This is number 31 in my series of articles of things to do in Naples when you’re parenting alone. When you’re not able to be with your children full time you still feel the need to care for…something.  Usually a dog can help fill that void for you on the days when you do not see your children.

The dog also becomes another thing your children will be excited to see when they spend time at your residence.

Dogs are famous for helping teach children empathy and responsibility. A dog’s unconditional love for its owner can be a good model for the parent-child relationship. A dog can also help children learn a routine chore, dog walking.  At the very least, a dog is a pleasant distraction during an unpleasant time like a divorce or separation.

Dogs also teach children how to behave around dogs.  As a lawyer, I’m obviously sensitive to any situation where negligence and liability come into play.  Florida is particular with its dog laws.  Miami’s Dade county has a Pit bull ban, for instance.  Collier County has a public list of “dangerous dogs” who have already bitten a person.

In addition, being a dog owner allows you to socialize with other dog owners in a way that always provides a good, quick introduction “what’s your dog’s name”

A dog park is a good destination to get dogs and kids out of the house to stretch their legs and interact with others. Naples has two dog parks.

Close to downtown just off of Goodlette and Central is the Naples Dog Park. “The Naples Dog Park is approximately 1.35 acres of fenced, lush green landscaping and dog-friendly mulch. The South section allows large dogs to run freely on 1 acre of land, while the North section is composed of .35 acres and is dedicated to small dogs.”

There is a shady structure in the middle of the park cleverly named “The Palmer House” for those hot Florida summer days.  Bags for dog waste and water bowls are provided by the park.

While the Naples Dog Park is close to downtown, there is plenty of parking.

The Naples Dog Park is just 4.8 miles from my Naples, FL law office.  Directions are below.

North Naples has its own dog park located off of Immokalee and Goodlette called “Rover’s Run.” Rover’s Run also has two separate sections for big dogs and little dogs respectively.  Rover’s Run is adjacent to a larger park that has a playground for children (no dogs allowed in the playground, however).

Note: All dogs who use a Collier County dog park must have a dog park pass.  It has not been my experience that this is strictly enforced but it certainly can’t hurt.

Bonita Springs also has a dog park off of Terry and Imperial and this makes a good pit stop if you’re running errands in Lee County with dogs and kids.

After a visit to the dog park, a second trip can be made to Petsmart, PetCo, or Pet Supermarket for a dog treat.