After several days of Fiver staring out the window at the rain, the sun finally shows. I grab his leash, and he dances circles by the door. When my husband doesn’t turn the car toward our usual trailhead, though, Fiver whines. The vet? Again? Nope. We’re treating Fiver, a 9-year-old schipperke, to a day pass at BarkPark.

BarkPark in Nashville, Tennessee, is run by BARK, the makers of toy-and-treat subscription service BarkBox, a Subaru partner since 2016. “From creating dog toys and accessories for our Subaru Loves Pets initiative to helping animals at local shelters get adopted, together we are committed to strengthening the bond between people and pets,” says Liz Edelen, Love Promise Community Commitment Manager at Subaru of America. 

The park, called “an outdoor clubhouse for dogs and their people,” is membership based, with patrons paying a monthly or day-pass fee ($39 or $15, respectively). Among the perks: Wi-Fi for the humans, hills and tunnels for the dogs, and a calendar of parties and activities. BarkPark also gives back to the community, partnering with Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control on adoption and foster events.

Dogs and their owners playing together in the evening at BarkPark in 2019.
Dog owners mingle while their pups roam the park in 2019. Photo: Kyle Dempster


Our day pass grants us smart-lock access to the gate. Another gate secures the actual dog run, foiling four-legged escape artists.

Once off lead, Fiver bolts across the expanse, a mix of grassy and mulched areas designed to combat mud. He gulps from a spigot-fed bowl and quickly finds one of the many balls available for fetch. I toss it through one of two tunnels, both made from drainage pipes built into a small hill. He cocks his head at us. Nice try, humans.

The park has plenty of places for people to chill, but two picnic areas with outlets to charge cell phones or laptops are especially thoughtful. Regulars often bring their laptops during the workday so they can loosely monitor their inboxes while their pups play.

A black and white dog jumps up to a group of people at a picnic-style table set into a large cylinder at the dog park.
Photo: Kyle Dempster


BarkPark member Khrystyne Baltodano takes Mucho, her 15-month-old Swiss shepherd, for daily visits. “He loves it,” she says. “He basically drags me down the street when he knows we’re going.” Baltodano has fun too. “It’s nice to meet other dog parents,” she says.

Events, free with membership or day pass, draw the doggo-obsessed from all over Nashville. “It’s such a cool concept,” says Perry Del Favero, who brought his pup, a 2-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever named Friday, to BarkPark recently to have her photo taken at a pet portrait event. He also likes that the park throws parties for almost every holiday.

Paw print art workshops, grooming sessions, custom dog sketches, and comedy and movie nights round out the calendar. Parties feature treats for all the good boys and girls, and shows are complete with BARK memory-foam beds for best buds to lounge on.

But even just a regular Monday can turn into a fun adventure – as Fiver found out. He’s finally made it to the other side of that tunnel, and it’s debatable which one of us likes the sprinkler more.

I grab his leash and motion toward the gate, but he remains stretched out on a doggie cot, tongue out, soaking up the afternoon sun. The verdict? I don’t think he’ll whine next time we turn the car in this direction. 

Editor’s note: Visit BarkPark’s website for current operating hours.

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