The city of Lodi is, by and large, blessed with many great and charming attributes.
From Carnegie Forum to Hutchins Street Square to the charming ambiance of Lodi's Downtown area, the citizens of Lodi have had, for the most part, a heritage of quality.
Lodi also has many, many impassioned animal lovers, many of whom have worked hard at making Lodi more animal friendly. This passionate and fairly vocal bunch is also largely responsible for the creation of some of Lodi's somewhat "hidden" treasures.
The city of Lodi has, in fact, three dog parks, where dogs are welcome to run free. Beckman Park at 1426 W. Century Blvd, Lawrence Park at 350 N. Washington St., and the crown jewel of Lodi dog parks, the Vinewood Park at 1824 W. Tokay St. This luscious green expanse is praised far and wide as one of the premiere dog parks in Northern California.
Lodi Lake also has a dog exercise area as well, but dogs must be on a leash at all times.
As a dog lover for many years, I've spoken with any number of fellow dog owners who have made special trips for no other reason than visiting this fabled canine paradise.
Even non-dog owners have been known to seek out this bastion of relative tranquility, as it is widely believed that the therapeutic effects of being lavished with the unconditional love and affection that dogs can, and do bestow upon those lucky enough to be in their presence bring.
Dogs big and small, fat and skinny, friendly and ornery are all welcome to sniff and play to their hearts desire. Dogs simply do not, at least in my experience, discriminate.
If you are a dog owner/lover and have not visited the dog park at Vinewood, you are missing out on an extremely fun-filled and delightful experience. Everything from the tiniest Pekinese/Shi-Tzu mix to Great Danes and St. Bernards occasionally grace ("among other things") the green grass of the Vinewood Park.
It is also a place where one can either enjoy the pleasant conversation of many of the regular pet owners who frequent the park, or bask in the relative solitude of the park's northeast region and contemplate life's deeper meaning, all in the company of the many towering Redwoods that line much of the park.
And if you happen to venture out to Vinewood Park and see that extremely friendly German Shepard/Border Collie mix stirring up the whole park, well, please give her some love, and me a wave.
The "happiest" times are generally between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays and pretty much all day on the weekends. The park is open from dawn till dusk 7 days a week, barring inclement weather, as the park also serves as a rainwater hold basin.
And please always remember to "pick up" after your dog; bags are most always available.
No ifs, ands or buts about it, Lodi is one of THE dog-friendliest cities in Northern California. A small consolation for some, but yet another reason why Lodi is a town like few others, to many.
J. Kurt Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.