One year after opening, temporary dog park a hit as work continues on permanent site

By Chloe Shelford | Jul 10, 2018
Photo by: Chloe Shelford Daisy and Maverick, two regulars at the Dog Park, pose on top of the dog ramp.

One year after opening a temporary dog park, the Dartmouth Dog Advisory Work Group is pushing ahead with its plans for a permanent home for pet lovers as demand continues to grow.

The group, formed in 2010, is dedicated to building a large-scale dog park at Dartmouth Regional Parks and Trails on Old Fall River Road. Once complete, the 12-acre site will include a completely fenced in off-leash park, water, electricity, and other pet-friendly essentials.

Faced with delays, however, the group opened a smaller temporary location on June 14, 2017. Over the past year, the dog park, run entirely by DDAWG volunteers, has become more and more popular and now draws visitors from around the region.

“It’s a place where people have gotten along, and dogs have gotten along,” said Diane Camacho, the president of the group.

She noted that dog owners are generally astute and know to leash their dogs and leave the area if there is a conflict, so everything has gone fairly smoothly.

Just in time for the one-year anniversary, the group was awarded a Mini-Grant from United Way of Greater New Bedford, which will fund an informational kiosk at the temporary location.

To keep the park a safe and fun place, the board recently updated the park rules. The board collaborated with local dog experts, including Animal Control, a veterinarian, a dog trainer, a dog sitter and walker, and Parks and Recreation to make sure that the rules would help achieve that goal.

Since opening last year, the park has become quite accessorized with attractions for both humans and pets. A volunteer donated material to make a bench which has been installed, as well as a dog ramp. A dog tunnel was donated by a friend of the park. A dog bowl is provided and washed daily by members of the DDAWG board, but there is no water source at the park.

The dog park also hosts events from time to time, including an upcoming Small Dog Night on July 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., for small dogs who might be nervous around bigger dogs.

“Some dogs that are little have an attitude and are fine around big dogs,” Jo-anne Gallant, DDAWG’s clerk, added.

The group is also hoping to host a dog park safety and etiquette night later in the season.

Since the dog park doesn’t receive any money from the town budget, DDAWG officials are working with Parks and Recreation to apply for a PARC grant this month to fund needed land clearing at the permanent site, located just up the road from the temporary park within the same property. So far, two acres have been cleared.

The group is also hosting several fundraisers to cover those costs as well as insurance and supply-related costs. In September, the group will be hosting an indoor yard sale at St. Mary’s Church with table space available for purchase. The group will also be selling a 2019 Dog Park Calendar complete with photos submitted to a contest earlier this year.

For more information about the dog park, visit the group's website, dartmouthdogpark.org. The group is also on Facebook at Facebook.com/DartmouthDogPark.

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