Closer to Home: Seeing Edmonton with a dog alongside 🐾

Editor’s note: Once a week here at Transforming Edmonton we’ve been sharing some of our favourite places in the city. The pandemic has shortened the travel horizon for many. And that’s okay, because there are plenty of gems in different parts of our city that are worth a visit. Each week a different City of Edmonton team member gives you a story about a fave spot closer to home. This is Charity Dyke’s view. And Tarkin’s.

She doesn’t know it, but I am declaring it: my dog Tarkin is one of Edmonton’s best kept secrets when it comes to tour guides.

I explore hundreds of kilometres of trails, sidewalks and random desire lines tethered to the end of her leash— through sun, rain and now, snow.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care where she is going or if I particularly get anything out of it. The truth is I get a lot out of our travels. I see the city from my own feet and her inquisitive nose.

Tarkin near the MacTaggart Sanctuary and graffiti tunnel, earlier this month.

Seeing your city with no destination in mind, no schedule and following the endless curiosity of your dog is kind of magical.

But the magic may not be what you think. Sometimes the magic is just walking in a straight line between the naturalized plantings screening the houses and the trees lining the busy road. Quiet in one ear and the city sounds in the other. I like the balance of having both.

Tarkin along 23 Avenue in the Blue Quill neighbourhood.

Or emerging on the unexpected. Taking the trail less travelled from the south entrance of MacTaggart Sanctuary and finding our way to the wildlife underpass, or what many call the graffiti tunnel.

Imagining what Tarkin might see, allowing for colour changes, looking up at the graffiti tunnel.

This may not be a popular statement, but it isn’t all about the trails. Taking an urban trek into the heart of the city is—and here I am speaking for Tarkin, but, I think we’re on the same page—a necessity. It can be a dog-friendly outdoor patio with friends…

Tarkin, middle, with patio friends downtown.

It can be a downtown dog park…

Tarkin cooling her heels at Alex Decoteau Park, summer 2019. The artificially turfed dog run is visible in background.

Or it could be inspecting the bike lanes together…

Tethered travellers.

Closer to home, the two of us know the heartbeat of our neighbourhood, Blue Quill, because we walk it, we explore it and we take it all in, each and every day. And knowing your neighbourhood from that vantage point, in my opinion, is the most magical part of the whole tour.

Tarkin on Blue Quill Hill wearing locally made DogDog Goose earlier this walking season.