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EPISODE 14: St. Albertans sharing sunshine with pups

Welcome to the 14th episode of the St. Albert Signal, a weekly community podcast about the St. Albert area.
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Jules Ham sits down with her dog Matilda at the Lacombe Lake Park off-leash area on June 24, 2021.

Welcome to the 14th episode of the St. Albert Signal, a weekly community podcast about the St. Albert area. Listen to the 14th episode below:

Plenty of people flocked to Lacombe Lake Park's off-leash area this week to enjoy the hot, sunny summer weather. The park includes a picturesque lake and plenty of green space for dog owners to get social with other owners and for their pups to bark lots and bound around.

Hazel Cavida was out with her nine-month-old Bernese mountain dog named Kaya who, despite her young age, is huge.

“We have been going here since she has been able to, after she was up to date with her vaccines and stuff,” said Cavida. “Usually every week we come here, (to) let her run around and play with the dogs and stuff.”

A dog of her size needs to let loose of some of that pent-up energy and Cavida said the Lacombe Lake dog park is the perfect place for her to do it.

“She just kind of sees a target out in the distance and just runs for it,” laughed Cavida. “It’s a lot of fun for her.”

Dog owner Tristan Ham was at the park with his two dogs, Matilda and Kabuki. Matilda has a sleek coat of black fur. Kabuki – a White Swiss Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix – is not originally from Canada.

“We actually brought her over from Australia when we moved back to Canada,” said Ham. “She is used to the heat; she likes the hot, hot air.”

Kabuki has been a part of Ham’s family for 12 years and is much the more established of the two. They dubbed Matilda a “COVID dog” as she was adopted this past January. Ham said the Lacombe Lake Park is among their favourite spots to bring their dogs on a hot day.

“It is nice and fenced and they did a lot of work to make it really great and pet-friendly,” said Ham. “Plenty of space, the proximity to the water is always a good draw as well. It works for us and the people have been so great.”

Ham said the park is a good place to find all types of dogs.

“It is sort of an emotional smorgasbord here,” said Ham. “I’ve been bowled over here and smoked behind the legs and flipped over, but generally the dogs have been friendly and I haven’t seen any aggressive incidents or anything like that.”

Ham said it has been a great place to socialize.

“This is the perfect place for people to get to reintroduce one another,” said Ham of the lifting of COVID restrictions and the re-emergence of more socializing among St. Albertans. “It’s very accessible and very well-maintained and just a pleasure to take the dogs and the kids here.”