Bebo enjoys the snow at the Cederbrae off-leash area. PHOTO: TAMMIE SAMUEL

I said goodbye to setting morning alarms in May 2021. That’s when my family and I got Bebo, our now 22 month-old dog.

Every day since, the purebred border collie wakes us with his whining at 7 a.m. without fail. He bolts to the door right as we let him out of his kennel, excited to be loaded up into the hatch of the car and on the way to play.

When he leaps out of the vehicle, he’s met with a wide expanse of green space in south Calgary where people and their four-legged family and friends come to frolic around, free of leashes. 

We all have them. Places in the city that bring us joy, big and small. In an era of chaos, Calgary Journal editors are taking time this year to reflect on the public spots that bring us happiness and peace.
You can read the whole series here.

Divided by 14th Street, the Southwood and Cedarbrae off-leash areas are connected by a pedestrian (or “paw-destrian”) overpass. One of the happiest moments of my mornings is following behind Bebo as he runs to the bridge, just to wait for me at the foot of it. 

In 2022, CBC reported “previous studies have touted the benefits of walking, including one in 2019 that found walking as little as 2,000 steps a day could lower mortality rates.”

Another special quirk of the Cedarbrae park is a small patch of forested area, where you can walk winding paths under the tree branches for a few moments of solitude in nature. 

Bebo runs on the pedestrian overpass above 14th Street. PHOTO: TAMMIE SAMUEL

These daily walks with my pup in the early hours of the morning have done wonders in helping me start off my day right. The freeing fields, unwavering paths and sloping landscape of these southwest off-leash areas have offered the perfect environment to get my pet exercised, my body moving, and my mind cleared. 

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