Lowcountry Dog Park Tour: John McCants Veterans Park Dog Park

This is the first new addition to my Lowcountry Dog Park Tour since 2016. After we moved the closest dog park was at Wannamaker County Park, which was a bit of a drive. The dogs were getting older, slowing down some, and also got a fenced-in back yard, so trips to the dog park became less important. After the dogs died, there really wasn’t much reason to visit dog parks anymore.

This weekend, I’m dog-sitting Cooper. A perfect excuse to go visit a dog park! A couple years ago Goose Creek opened up a new park, John McCants Veterans Park, with a fenced in dog park. If it had opened a few years earlier, dog park trips probably would have made it back into the routine. Cooper and I decided to go check it out.

Getting to the dog park is pretty easy. It’s just off a major road and a short drive down a residential street. Two parking lots on either side of the street provide plenty of parking for people using the park itself, or the dog park. The dog park is a fenced off area off in a corner of the park.

The dog park at John McCants Veterans Park
The dog park at John McCants Veterans Park

The dog park has a standard dog lock set up with an outer gate and two inside gates for the large and small dog areas. A water fountain provides water for dogs and people. A poop bag dispenser is provided in case you forget to bring some along. Bathrooms for people are in a picnic shelter just across the field from the dog park.

Dog lock entry gates. Inside the front gate are two entry gates for a large dog area and a small dog area.
Dog lock entry gates

This is a new park, so there’s not much in the way of shade for people. Some small trees provide a bit of shade for the benches. It will be a few years before they get big enough to provide more shade.

There are some agility type fixtures on both sides for dogs to play with and play on. There aren’t any tennis balls or other toys (yet), so you’ll have to bring your own.

Each side has a couple of largish hills, one of which has two tunnels going through them. Good for running through, or maybe a nice shady spot for dogs to rest in.

There are also a couple of fake boulders. I don’t know if they’re hiding or covering up something, or just another feature for dogs to pee on.

A fake rock for dogs to pee on.
A fake rock for dogs to pee on.

It’s a pretty good sized dog park, but since it’s split up into a small and large dog area, it’s effectively two small dog parks. Personally I think separating large and small dogs at a dog park is unnecessary and ends up wasting a lot of perfectly good dog park space. At all the split dog parks I’ve been to over the years, all the dogs regardless of size end up in the same space anyway leaving the other half empty.

For people who like trains, it’s a good place to watch them go by.

There was a lot less activity at the park than I expected for a Saturday morning. Cooper and I were the only ones at the dog park today, so I don’t know how busy the dog park gets. There were a few other people and kids in the play area of the park though.

Here’s a Google map for the dog park.

Goodbye, Nala

We had to say goodbye to Nala this afternoon. In a couple of weeks she would have been 4 months shy of her 15th birthday.

She seemed like she was doing pretty well for her age, and I was expecting to be able to celebrate her 15th birthday. Over the course of the day, she went from trotting around the yard to being in some significant discomfort. Bloodwork showed some unusual results that suggested something going on with the liver or pancreas. Given her age (just over 14.5 years…pretty respectable for a lab), I decided treating her problems would just be postponing the inevitable for a short time longer. It was a sad and difficult decision to make, but Nala gets to be with Simba and Mischief again.

14 years and 5 months ago she became my very first dog. Didn’t know much about dogs back then, but I learned quickly (so did she).

Nala was calm and mellow, loved meeting people (especially kids), always enjoyed the dog park and being outside. She was patient with all the fosters I had, and I like to think she had a bit of a calming effect on some of them. Walks and trips to the dog park were some of her favourite activities (eating being one of the others).

One of Nala’s most memorable moments was the time she crashed a neighbour’s party. We were just getting back home from a walk, and the family a couple houses down were having a birthday party for their triplets. Nala got super excited with all the people around, managed to slip out of her collar and ran right into their house. I also had Simba with me, and had my hands full keeping him under control with everybody around so I couldn’t run in after Nala. Not sure what kind of trouble she got into running around in the house, but the neighbours eventually corralled Nala and got her back outside where I got her collar back on. It was probably less than a minute or two that she was loose in their house, but it felt like forever. They were pretty good sports about the incident fortunately, and the triplets got to play with the dogs on a few other occasions under more controlled circumstances.

Nala and Simba playing with a stick

It’s been a rough 10 months around here pet-wise. First Mischief, then Simba, and now Nala. We miss them terribly, but now they get to be together again.

Happy New Year from the animals
January 2018. Nala, Mischief, and Simba.

Goodbye, Simba

It was with much sadness that we said goodbye to Simba today. This morning, he only wanted to eat a few pieces of chicken and left the rest. After that, I decided that maybe it’s time.

We went down to the vet clinic this morning and two of the vet techs there that have known Simba since he was an 8 week old puppy were able to see him and say goodbye as well. Unfortunately his regular vets weren’t in the clinic today so Simba didn’t get to see them.

4 week old SImba
4 week old SImba
4 week old SImba
4 week old SImba

Simba was the happiest dog (he could also be a bit growly at times, especially when other dogs wanted his ball). The dog park was one of his favourite places, and he loved visiting all of them. He was a bit of a ball fiend and chasing the ball was one of his favourite activities. He’d run after the ball until he got tired, and then stop bringing the ball back. If he picked up the ball and walked away from me before I could grab it to throw again, that was when it was time for a rest.

One time when chasing after the ball, he got T-boned pretty hard by another dog zooming around the dog park. After that, whenever dogs got to running and chasing each other, he’d run over and try to break up the shenanigans.

Happy 4 year old Simba
Happy 4 year old Simba
Simba getting snowed on
Simba getting snowed on

Simba also made a good first impression on Connie too, eating her jury summons.

Simba on his 13th birthday
Simba on his 13th birthday
Out in the yard

Simba was the best boy. I miss him a lot.

Simba’s getting picky

Simba’s become quite the picky eater since we started giving him chicken and rice.

First he picked out the chunks of chicken to eat those, and then maybe finish off the rice if he felt like it. Then I shredded the chicken and mixed it into the rice. He ate that for a couple meals, but then started turning it down.

Simba's messy eating
Simba’s messy eating

To make sure he still wanted to eat, I made up some more chicken (cut up into cubes) with some peas and carrots. Sure enough, he ate up the chicken chunks and left the carrots and peas behind. He’d sniff around the bowl, grab a mouth full and drop it onto the floor of the crate, and then grab the chunks of chicken. When there was no more chicken, he stopped eating and ignored the rest of the peas and carrots. Nala happily helped Simba finish those off (she’s so helpful).

It seems that he’s still interested in eating, as long as it’s just chicken. I’m fine with feeding Simba chicken for now (although it seems to be giving him some…aromatic gas), but nutritionally it’s probably a bit lacking. The vet suggested some Hill’s Science Diet i/d food so we were able to get a couple cans of that today for him to try out.

Hopefully it’s something he’ll find appetizing enough to keep eating.

Dog scan follow up

The past few days, Simba hasn’t been eating much of his kibble at all, so yesterday we tried giving him some wet food thinking maybe he was having problems with his teeth making him not want to crunch down on his kibble. He ate some wet food we’ve been using to give him his medication with, so I ran out to buy some cans of wet dog food to see if he’d eat more of that. He snarfed down 1/3 of a can, which seemed encouraging.

This morning, he didn’t want to even eat the wet dog food, and didn’t seem like he was feeling very well.

A lab not eating is a Serious Thing. Fortunately Simba’s vets (Riverbank Vet Clinic) are awesome and they were able to work us in this morning.

Some follow up x-rays showed what appeared to be thickening of the walls of his stomach and, like with the previous x-ray, his stomach appeared unusually dense on the radiograph. This time he hadn’t eaten anything, so it wasn’t full of food like it was a couple weeks ago.

Simba lateral x-ray
Simba lateral x-ray
Simba ventral-dorsal x-ray
Simba ventral-dorsal x-ray

The stomach (upper right of the ventral-dorsal image) is quite dense and the stomach walls look quite thickened. That likely reduces what his stomach can hold too.

Vet suggested giving people food (chicken and rice) to see if he’d eat that. When we got back home, I made up some chicken and rice which he ate (very encouraging), but still turning away from his kibble and the canned food.

So now, as long as he’s eating, we’ll do what we can to make sure he’s feeling ok and comfortable. At some point though (could be a week, maybe months, who knows) he’ll probably get to the point where he won’t want to eat again. Then it will be time for that last visit to the vet.

Simba on his 13th birthday
Simba on his 13th birthday

He’s a good boy.