As I sit down to write this post, I notice my dog Hunter sitting on the couch. Her eyes glued to my computer screen, her head bobbing with every word I type, and her front paws neatly crossed. I stop and scratch my leg and realize my legs are crossed too. I then think is she mimicking me or am I mimicking her? I find myself smiling and silently laughing as I reflect on all the similarities I share with her. Maybe it wasn’t so obvious in the beginning, but now it’s incredibly obvious to me. Hunter and I both love days at the pool spent sunbathing, driving with our windows down, shopping, and eating sharp cheeses. Like many other dog owners experience, it wasn’t until I had an a-ha moment when someone approached me and said “you are so much like your dog” that I realized I owned a mini-me.
Here at District Ninja, we talked about how we could use open source data in order to show just how much we share in common with our mini-me’s. So who better than Hunter to help us find and test out the 11 municipal dog parks in DC.
Hunter, without much hesitation, agreed to help us. During the exploratory process, she made new friends, chased some birds, watered the grass, and drooled on way too many tennis balls. While we were out, the dog-less District Ninja team stayed at headquarters and began to build and merge datasets. By the ninth park, Hunter and I started noticing some obvious themes. For starters, people look and dress like their dogs more than one would realize! We also noticed that even though the dog parks are meant for the dogs, people can have about as much fun as the dogs through meeting other dog owners. We were also able to learn a bit more about dog amenities offered in the local areas and by this I mean we were able to learn about good dog stores, dog walkers, and other good dog friendly places to take Hunter.
By the end, Hunter’s journey had taken her to roughly 100,000 sq ft which constitutes the 11 city dog parks in the dataset. With Hunter’s help, we were able to collect our own data, match it against 3 interesting open datasets, and determine the following: DC’s Smartest Dogs (by nearby schools and their associated reading test scores) and DC’s Drunkest Dogs (by available liquor stores and bars nearby).
DC’s Smartest Dogs
The District Government open dataset shows the reading proficiency of public and charter schools in the District. This data was made available by the District of Columbia Government Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). By joining this data with, open data files listing both charter schools and public schools, and our own collected data, we were able to associate dog parks to their walkable 300 Meters schools in order to determine where you can take your dogs to be amongst DC’s smartest. We hope this visual lets your dogs learn the most tricks and stay ahead of the pack!
With 3 public schools and an average reading proficiency rate of 76%, Guy Mason takes the award for D.C.’s smartest dogs. Sure, some of this may be due to enrollment being up at D.C. public schools. But let’s not forget our furry friends and their hard work, like Hunter, who worked like a dog! In terms of smartest overall (DCPS +Charter), Gage-Eckington takes the cake with a 64.5% reading proficiency average for all six schools (3 DCPS/3 Charter).
DC’s “Most Social” Dogs
Open Data DC offers a dataset that contains all publically available Alcohol Beverage Restaurant Association (ABRA) issued liquor licenses (includes beer and wine stores) and their respective addresses. We geocoded this dataset using CartoDB’s built in GeoCoder, filtered the some of the specialty licenses that weren’t as relevant to this award (such as cruise ships and event venues), then geo-fenced the results with Hunter’s collected data with a 300 meter perimeter which left us with a list of all the relevant ABRA licensed bars/clubs and liquor stores within 300 meters of the 11 parks. This list shows which parks have the most places within walking distance where our pups can rub paws with each other over doggy happy hour.
It sure doesn’t take long to see that our furry friends have the most options for booze around the Shaw dog park. Speaking of Shaw Dog Park, let’s not forget that Dacha recently showed a lot of love for our furry friends to raise money for Shaw Dog Park by hosting Dogtoberfest. As fun as it was, it may have been the one and only. It appears that Dacha may be in the dog house. Coming in at a close second is S Street Dog Park with 6 bars/clubs and 4 liquor stores.
Our collected data and the resulting awards wouldn’t be possible without District Ninja’s loyal K-9 companions. Our furry friends spent hours trekking the District’s dog parks which span 6 Wards. Out of all our visits, one moment really stuck out to Hunter and that was a Saturday at the Chevy Chase dog park.
While Hunter has yet to say what her favorite dog park is, she really had a blast at this dog park chasing after the tennis balls and drinking water from the water pump.
Although it may not be some dog’s preferences, Chevy Chase Dog Park is primarily gravel with a few patches of grass sprinkled on top. Hunter loves this ratio of gravel to grass because she is a through and through a city dog. After all, as any true city dog can attest, gravel is a perfectly acceptable play and pee surface and grass is a delicacy that should only be eaten. So, you won’t be shocked when you find out that Hunter decided to spend part of her time at the dog park eating just about every loose pellet of grass there was.
Now we know it’s not all about Hunter. During our visits, we met so many other adorable, social, and smart pups! Hunter and her friends found that they had plenty of space to run around, plenty of quality schools, plenty of nearby watering holes for their parents (at Shaw and S Street), and plenty of parking (at least at Eckington and Shaw). The only downside being, the parents had almost no where to sit! But then again, Hunter and her other four legged companions didn’t seem to notice 🙂