Blog: Michelle Spranger

Michelle Spranger is a lifelong resident of Oakland County and currently works as a freelance producer and writer for television, video and special events with more than 15 years of experience. She will be writing about what Michigan needs to do to keep people like her from moving away.

Post No 3: Dog Parks

On a recommendation from my sister, I took my dogs to Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion and the girls had a blast. This was Bristol’s first time swimming and it may be her last; she looked terrified after she resurfaced from her swan dive off the Dog Dock. Diesel is an old pro and loves to swim. 

Orion Oaks Dog Park also offers hiking trails, a sandy area where the dogs can dig, and amenities for the people, such as clean bathrooms with running water and a large canopy with picnic tables. I really liked this park because it was entirely fenced and offered a variety of terrain. 

A day pass for residents for Oakland County Parks is $7. I decided not to purchase the annual pass for $30 because it took me an hour to get there and I wasn’t sure how often I would take advantage of it.

If I had known the next day we would visit another Oakland County Park, Lyon Oaks Dog Park in Wixom, I may have purchased the annual pass. Oh well. 

Lyon Oaks was a little boring in comparison to Orion Oaks. It was just a huge fenced field with picnic tables and a couple shaded areas with picnic tables where the people can hang out. And they only had outhouses. On this particular day, the number of small dogs outnumbered the big dogs and they mostly hung out in the small dog area. Of course, my girls had to wander into the small dog area to say hello. Luckily no one seemed to mind. It was actually very cute to see my Rottweilers playing with a Min Pin because they all have similar markings. 

After reading one of the comments to my first post, I decided to get off my butt and contact the city of Southfield to find out how we could get our own dog park. I emailed the Director of Parks and Recreation, Bill Waterhouse, to let him know that my neighbors and I would like to see a dog park in the city.

I was very impressed to receive a quick reply from Mr. Waterhouse. He informed me that Southfield Parks & Rec have been looking into it and are carefully considering several locations. He mentioned they have visited other dog parks to see how they were developed and how they have fared over time. He also invited me to send him my suggestions of possible locations or any other input I might have.

Since receiving Mr. Waterhouse’s “invitation” to submit my ideas, I checked out a couple places in the city for myself and realized it’s not a very easy task. It seems like Southfield has either sold all of its open spaces to office buildings or they’ve put in a soccer field. 

I know soccer is very popular, but I’ve never actually seen anyone play soccer on any of these fields. Maybe one of the fields could be sacrificed for us doggy parents who need a safe place for our furry “children” to play, socialize and get some exercise.

Or maybe one of the office buildings would like to be a good corporate citizen and donate some of their land to open a dog park. It’s probably a long shot, but it’s worth a shot.