Animal companionship is a legit boon for mental health and well-being — especially these days. And just like we humans can reap benefits from the outdoors, many dog owners understand the value of having a clean and safe space for their furry friends to frolic and be merry.

Well, a swanky, new members-only dog park recently popped up in California with the goal of fostering feel-good, but not bougie vibes for dogs and their people.

Dog owners outside with a dogShare on Pinterest
Julie Meme/Stocksy United

“We are a social environment designed for dogs and their two-legged family members to thrive,” says the mission statement of DOG PPL — the name given to the Santa Monica, California, new social club for dogs. And while they might want you to come for the puppers, they definitely want you to stay for the people.

The private dog park opened in September 2021 and quickly grew to more than 900 paying members. These members not only take advantage of pristine greenery and ample space for their dogs to roam, but there’s also a lounge area with a bar, free events, and music. They can also enjoy limited 60-minute work time with free Wi-Fi, while their dogs play under the supervision of park monitors known as “rufferees.” It’s basically one of the area’s hottest new happy hairy hour spots.

But what sounds like an oasis for dogs and dog owners alike doesn’t come cheap.

Monthly memberships come in three tiers:

A plus is that there’s no contract involved, so you can cancel anytime. There’s currently no info about a one-time drop-in fee, though.

Any dog owners in the area who are interested in joining the community need to create an account on the website and complete a membership application. This is a fairly recent restriction that the founders had to implement to keep numbers manageable. They also require all dog members to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and more than 4 months old. They ask that human members be 16 years or older.

Other than these and a few other reasonable requirements, limitations are pretty limited. DOG PPL accepts all dog breeds, dog sizes, and even allows human nonmembers to tag along on a friend’s or partner’s existing membership.

All in all, you’ll be paying for top-notch cleanliness not found in most public dog parks, safe interaction with other dogs, and engagement opportunities with other dog owners with similar lifestyles.

Like we mentioned, pet ownership is good for our health — and so is community. In whatever form it may come, community can be an underrated necessity, no matter if you’re an extrovert or introvert. But communities that spring from exclusive clubs like DOG PPL can feel a little alienating, especially for folks who can’t afford a membership.

While these feelings are valid, it’s also appropriate to do your own digging into the motivations behind clubs like these to see if the opportunity truly is good for all. Thus far, the founders of DOG PPL emphasize that the memberships are to ensure safety, maintain the environment, and to pay the staff — not to exclude folks. They’re selling an experience, and that experience has a cost.

If you’re a dog owner who lives in the Santa Monica, California, area or you’re into building your pet-lovers inner-circle, check out DOG PPL to perhaps get a glimpse into the community-building future.

TBD if this trend picks up in other locations, too. For now, you’ll have to keep your paws crossed.