Posted for Shirley Otradovec
My husband and I have been doggie foster parents since 2005. We have fostered dozens of dogs throughout the years. Last year we took in a tiny dog who was in deep trauma. We could not find the perfect home; she’s probably unadaptable. Contrary to our desires, it looks like we are actually dog owners again.
I have mixed feelings about dog parks, largely because there will always be dog owners who neglect to pick up after their dogs and/or fail to monitor their dog’s behavior. But, I have taken many foster dogs to dog parks over the years to assess socialization levels and simply give them a chance to run hard and fast off leash.
This heat has made it impossible to walk our 6 lb. dog and our backyard is artificial turf and gravel. We have been taking Penny to a grassy pocket park in our village. There are many others who use this area as a dog park of sorts and it is kept in pristine condition. It is not a big gathering place like the space near the Community Patrol office. And I sure hope our little pocket park doesn’t gain in user population because there are typically no more than three dogs there at any given time.
My point is that we do need gathering places within SCA for dogs and their people. Many residents don’t participate in clubs or community activities. The doggie spots are an opportunity for human and canine socialization.
I have a cousin in Florida who took his dog 2x daily to a local dog park for many years. He is a busy property manager who offices from home. When the dog passed away last Spring it was, of course, a deep loss. But after a short time he also realized that losing his daily routine and the friends he made at the dog park was a big factor contributing to the constant stone in his heart. So he returned to his daily routine and when the time is right he’ll get another dog. In the meantime he enjoys his visits with his doggie friends and their owners. This is a 50 year old man with a career and a wife who realized this connection was important to his mental health.
So, although I don’t love dog parks, I love dogs and I believe SCA should do what it can to support the social and emotional health of community members. Although I probably won’t use it, I want a dog park within SCA. But if/when there is one I hope regulars will ensure the rules are abided by and violations will be reported and managed.