Dog parks are more than lawns where canines can run free. These parks are beneficial to local communities, adding green space and creating a place where everyone can connect.
In 1979, the first official U.S. dog park, Ohlone Park in Berkeley, California, was created. Here in America the number of households with dogs have increased (43 million households now own dogs) and so have these leash-free parks. In 2010, there were 569 dog parks in 100 of America’s largest cities alone. These parks have many benefits. For instance, they promote responsible pet ownership and give dogs and dog owners special space to socialize.
Here are some Mindful tips for creating a park that everyone in the community (especially our four-legged friends) can enjoy:
- Organize support. It takes enthusiastic dog lovers to get a leash-free dog park up and going. Gather local dog owners and supporters for meetings. Together you can form a group or non-profit organization for creating a dog park.
- Do your research. With your supporters research other dog parks for ideas. Consider Dream Dog Park in Johns Creek, Georgia where dogs can play in sprinklers or sprint through walking trails. Or Dog Wood Park in Jacksonville, Florida where dogs can swim, spend time on the agility course or sign up for obedience classes.
- Consider your budget. For a successful park you’ll need to consider the costs. While your local government may provide some funds, your group will most likely need to take proactive steps to raise money for the park. Consider starting your own fundraisers or asking local dog businesses or organizations for support.
- Plan the park logistics. You can survey your community or contact your local parks department for an appropriate place for your park. You’ll also need to think about some of the parks necessities like fences, waste bins, water sources, adequate shade, benches, wheelchair access and sufficient parking.
- Work on your mission statement and proposals. If you haven’t created one already, you may need a mission statement explaining the need, purpose, and benefits of your park. You’ll also need to draw up a proposal that’ll address issues like “location, funding, maintenance, enforcement, health and safety rules,” etc.
- Campaign and motivate. When you have all your information in order start campaigning. Come up with educational pamphlets about your dog park to hand out to the public. Talk to city government officials for support or request a hearing with your local government to discuss the park. While you campaign remember to keep up your groups spirit as creating a park can take years.
For more information, view the in-depth dog park packet provided by the American Kennel Club.