The dog days aren’t over

Chicago residents are taking their dogs adopted during the pandemic out on the town as restrictions ease.

People enjoy their time at the beach with their dogs at the Montrose Dog Beach located next to Montrose Beach.

People enjoy time at the beach with their dogs at the Montrose Dog Beach next to Montrose Beach.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Ingrid Padilla, her 6-year-old son and husband brought their dog Coco out to Montrose Dog Beach on a sweltering Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Island family usually walked Coco to a field by their home, but the heat called them to the lake.

“She also needs contact with other dogs,” said Padilla, shrouded in a white T-shirt while petting her pit bull.

Six-month-old Coco is one of many dogs adopted during the pandemic. Now, with COVID-19 restrictions easing, these puppies are ready to mingle.

Ingrid Padilla pets her dog Coco at Montrose Dog Beach.

Ingrid Padilla pets her dog Coco at Montrose Dog Beach.

Nina Molina

Churchill Dog Friendly Area

1825 N Damen Ave.
Open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

In the 4-year-old Labradoodle’s mouth was a tennis ball. Friday panted excitedly, tail wagging in the air, as he zig-zagged among the other dogs at Churchill Dog Friendly Park on a scorching Sunday afternoon.

Churchill Field Park is just off the 606, a walking path that runs above and through Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown. The outdoor haven is home to a baseball field, a grassy field and a popular dog-friendly area.

“This park is mostly paved, so it never, ever gets muddy,” said Roivin Ryan, a 59-year-old Wicker Park resident. “And they have a lot of nice people and nice dogs here.”

The play area also features a doggie drinking fountain, pools for pups to cool off and complimentary poop bags.

“Someone that comes here belongs to the Midtown tennis club. So every couple of days they bring a giant bag of used tennis balls here,” Ryan said, motioning to the neon green balls scattered across the pavement.

Dog owners must have a permit and tag issued by a participating veterinarian for each dog.

A full list of rules and regulations for bringing your dog can be found at

A dog chews on a tennis ball.

Friday chews on a tennis ball in the July heat at Churchill Dog Friendly Area in Bucktown.

Nina Molina

Montrose Dog Beach

601 W Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL
Open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

Mag and Paul Hurley have been coming to Montrose Dog Beach, also known as “Mondog,” for 20 years. Reclining on the sand, the North Center couple explained how the wide, enclosed area and shallow waters make this the perfect place for their 3-year-old dog Bode to cool off and make some canine friends.

“They can run around and play with other dogs. They can swim,” said Paul Hurley. “On a hot day, instead of going to a park and dying, we can be out here by the water.”

A dog gazes up at his owner at Montrose Dog Beach.

Bode gazes at his owner Mag Hurley at Montrose Dog Beach.

Nina Molina

Tabitha Roder, from Elmwood Park, was eyeing a dog beach in the north suburbs until she realized a membership costing $50 to $75 was required.

Fifteen-month-old corgi Max tugged on his leash, kicking up sand to get toward the water.

“This is our first full summer with him,” said Roder. “We’re trying to get out more and just let him socialize.”

A corgi stands in front of his owner at Montrose Dog Beach.

Max stands in the sand in front of his owner Tabitha Roder at Montrose Dog Beach.

Nina Molina

The Dog Beach is free, but Dog-Friendly Area (DFA) tags are required for all dogs. The tag costs $10 per year.

Check out these other dog parks in the city. They all follow Dog-Friendly Area rules that can be found at All the parks listed are open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Calumet Dog Friendly Park
9801 S. Avenue G

Wiggly Field Dog Park
2645 N Sheffield Ave.

Jackson Bark
6000 S. Lake Shore Drive

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