A how-to guide for access to Cape May’s dog park on Lafayette Street, along with suggestions on great places to shop for pet supplies.
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If you want to take your pup to the dog park on Lafayette Street, I’ll tell you my story. Earlier this year, my husband surprised me with our bernedoodle puppy, Gunner. When I go to work, I like to bring him with me. I have taken him all around the town to take pictures for CapeMay.com and Cape May Magazine. However, I thought I should get him a license for the dog park so he can have a little bit of fun. I figured it would be super easy, but I did run into a few unexpected things along the way that I will share with you!
Make sure you have the right paperwork
Gunner and I went to the Clerk’s Office on the second floor of Cape May City Hall to get him a dog park license. While I was there, Licensing Clerk Terry Stickle handed me some paperwork and I began to fill it out. The fee for one week is $10.00 and for the season is $20.00. I chose the season pass, as we are here all the time.
I handed over the rabies certificate that I received from my vet. Terry asked for Gunner’s hometown and dog license, but I didn’t have that paperwork with me. He was wearing his tags from Middle Township, but Terry explained that I needed a copy of Middle’s license, plus the rabies document I already had. So we took the paper and went home, intending to return with the necessary documentation. (Terry mentioned that you can take a picture of your dog’s license and email it to them while you’re physically in the office. We’re sure scanning would work too.)
The next week we went back to City Hall with the dog license and rabies certificate, and we received Gunner’s tag—a cute black bone-shaped tag with a unique ID! Make sure your dog wears it on their collar.
Familiarize yourself with the dog park’s rules
I had to read the dog park’s rules and sign a required liability form before accepting the tag. Here are a few rules you’ll want to know:
- The dog park is open daily from dawn to dusk
- Children under 18 aren’t allowed without adult supervision, and anyone under 10 isn’t permitted within the fence
- No smoking, alcohol, food, or glass
- You must clean up after your dog!
- If your dog is in heat, she can’t enter the park
- Keep your dog leashed except in designated run-free areas
What to expect at the park
Once we had our tag, we headed to the park, which is just a few blocks from City Hall. When we got there, it was just Gunner and me. As you approach the dog park, you’ll come to a gate that opens toward you. We entered into a sort of gated box. This is where the park’s trash can is located. A second set of gates opens toward you again, leading into the park itself.
To the right is a water station and a bowl for you to put fresh, cold water to keep your dog happy and hydrated. At the center of the park is a gazebo and chairs for the humans to sit on while the pups play! On the fence, waste bags are available.
Gunner made new friends named Theo and Hank, and boy, they got along really well!
Get the right kind of disposable bags
I have to mention what happened right after we left the park. We weren’t even off the block and Gunner went number two. I cleaned it up and went to put it in the trash, but the waste bag I was using broke. We went back to the dog park so I could clean my hands.
As we were walking back to the office, I stopped at Dog Days of Cape May, located at 315 Ocean Street, #17 Washington Commons. They have a water bowl outside of their door and dogs are welcome inside. The owner, Tom, was behind the desk and came around to ask if he could pet Gunner. He was so nice to Gunner and asked if I needed help finding anything.
I explained that I was in search of more durable poop bags than the ones that had just failed me. He recommended the brand Earth Rated. They come in 60-bag rolls, four rolls per box. They are 100% leak-proof guaranteed and made from a compostable blend of PBAT and vegetable starches. These bags are perfect! Living in New Jersey where we’ve had recent bans on plastic shopping bags statewide, I’m more conscious of using plastic and am happy to find a compostable option. Tom also gave Gunner a bag of yummy treats. Dog Days will be our stop every time!
Make sure you have a comfortable leash
I also wanted to mention the importance of a comfortable leash so you can safely control your dog. Every leash I’ve used up until now has ended up hurting my hands. So Gunner and I headed to The Wagging Tail, located at 337 U.S. 9 (between Erma and Rio Grande). The two women working helpfully showed us where the leashes are.
The six-foot leash in the pictures of Gunner is from the brand alcott. It is black with reflective stitching on both sides, and padded where you hold it. I can say that after getting this leash, my hands don’t hurt anymore! It doesn’t cut into them like the others. The Wagging Tail has all kinds of pet supplies, and not just for dogs, if you need them while you’re on vacation.
- You need a license for the dog park, which you can get at the Clerk’s Office
- Bring proof of current rabies vaccination (ask your vet for a copy) and your dog’s license from wherever you live (the paperwork, not just the tag)
- Make sure you’re familiar with the dog park’s rules
- Waste bags are available but we recommend bringing your own durable ones!
- Save your hands! A comfy leash is a MUST
Well, I have to say that Gunner had a blast at the dog park! If you ever see us taking pictures around town, feel free to say hello. Gunner is very good with humans and other dogs. We have been training him since we got him. He is five and a half months old, and so loveable. Follow Gunner’s adventures on Instagram @gunner_bernedoodle. We can’t wait to meet you and your four-legged friends!
Cape May City Dog Park
705 Lafayette Street
Cape May, NJ 08204
The complete rule list on the City’s website
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