Austin, TX

Austin, TX and Barton Springs Are Friendly to Dogs and Their Owners

Carol Lennox
Dog fetching toy in water.Photo by @mviviani on Unsplash

It's a hot day in Austin, TX. People are flocking to Barton Springs and Deep Eddy Pool both fed by underground springs that keep the water at 68 degrees year-round.

There are plenty of dog parks, including those on the lake. When it's 103 degrees outside, though, even the lake feels warm.

While Barton Springs and Deep Eddy Pool are gated and require a small payment to enter, and where dogs are not allowed, "Barky Springs" is different. The colloquially named area is just after the water fall leading to the rest of the lake. It's free, and while somewhat more difficult to access, the water is just as cold when you get there and get in. It's also shallower, and easy for dogs and their human companions to maneuver.

Yes, you can take your dogs with you into the 68 degree water of "Barky Springs." And they are in their element. While not all dogs are sure at first about entering water, some breeds are built for swimming. Others, especially in the areas where they can touch bottom, are quickly won over.

Reluctant dogs see the others romping, playing, and chasing toys in the water, and after only a little coaxing, join in. Some toys and balls become communal. One large, white dog reportedly is there every day. He slowly and nonchalantly swims over to a ball that's been thrown, picks it up and carries it oft where he hangs out on shore. Before the day ends, he brings it back to the original dog, or to the area where the original dog's human was throwing the ball.

On a recent summer day, my sister and I maneuvered our way down to the water, where a friend and his dog, Raven, met us after they went paddle boarding on the lake. The friend brought us floats to hand out in so we were partially in and partially out of the frigid water. With the sun glaring and the temperature rising, the cold water provided a welcome balance.

Other dogs joined us and Raven as we threw the ball for her. One of the dogs decided he was done chasing balls for awhile, took one in his mouth, and jumped onto my sister in her raft. Amid much splashing, he settled down beside her, still mouthing the ball, and hung out. She's a dog lover, and took his incursion in stride.

Wherever you go in Austin, TX, prepare to see dogs and their humans. From numerous official dog parks, such as Red Bud Isle, to informal ones such as "Barky Springs" below Barton Springs, from outdoor restaurants like Loro, to the myriad hiking trails, you'll see evidence of how Austinites feel about dogs.Dogs are citizens and family in Austin. Just ask Raven.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX

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