Preventing your health from going to the dogs

You don’t have to tell the active dog owner about the health benefits of getting outside with their four-legged friend

Users of the Cy Hampson Park off-leash dog area on the Peninsula enjoy a walk with a variety of canines.

You don’t have to tell the active dog owner about the health benefits of getting outside with their four-legged friend — for both the owner and the dog.

Simple walks in the morning and afternoon can help keep your canine pal healthy and fit, while also helping to socialize them with other dogs and preventing personality problems associated with being cooped up in the house or apartment all day.

For the owner, a couple of walks each day with their pet provides many of the same benefits — plus helps them live up to the responsibilities of pet ownership.

On the Peninsula, one of the more popular places to take the dogs is the off-leach area at Cy Hampson Park in North Saanich.

Located along Lochside Drive, across from the Centre for Plant Health, the park provides a fenced green space with trails, trees, hills and benches. It’s one of the only large spaces that is completely fenced, allowing dogs to run free and play with their owners and other pets.

In 1976, the area was known as Bazan Bay Park, later changed in honour of naturalist Dr. Cyril G. Hampson, who owned property adjacent to the park. It is a heritage site within the District of North Saanich and is included as part of the Lochside Regional Trail.

The park runs parallel to the oceanfront and is located on both sides of Lochside Drive. The ocean side is not fully-fenced but is wheelchair accessible and allows for easy walks with the dog on-leash.

Across the road, the off-leash portion of the park is set up to allow pets to run at leisure, get their exercise and keep their owners on the ball, so to speak.

For dog owners, there’s opportunity to get some mild exercise along some easy walking trails, while helping to keep their pet active and energetic.

While the park itself is basic, the socializing opportunities for pets (and their owners) are also quite extensive.