Poppy is a six year old shihpoo (half shihzu and half poodle).  She is 12 pounds and very adorable and loving.

HOWEVER….during 2020 when Poppy was only three she found Covid isolation was making her bark incessantly at dogs and people she encountered or sensed walking by the house.

I had to step in to help! I did this by taking Poppy to a dog park for much-needed socialization.

Poppy soon had a wonderful social life at the dog park and didn’t need to bark so much. I found benefits for myself, too. I was socially isolated with COVID precautions, but found a wonderful social life while talking with the kind folks who brought their dogs. 

Poppy needs a DOLA (Dogs off Leash Area) for little dogs

Folks who have dogs and care about them enough to take them to a dog park for a social life are overwhelmingly friendly, kind and approachable people. Who can be snobby when everyone is picking up poop?  Everyone is happy and delighted outdoors in the beautiful park watching the dog antics and socializing with their fellow dog lovers.

Unfortunately, catastrophe struck at the dog park!  Two large dogs at the dog park were chasing each other and accidentally stepped on Poppy’s paw, breaking four of her toes and causing $4,000 in vet bills, ultimatelly causing Poppy to not be able to walk for 6 months.

She needed a new place to socialize, but with smaller dogs. I pushed Poppy in a dog stroller in a field that only had little dogs but unfortunately it was without legal status as a place for dogs off leash, aka a DOLA. This meant anyone could call code enforcement or animal control and the dogs and their owners could be given citations.

Cupertino DOLAs are born

The Cupertino DOLA campaign started in 2017. It took two years for the city to approve starting a trial in Jollyman Park in 2019.

Poppy and I started attending the Jollyman DOLA trial in 2020. The trial was clearly going to be a great success. I then became the main leader and led that DOLA to achieve ongoing status.

  • I’ve then organized the different leaders and dog owners at Linda Vista Park, Monta Vista, Memorial Park as well as Jollyman DOLA to unite and campaign successfully for a high priority in Cupertino’s 2022-2023 Workplan.  Two DOLA trials are going to start simultaneously each year with a 3-6 month trial period to achieve ongoing status.
  • Linda Vista DOLA and Monta Vista Trials were started in December 9, 2022.  I’ve been mentoring those DOLA leaders and dog owners and working in collaboration with Rachelle Sanders, Director of Parks & Recreation. The DOLAs and dog owners are working on successfully passing their trials to achieve ongoing status.
  • Future DOLAs are planned in Memorial Park and Wilson Park.


A happy ending for Poppy…and maybe one for your dog, too!

So now, Poppy has a Little Dog/Delicate Dog DOLA at Linda Vista Park where she can socialize with little dogs without fear of being accidently trampled by big running playing dogs.  I’ve also made a lot of wonderful new friends who are enjoying their dogs and friends safely and legally in a DOLA. These folks are helping to make Cupertino a better place to live safely with walking and biking for our health and the planet. Come join us!


Would you like to have your dog have space to enjoy playtime off leash in YOUR neighborhood park? Contact WBC at info@walkbikecupertino.org and we’ll be happy to work with you toward getting a DOLA trial at your park.