Students weigh in: Best places to take your canine companion


Berkeley is home to a massive community of dog owners who cherish their companions. Whether interested in scenic parks or pet-friendly establishments, these recommendations accommodate various preferences among dog owners. These recommendations also bear connection to the ways in which Berkeley regulates its parks to keep them sanitary and beautiful.

Opinions were diverse when it came to most parks, as most Berkeley High School students preferred to stay close to their homes. “I normally take our dog to King Middle School Park because I live close by,” said Keller Greer, a BHS junior. “I also know a lot of dogs that go there since they are my neighbors, so it is a safe environment for me.” They favor nearby parks because of their relative safety and familiarity with the community. 

Aside from safety, the convenience of a quick stroll to relieve one’s dogs of its needs and get some fresh air is another consideration. Nearby parks deal with both, killing two birds with one stone. “Grove Park is my main go to place because I live really close to it,” said Lila Srifi, a BHS sophomore. “For that reason it’s convenient for my pet and I to have a nice stroll down to the park.” 

Another factor in park recommendations is its special features. For example, parks with green open spaces are preferred for especially active dogs. “I take my dog to James Kenny Park, because it has a nice green field perfect for my dog to run around,” said Lea Blankenhaus, a BHS junior. 

Green open spaces are amenities that a good park should have and students and their pets are often drawn to them. Dre’Lynn Williams, a new sophomore from Texas, agreed. “I haven’t been to many parks yet, but I love San Pablo Park because it is so open which is perfect for my dog,” he said.

When it comes to finding noteworthy spots to take one’s dog, Tilden Regional park consistently stands out. This is primarily owing to its landscape, which offers ample room for dogs to explore. “Tilden Park, because I have this go-to trail and it’s just nice and long, perfect for my dog,” said Srifi. “It goes in a perfect loop so I can start on one side and end on the other side.”

In addition to providing room to roam, the scenery in and around Tilden is enjoyable for dogs and humans alike. “I’ve taken my dog … to Lake Anza in Tilden,” said Blankenhaus. “It is a spacious lake to let your dog play around and see beautiful scenery.” 

That said, some dog owners may not appreciate the muddy aspects of the Tilden trails. For this reason, Greer is a fan of South Park Drive, “a long street on a cement trail in the woods of Tilden. It’s especially my favorite, because I don’t like cleaning off my dog’s dirt,” she said.

In general, several interviewees found that all Berkeley dog parks were excellent places for their pet’s recreation, because the City of Berkeley provides unrestricted access in certain time blocks. Berkeley enforces strict regulations, enforcing specific times and locations for the presence of dogs. “At King, during the school year, you’re not supposed to go before 6:00 p.m. because students are playing sports on the field,” said Greer.

Berkeley also prescribes restrictions and penalties for cleaning your dog poop, so everyone can enjoy green spaces. Williams observed some significant differences in Berkeley’s approach to responsible canine ownership. “Texas wasn’t very heavy on picking up poop, we also didn’t recycle a lot out there … In Berkeley, they are more strict about keeping things clean,” he said.  

In addition, Berkeley enforces specific rules for the safety of one’s dog and other park enthusiasts which people must follow while in the park. “It’s a pretty mandatory rule that you keep your dog on a leash,” said Blankenhaus. “If your dog is quite aggressive, it will end up being a bad experience.” 

Williams gives another reason for this rule: “You should be considerate of other people who have dogs, if your dog is more on the violent side,” he said. “It will create an uncomfortable environment for the people around you and yourself.” 

All in all, Berkeley supports a suitable and friendly recreation space for all of its residents, whether human or four-legged companion.