Saturday, April 2, 2011

Let's Make a Dog Park!

When we adopted Grigri last year I spent some time on the internet looking for a local dog park. But found exactly none. That's why I was so happy to see an article in the Barnstable Patriot that a committee to establish a dog park for Barnstable County was forming.

What is a dog park? There aren't very many on Cape Cod but they are popping up all over the country. Typically a dog park is a fenced area where dogs are allowed to play off leash. Usually there are separate areas for small and large dogs, with vestibule entries that prevent dogs from dashing out the gate when others enter. Water bowls, poop bags and garbage cans are common fixtures and some parks have balls and other toys available. The great thing about dog parks is that they allow our pets to socialize with other dogs - something they have few opportunities to do on leash, in yards, or in homes. It's also a great social opportunity for dog owners to make new friends and talk about their favorite topic: our dogs!

I attended the March 24th meeting of the Committee for Barnstable Dog Parks where I met a really enthusiastic group of dog owners. They have made enormous progress in the three months they have been organizing and have identified several potential sites. Grigri and I visited the Danforth Property, which is one seemingly desirable spot.

The Danforth Property is located near the intersection of Race Lane and Route 149. We cleaned the trail to Mystic Lake there and found the tunnel that originally offered cows the chance to walk under the road down to the lake for water. There is parking, and across the road at the airport a magical trail called Sumac Grove that winds through a sumac forest with deep grass underneath. I imagine it is lovely in summer - can't wait to return.

These trails were nice and clean with the exception of the usual beverage containers and the occasional spot some dog owner overlooked. Sometimes you just run out of bags I guess. I'm hoping the new Committee for Barnstable Dog Parks succeeds in setting the tone for dog owners in Barnstable by emphasizing the need to be extra careful of our pets' waste in order to protect Cape Cod's natural beauty (and high water table). If we each cleaned up a little bit more than our share, we'd win the battle!

Meetings of the Committee for Barnstable Dog Parks are slated for the 4th Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM at the Hyannis Senior Center on Route 28 (multipurpose room) and all are welcome. However, in April an alternate date has been suggested (April 21) due to conflicts.

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