Life Is A Walk in the Dog Park

My life has never been so complicated. I can’t explain why right now; I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I can tell you the things I’m doing to make life feel simpler — writing, taking pictures, and walking in the park.

I’ve extolled the virtues of Joburg’s parks, like the Melville Koppies and the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, on many occasions. But I haven’t written about Emmarentia Dam until now. (In South Africa, a ‘dam’ is not necessarily a big wall that diverts water. It’s also another word for a man-made lake or pond.)

Emmarentia Dam.

Emmarentia Dam, just a few minutes’ drive from Melville, is basically a huge dog park. People bring their dogs there to chase tennis balls, romp with other dogs, and swim in the dam. If you’re not keen on being sniffed by slobbery canines, the dam is not for you. Instead you can stroll in the lovely Johannesburg Botanical Garden, which adjoins the dam and where dogs are prohibited. But if you’re looking for furry companionship, go to Emmarentia Dam.

This is Jessica.

Jessica’s sister, Daphne. I think Daphne had just been for a swim.

There are cute children at the dam, too. This is Amayi. She was hanging out with her mom and two dogs.

I don’t have a dog but I think I might visit the dam more often. Dogs and babies are a good reminder that life doesn’t need to be complicated.

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39 Comments

  • Reply Jerome West November 15, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Lovely post, I walk my three Italian Greyhounds there occasionally because it is a beautiful and a well maintained park even though there are four other dog walking parks much closer to me such as Delta Park, Golden Harvest, Kingfisher and Erling Road.

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

      Thanks Jerome. Yes, I hear Emmarentia is the best place in town to walk dogs.

  • Reply eremophila November 15, 2011 at 11:56 am

    You make a great point. And to keep it simple, stick to the visits – becoming ‘mother’ to either group means complications! Ha! But yes, my Fred is content with so little, it does bring me back to earth at times. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, I’m quite happy to be a visitor for now. Maybe someday… 🙂

  • Reply eremophila November 15, 2011 at 11:56 am

    You make a great point. And to keep it simple, stick to the visits – becoming ‘mother’ to either group means complications! Ha! But yes, my Fred is content with so little, it does bring me back to earth at times. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, I’m quite happy to be a visitor for now. Maybe someday… 🙂

  • Reply ldsrr91 November 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Nice job. A little breath of fresh air, early in the morning.

    Thanks,

    DS

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Reply ldsrr91 November 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Nice job. A little breath of fresh air, early in the morning.

    Thanks,

    DS

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough November 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Hang in there, my friend. If there’s any way I can be supportive, feel free to email me.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough November 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Hang in there, my friend. If there’s any way I can be supportive, feel free to email me.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  • Reply fornormalstepfathers November 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    This shall pass, too.

    The older I get, the more I understand that for me it is a matter of perspective. One day, everything is like a walk in the park, and the next day nothing is ever good enough. Objectively, nothing changes, just my way of looking at things.

    I hope your complications will be resolved soon.

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks very much. I really believe they will.

  • Reply fornormalstepfathers November 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    This shall pass, too.

    The older I get, the more I understand that for me it is a matter of perspective. One day, everything is like a walk in the park, and the next day nothing is ever good enough. Objectively, nothing changes, just my way of looking at things.

    I hope your complications will be resolved soon.

    • Reply 2summers November 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks very much. I really believe they will.

  • Reply thirdeyemom November 18, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Great post. When I get stressed I always revert to nature and exercising outside. It is the only thing that helps. I think life is always complicated, that is for sure !

    • Reply 2summers November 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Indeed it is. I guess life would be boring if it weren’t.

  • Reply thirdeyemom November 18, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Great post. When I get stressed I always revert to nature and exercising outside. It is the only thing that helps. I think life is always complicated, that is for sure !

    • Reply 2summers November 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Indeed it is. I guess life would be boring if it weren’t.

    • Reply 2summers November 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Yes, I really miss dog-walking. I had a beagle named Grommet once. He was the love of my life. He passed away several years ago and my life hasn’t been suitable for dog ownership since then. Some day…

    • Reply 2summers November 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Yes, I really miss dog-walking. I had a beagle named Grommet once. He was the love of my life. He passed away several years ago and my life hasn’t been suitable for dog ownership since then. Some day…

  • Reply Far Away Books November 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I often think this is why “be like a child” is good advice. A child’s mind is not filled with the future or the past, she simply enjoys the moment. And funny too, when you do that, things tend to work themselves out.

    • Reply 2summers November 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      That’s very true. Just for today.

  • Reply Far Away Books November 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I often think this is why “be like a child” is good advice. A child’s mind is not filled with the future or the past, she simply enjoys the moment. And funny too, when you do that, things tend to work themselves out.

    • Reply 2summers November 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      That’s very true. Just for today.

  • Reply cashancountry November 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

    at the risk of sounding ancient… that park has been an incredible part of my life for years and years, as a student we’d go there with film school mates and make zany stuff, it was all wild grasslands… the city either had too little money or was deliberately not developing it. Then when my kids were born 30 yrs ago we went there for picnic parties, still mostly veld grass, then in early nineties we got another dog.. so began regular walks. The middle dam was built just before then and over time from just a few dog walkers, and I mean a few, like five or six of us on a busy afternoon it grew and grew, until one day I counted twenty five cars parked in the parking lot on Orange rd! Imagine? At first I was resentful (mea culpa), that the serenity and sense of solitude was ending but people kept turning up and celebrating the fact of this marvellous place. Model airplane people, kite flyers, Church groups, runners, family picnics, and most of us are really cool.. there have been and were even back then the bad guys and now that the park is so well used the security is better, but it is still a large area so don’t wander around alone or after dark… the park is usually locked at night now. There were two notorious attempts to carve it up by the city parks dept in direct contravention of the deed of grant to the City. They cunically tried to do that over a long weekend in december. The Geldenhuis Family donated it to “all the people who live in JHB” (note no reference to racial groups..see above comment about lack of development under the National Party) one other stipulation was that is should remain extant as one piece of ground and never be portioned off or limited. The whole park has to remain whole. Alert dogwalkers put a stop to that subterfuge and then the city tried it again over another long weekend! An easter weekend in a bizarre demonstration of the arrogance and sheer disregard for a court order! The same group blocked that too, the legacy is an alert and engaged public who resolutely defend our public space from our elected officials and their schemes! Weird huh? The other legacy is the string of fence posts from the southern end of the composting area. small minded officialdom not removing their mess up. The palisade fencing made for this barrier and paid for by the unsuspecting public was used to repair sections of the fence along Beyers Naude and Judith rd which regularly are damaged by cars that loose control and crash through there.
    I will stop this polemic and thank you once again for such a wonderful blog.

    • Reply 2summers November 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      That’s a very interesting polemic. What’s a polemic? Anyway, thanks for the history lesson.

      • Reply cashancountry November 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        controversial discussion or attack on a political opponent

  • Reply cashancountry November 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

    at the risk of sounding ancient… that park has been an incredible part of my life for years and years, as a student we’d go there with film school mates and make zany stuff, it was all wild grasslands… the city either had too little money or was deliberately not developing it. Then when my kids were born 30 yrs ago we went there for picnic parties, still mostly veld grass, then in early nineties we got another dog.. so began regular walks. The middle dam was built just before then and over time from just a few dog walkers, and I mean a few, like five or six of us on a busy afternoon it grew and grew, until one day I counted twenty five cars parked in the parking lot on Orange rd! Imagine? At first I was resentful (mea culpa), that the serenity and sense of solitude was ending but people kept turning up and celebrating the fact of this marvellous place. Model airplane people, kite flyers, Church groups, runners, family picnics, and most of us are really cool.. there have been and were even back then the bad guys and now that the park is so well used the security is better, but it is still a large area so don’t wander around alone or after dark… the park is usually locked at night now. There were two notorious attempts to carve it up by the city parks dept in direct contravention of the deed of grant to the City. They cunically tried to do that over a long weekend in december. The Geldenhuis Family donated it to “all the people who live in JHB” (note no reference to racial groups..see above comment about lack of development under the National Party) one other stipulation was that is should remain extant as one piece of ground and never be portioned off or limited. The whole park has to remain whole. Alert dogwalkers put a stop to that subterfuge and then the city tried it again over another long weekend! An easter weekend in a bizarre demonstration of the arrogance and sheer disregard for a court order! The same group blocked that too, the legacy is an alert and engaged public who resolutely defend our public space from our elected officials and their schemes! Weird huh? The other legacy is the string of fence posts from the southern end of the composting area. small minded officialdom not removing their mess up. The palisade fencing made for this barrier and paid for by the unsuspecting public was used to repair sections of the fence along Beyers Naude and Judith rd which regularly are damaged by cars that loose control and crash through there.
    I will stop this polemic and thank you once again for such a wonderful blog.

    • Reply 2summers November 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      That’s a very interesting polemic. What’s a polemic? Anyway, thanks for the history lesson.

      • Reply cashancountry November 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        controversial discussion or attack on a political opponent

  • Reply Spring! Johannesburg Botanical Gardens: Emmarentia Dam | findingjozi September 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

    […] or you may simply just revel in the feeling of outdoor fun in its purest form. Emmarentia makes you tranquil. The birds of summer singing their greatest symphonies as the sweet scent of roses intoxicate you […]

  • Reply Spring! Johannesburg Botanical Gardens: Emmarentia Dam | findingjozi September 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

    […] or you may simply just revel in the feeling of outdoor fun in its purest form. Emmarentia makes you tranquil. The birds of summer singing their greatest symphonies as the sweet scent of roses intoxicate you […]

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