Off-Leash Dog Area Builds Community

Boston Common Off-Leash Dog Area
Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari

Boston Common area residents are using the new Boston Common Off-Leash Dog Area, and as for their four-legged friends it is a tail-wagging experience all around. In this specially designated area of America’s first public park, marked by signage, dogs are allowed to go off-leash.  What makes this program unique is that it does not require a fence; it is the first area of its kind to be approved by the city. Kimberly Annon, Beacon Hill resident and member of a group The Common Canine, visits Boston Common daily with her dog “Eighty” and finds that she is part of a “regular” group that generally follows the same schedule. “We are glad to have a space to bring our dogs where they are not breaking the rules,” says Annon. “Stopping in this area at the same time every morning and seeing the same people and their dogs really builds a good sense of community,” she adds. The Friends, in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and dog owners from the community who formed into the Friends sub-group Common Canine, developed the plan that provides meaningful recreation for dogs on Boston Common, protects turf and plantings from overuse, and minimizes interference with other users’ quiet enjoyment of the park.  Approved by the Parks Commission in 2013, the Program aims to engage dog owners as active stewards of the park, to establish and enforce clear rules and expectations around dogs in the park, and to create a long-term, sustainable mechanism for restoring and renewing those areas of the park that are used for dog recreation. Dog owners and The Common Canine group have plans to ramp up their involvement in upcoming community events to let other dog owners know about the area and how they can support it.  

One thought on “Off-Leash Dog Area Builds Community

  1. Judith Hughes

    I want to second Kimberly’s comments. As someone who has walked dogs literally for decades in downtown Boston, we are thrilled to be “legal”! We actually use both of the new areas, since we live with our two dogs over by South Station. So we’re connecting in both places! And it is good to see the grass being restored in the former off -leash areas. Thanks to all who made this happen!

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