personal favourite is Paws In The East. This stunning 7-hectare park, located in Bashewa, Pretoria East, was started as an attempt to save homeless dogs.2 There is a fully enclosed off leash dog park which is perfect for allowing your dog to explore, unimpeded by a leash. The entrance fee is R40 per adult (kids under 12 free) and they are open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 07:00 HRS to 18:00 HRS. Next on my list is Sandton Field & Study Centre. Nestled away in the heart of Sandton, this beautiful urban park offers wide open spaces and the convenience of a coffee shop on site3. Open everyday from 06:00 HRS to 18:00 HRS and accessible free of charge, it is the perfect city get away you and your poodle were not expecting. Many people walk their dogs there and with the added attraction of multiple play areas for children and horse-riding on offer, why would your four-legged family member not want to join in? My next selection, Modderfontein Reserve, is second-largest private park in Gauteng.4 It offers wide expanses of untapped natural terrain which are just right for an accompanied hike. It is also home to Taroko Farm which hosts the Fourways Farmer’s Market every weekend, thereby making it the suitable blend of exercise and social interaction for you and your dog. There are several other note-worthy mentions which include Golden Harvest in Northriding, Emmarentia in central Johannesburg, Walkhaven Dog Park in Muldersdrift, WaterKloof Dog Park in Pretoria East, Jan Cilliers Park in Groenkloof and Homestead Dam Recreation Park in Benoni. All these have one or more of the qualities I have alluded to which make for a great time out with your dog. So please make the most of these glorious spots and be sure to capture the moments!