Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Times-Picayune reported recently that City Park of New Orleans plans to add a dog park to the north part of the property as part of future improvement plans. This means that New Orleans will have their first official dog park, despite the numerous unofficial dog parks that pepper the city, including sites at the levee south of Carrollton and the Barracks in the French Quarter. So typical of New Orleans, which I love: people just doing what they wanna do!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Our second to last weekend in New Orleans (for now), Reddy and I strolled through City Park on Saturday. It is hard to imagine the park was submerged for three weeks after the hurricane. I saw a palm tree down in a pond, but otherwise the moss on the ancient oaks are hanging on, and the Picayune headline says the carosel re-opens today!
Friday, November 2, 2007
This photo was taken last year in front of my apartment. Its amazing how much changes in one year. I dont even live in the same apartment. Now we are in New Orleans and I am working on a great project, and Reddy has housemates. When we return to Shreveport in a couple of weeks things will look different from when we left them. The apartment will have a neglected smell (and hopefully the electricity wont be turned off again!), the colors will be warmer, the air cooler, friends will have new stories to tell, and new efforts will chug along to make the dog park happen. Wish it could happen overnight, but these seemingly simple things never quite happen this way. Perhaps this time next year, our dogs will be frolicking together in an urban, open green space called Veterans' Memorial Dog Park (or somethng like that).
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Shreveport Dog Park Alliance correspondent David McCormick attended the Mayor's Young Professional's Forum Tuesday evening at Stoner Boat Launch. Amidst crawfish pies and such, McCormick said he got some good one-on-one time with Da Mayor.
" We talked about the park and he was very diplomatic about how it is important and how will be good for the city. When he spoke at the beginning he talked about Shreveport being 'a hallmark of a progressive place to be.' I mentioned that a dog park would be instrumental in that."
McCormick said he walked away from the meeting with the notion that the dog park was going to happen, but the question remains WHERE? and WHEN?
"I think it went real well, and we are on the right track," he said.
Apparently there is some talk of a MASTER PLAN that I can not get to the bottom of at the moment as I am working away from Shreveport. However, efforts continue with the Veterans' site as I received news today from local activist Jason Scott about re-vamping an existing non-profit organization dedicated to this once glorious park that exists today in disarray.
Thank you for your continued interest and emailed suggestions on our dog park efforts!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
And Reddy loves it, too. He has come alive again. He now walks me, and is busy sniffing around the hood. There are tons of cats, and I add that to my list of How New Orleans Reminds Me of Some European City or Third World Country.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Always judging a book by its cover, I picked up Ken Foster's The Dogs Who Found Me at the Faulkner House in New Orleans' Pirates Alley last summer. What ever book you pick up in this intimate store, it will be good. So it doesnt really matter if I pick one up soley for aesthetic reasons. And it was one of those books I finished in a day or two then sent to a friend who had watched Reddy for a couple of months while I was away.
Presently back in New Orleans for a couple of months, I read in the Gambit that Foster was reading from his follow-up book Dogs I Have Met and the People They Found at Octavia books in Uptown. So I went, poured myself a glass of complimentary red wine and listened to him read from a couple of chapters from the book.
Foster's theme is centered around the kinds of people who take in the unwanted, stray dogs. And most of the times these dogs are pits and/or pit mixes. His stories also include other people's reaction to this breed. I did not know this but pit bulls used to be as popular as the lab is today in American Culture. Helen Keller had a pit bull, the dog from Our Gang was a pit bull. Foster had big displays of old advertisements and such from the turn of the century, all positive images of the pit bull. However, as we all know, pitties have fallen out of favor and not because of any fault of their own. From owners' ill-breeding practices.
Afterwards, Foster signed his new book and I had him sign one for a new friend of mine in Shreveport. She is like one of his characters he writes about-taking in the unwanted dog left at the truck stop, or tied to the bridge, or wandering down the country road. You probably know one of these people yourself, if you are not that person already! This book is a great read. Yes, I am reading it before I send it along to my friend.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
While in Manhattan this week, I strolled through Madison Square Park to check out the dog run there, as well as photographer William Wegman's new video installation "Around the Park." The seven-minute long video stars his famous weimereiners as they enjoy a fall day at Madison Square Park. Apparently he filmed the project this time last fall and got some skinny actors to hide behind the dogs as they order lunch, eat lunch (funny), and drive the maintenance truck around the premises. It was pretty hysterical, odd, and a great addition to the dog park.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Check out our SWEET logo designed by the talented Emily Ellis Welch of Shreveport. She is also working on the fundraiser t-shirt design, and I can hardly wait to see that!
Kathryn Bloomfield and I have been working on a power point presentation on the benefits of a dog park in Shreveport. We decided it is now complete. It is the intention of the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance to meet with Da Mayor and get him in our pocket. We have called the Mayor's office and left a message...
If you would like to view the presentation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it on to you.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tim Wachtel of SPAR sent me a LINK to the American Society of Landscape Architects with an inspiring article about how some school kids in Idaho and Montana designed dog parks!
It took the fourth and fifth grade students 10 weeks in the classroom to complete the project which culminated in presentations to the school board and city council.
"The dog park project served many educational goals, including introducing students to the landscape architecture profession. Students also worked on their math skills with budgeting and mapping, research skills (including on-site research), science and thinking skills with planning, and communication skills with writing, drawing, and public speaking. The students worked both in small groups and as a whole throughout the dog park project. Some of their assignments included designing signage, defining problems and program elements, and drafting site plans using online 3-D mapping tools."
Since most kids have a natural affinity for dogs, the kids' were enthusiastic about their project.
Maybe we can get our students to do the same, particularly with the budget. I still hate math.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
As part of the Imagine Your Parks program, Baton Rouge constructed a ground-breaking facility located at Forest Park, near the corner of Harrell's Ferry Road and Millerville Road.
The park features areas for both small dogs and large dogs set apart by chain-link fences. Park benches are set in tree -shaded areas so dog owners can sit, drink a cold one in a white styrofoam cup, and watch as their animals run unleashed.
Water fountains for both dogs and owners are located near the entrance of the park on a concrete slab to prevent mud puddles from forming.
BREC planners and landscape designers said they are working on a variety of layouts for future dog parks that include ponds and walking tracks.
Dog parks were identified as one of the improvements East Baton Rouge Parish residents wanted as part of the Imagine Your Parks campaign conducted by BREC from June 2003 through June 2004. Citizens said they wanted areas where they could bring their dogs to run without a leash and have the opportunities for their animals to interact with other dogs while they meet fellow dog owners.
The parks have been widely successful in many other communities across the country because they give owners who are forced to keep their pets in small yards or indoors a place to let their dogs run free and exercise. It also gives those who enjoy spending time with dogs a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
The Forest Park Dog Park is the first of many dog parks to be built at the community level parks BREC is currently renovating.
Park hours are from sunrise to sunset seven days a week. Owners are asked to keep dogs leashed until inside the fenced-in areas and asked not to bring food or rawhide chew toys that may encourage fighting among animals.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
This 6-acre native grass dog park is Lafayette's first dog park (but why is that little kid there? Scram kidd-o! Seriously, my dog can take you down with his enthusiastic momentum. He is not aggressive, just PLAYFUL). Check out the minutes from the city council meeting before the dog park was approved. This is interesting info, and the process to make Shreveport's dog park a reality could mimic the process in Lafayette.
City of Lafayette
Dog Park Task Force
July 27, 2006
Call to Order
Items from the Public
There were no items from the public.
The May 4, 2005 minutes were approved as written.
Members reviewed two site plan options and preferred Plan A. They agreed that the area for small or timid dogs could be made larger. It was noted that there will not be any water in the dog park now or in the immediate future. The plan is approximately six acres. It is in a temporary location because if the Great Park is built later, the dog park will be moved to the west. There was discussion about how to do native grass restoration with Plan A. It was suggested that portable fencing could be used to close areas for seeding. The group liked the idea of shade structures with seating rather than trees and it was suggested that two more shelters with seating be added if there is enough funding, for a total of five. It was also suggested that bag dispensers be added to the enclosed area. Staff added that trash receptacles need to be outside of the enclosed area so that they can be safely maintained. The group agreed on a 4-foot tall fence like in the new Louisville dog park (three flat rails with round posts and welded wire) with the rail closest to the ground 2-6” from the ground to prevent rotting. There will be wire under the lowest rail to prevent dogs from escaping. The posts would not be placed in concrete so that the fence could be salvaged later if the dog park is moved. It was noted that the rest of the Great Park site is currently under an agricultural lease and that at this time there would not be a trail connection to the west for people to come from Rothman Open Space to the dog park. The parking area could be spread with 6” of recycled concrete, which would provide for better accessibility. The portable toilet could be a composting toilet. It was suggested that the crusher fines used for the trail be in the small entryway fenced enclosure as well to cut down on mud. Having a recycling toter was suggested. It was determined that staff will monitor the trash and see if a recycling toter is needed. Recycling service would be paid from the General Fund and that budget is very tight.
The area of the Great Park where the dog park will be has to be annexed into the City of Lafayette. Monte Stevenson is working with the Planning Director on this. There is a neighborhood meeting on the annexation scheduled for August 1, 2006 at 5:30 pm at the Lafayette Public Library. The next time the Dog Park Task Force comes together may be the groundbreaking for the dog park. The City would plan a grand opening event as well.
The current budget for the dog park is $127,000, down from the $200,000 approved in the 2006 budget because of lower than projected revenues citywide. Kerry Bensman suggested there may be additional funding available for the dog park if needed.
The group discussed the proposed list of rules for the dog park and offered the following suggestions:
• Dogs must have a current license to enter the dog park; identification tag is not needed; they will also need a current rabies tag; move this rule up to be the first one.
• Owners/handlers must be at least 18 years old; owners/handlers are limited to three dogs per visit; no age limit on children, but owner/handler is responsible for them.
• Dogs must be spayed or neutered.
• Added language to clarify use of the gates.
• Dog bites must be reported to the Police Department.
Kerry Bensman asked Monte Stevenson to have the City Attorney and CIRSA (the City’s insurance carrier) review the proposed rules before they are finalized. He would like the City Attorney to make sure the rules are in line with Lafayette’s new ordinance on dogs.
Staff handed out results of a website poll on name suggestions. The group recommends naming the dog park “The Great Bark,” which was the top vote getter on the poll with “Dog Town” and “Bark Park” close behind. A suggested promotional tag line was “Lafayette has gone to the dogs.”
• Members commented that at some point they would like to discuss how volunteers could be organized to help keep the dog park clean.
• Monte Stevenson confirmed with the group that they would like natural amenities in the park such as logs and large boulders.
The meeting adjourned at 7:25 pm.
What a charming flooded plantation. This park really is a marvel. Swampy. And noone was there! Well, we saw a couple walk toward us and we were nervous one of the dirty green-gooped dogs would jump up on the woman wearing all white. But they passed us without incident. The dogs did manage to eat rotting fish carcasses the whole time. At the end of our hike (it was HOT), Reddy barfed up the most disgusting pile I have ever seen!
Bickham-Dixon would also make a great dog park.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Shreveport fire Captain Kerry Foster poses outside the city's Central Station with Ranger, his search-and-rescue dog.
Ranger, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever, recently won an American Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence. Ranger's prize is $1,000 and an engraved sterling-silver collar medallion that will be handed out at a December ceremony in Long Beach, Calif. (photo by Adam Kealoha Causey/The Times)
Isnt he cute?
Mentioned today in the Shreveport Times, "Ranger's owner estimates the four-legged seeker covered 50-miles of city streets and climbed into some 2,800 homes during their four months there. Ranger helped find 15 bodies more than half a year after the storm." He was there for after both Katrina and Rita and also helped in the search for a couple of missing local women.
"Only five awards are given annually and we are thrilled a local dog has won," said Jan Stephenson, spokeswoman for the Shreveport Kennel Club.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Veteran's Park is a dog park waiting patiently to happen. Let's give this urban green space the respect it deserves! It is heart-breaking, and almost criminal, to see such beautiful land go unused. SOME people are using it, but they leave behind trash and smells of urine and other mysterious odors.
There is an old light tower, with the bulbs missing and the wires cut and exposed. There are the remains of multiple terraces, a pier (that would make a good dog launch, said Will), a good-sized pond, a look-out tower that rots on top of the cliff that overlooks Clyde Fant Parkway. Numerous trails wind up and around the pond. There is a gate that separates the park from the Veterans' hospital parking lot. There is a closed gate in front of the road from Clyde Fant that leads up to an abandoned parking lot waiting for cars to stop and let the dogs out.
Veterans' has so much potential. And it can be made safe with some clearing and better access. Throw in the dogs. Hokus-pokus. Wah-la.
Friday, September 7, 2007
From the Inbox:
Many thanks to all of you, because of this network a foster parent has
emerged. I am going to make arrangements to pick him up from East Baton
Rouge animal control today. He still needs a permanent home, however,
so if anyone is interested, please let me know.
Again, many thanks, I truly hated to drop him off at the pound, he is
going to make someone a very sweet pet.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
This guy is special, LOOK AT HIM! The pup looks like a love---a border collie/spaniel cross perhaps?
I dont think I can post every rescue dog that makes his/her way into the mailbox BUT...here is an email, please fwd this info on...:
This little (35-40 lbs, my guess) male dog was tied to an old truck
and neglected. The owners made it clear they had no use for him and
allowed me to take him. He is very affectionate, and I think would make
a very sweet pet. He was scared when this picture was taken at the
I had to take him to Animal Control as I had no where to keep him.
The pound tries to keep adoptable dogs, but I was informed there is
currently no room, so he has until September 12th to find a home or be
I would be glad to pay the springing (adoption) fee and help with
shots, etc. If you know anyone who might even be willing to serve as a
foster parent (I'll be glad to provide food too), please let me know.
If someone wants to call me, my cell is (504) 289-9006, and my e-mail
Have you seen those Ray Nagin keychains from New Orleans? They're blue, have six white buttons, and on the front it says "Da Mayor in your pocket." If you push one of the buttons, Nagin says "YOU GOTTA BE KIDDIN' ME!"
I called SHARON at the city office today and she was really helpful. She said that we needed to get the mayor in our pocket. She suggested WE (a diverse group of us-young, old, black, white, boy, girl, 71104, 71101, 71105, 71111, 71111, pure breds and mutts, etc) get together and have one mighty presentation for the mayor. We should "sell" the dog park. Explain How and Who this park will benefit. We should have visual tools, such as photos and video footage of other parks across the country, testimonials, and a sample plan of what we envision the first one in Shreveport. Have the answers ready for the negative questions with terms that may include "Vicious Dogs" and "Liability." And we should know that "things don't happen overnight," and that it could take a year or more to get our dog park happenin'.
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDIN' ME!
So, WHO IS COMING TO THE PRESENTATION?
LET'S FIX THE BIGGEST GODDAM CRISIS IN THE HISTORY OF THIS... COUNTRY
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Kathryn Bloomfield of Shreveport takes her dogs out for some play.
Socializing your dog should be a life long process. You want your dog to be exposed to as many people, pets and situations as possible so he learns how to behave and react to different things. Take him to new places every few days or so and introduce him to family and friends.
Introducing To Other Pets
If your dog has been socialized growing up, he shouldn't have problems meeting other dogs. But you still want to take it slow and see how things go before letting him loose. The best way to start is by introducing your dog to other dogs that you know are friendly and socialized. When introducing your dog to new dog friends, keep him on his leash so he can sniff the other dog, and you can reel him in if you need to. Try to keep the leash slack; if you pull too hard, you can trigger his "fight or flight" instinct. Always introduce dogs on neutral turf, so neither of them feels threatened.
How You Can Help
Dogs pick up on our attitudes and feelings. If you feel stressed, your dog will notice and react to it. If you sense a potential problem, try not to tense up or give your dog reason to panic.
Another tip is to divert his attention. Many dogs are hams and love to please their families, so ask your dog to sit, or give you his paw, or some other easy trick he has mastered. Give him lost of praise and attention (and treats if you have some!).
Set Your Dog Up For Success
If you don't know how well your dog has been socialized, always go slow and set your dog up for success. For example, don't take your dog to a park with lots of pets and people if you don't know how he will react. Start slowly, with one or two other people and one or two other dogs, for just a few minutes. Don't take your dog for a car ride only when going to the vet or dropping him off at a boarding facility. He will soon learn that car trips aren't always pleasant. Take him for a ride to get gas in your car, for example, or the drive through ATM. Your dog gets to stay with you and you don't have to worry about leaving him alone in the car.
Whether you take your dog to the park or for a walk around the neighborhood exercise keeps your dog's mind and body healthy. He can meet other people and dogs and burn off some energy. Less pent up energy means less distraction from you and overall, better behavior.
From Pets 911
I asked Tim Wachtel at SPAR for his opinion on how to make this dog park a REALITY. He wrote:
"I would suggest that you take the support that you have and ask for a dog park, somewhere in Shreveport. Perhaps suggest a site, but let the decision-makers have a say in that. I think that you really need to educate some folks about what a dog park is and who it is for. Maybe I'm wrong, but as I understand it, dog parks are for dogs like baseball parks are for baseballs. It's really about the people who care about their dogs. It's as much about getting outdoors and socializing as it is about dogs."
The educational campaign is under way. You, the reader, are talking with your friends about dog parks and its community benefits. Please continue to pass along the petition. Almost 50 more, and we have a thousand signatures! There are many model dog parks across the country that provide educational tools for those who may not know what a dog park truly is. Please visit these websites.
A Shreveport dog park supporter has SUGGESTED Stoner as the first offical off-leash destination.
Dog Park Destination Suggestions
1. Veterans' Memorial
2. Hamel's Memorial
Friday, August 31, 2007
A last minute invite to a wedding in Mississippi over the weekend has me scrambling for Reddy.
Miranda Murdock is My Pet's Buddy. She is wonderful and Reddy loves her. When I am working loooong hours, Miranda comes in the middle of the day to let him out to pee, give him some TLC, and a nice walk in the neighborhood. She leaves me notes about Reddy's disposition or what they do and see on their walks, like the time Reddy was spooked by the white statue of the Virgin Mary praying on a neighbor's front porch.
Since I am in between projects, I am on a tight budget and was looking for someone cheaper, like for FREE, like a friend who could stop by. But, I have a hard time asking people of this. Reddy is needy.
Someone told me about zookeepers, and I love their website and esp. their prices. $10 a night is great, plus they take him out several times. So I called them this morning, and of course they are booked. Hello Major Holiday! Hello Miss Procrastinator, nice to see you again.
Miranda comes to my rescue once again. I will be able to relax and have a great time knowing that Reddy is at home and being checked on.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Hannah and her loco puppies Duece and Maxine, along with Reddy and I, walked from the disc golf trail head and then up a trail that took us to the pond. It was quiet, shady, and Hannah said she smelled urine and that it was a good place for a murder. Indeed, but what if it was all cleared and dogs and their owners took over?
Veterans' will be quite a handful in our efforts in making it Shreveport's first dog park. There needs to be a massive clearing in this kudzu forest. And the road from Clyde Fant re-opened and paved.
I was a bit disoriented because what I had pictured in my head from the research conducted on google earth was quite different in reality. Where is the old amphitheatre? Where were all those trails that seemed to wind around the little lake? Big piles of pebbles fill the deteriorating parking lot close to where we were thinking about putting the fence. We saw the old pier. Can you see it in the photo?
This property is massive and requires a second scout. The research continues...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The fenced-in, leash-free portion is funded by the Canine Social Club, a group of volunteers who raised over $10,000 after a campaign that included stories in the paper, door tags, rummage sales, and a block party. When the referendum was held, the votes flooded in.
"The city said they had more people send in their votes than in any other referendum they had seen before," said Marjorie Moore, Founding Member of the Canine Social Club.
The Canine Social Club is a group of volunteers that don't mind a little sweat, dirt under the nails, and the smell of dried dog dung.
Perhaps Barkus and Meaux or Shreveport Green will act as our fidiciary agent so we can start our fundraising soon, and get to clearing trails during the cooler months of October!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I can't even make fun of this because I am a dog blog! In a special report from ABC news, dogs and cats now have their own Facebook, entitled Dogbook and Catbook, respectively.
My friend somehow convinced Reddy to join Dogster a couple of week's ago, but like Reddy's owner and her lapsed account with Friendster, the site is rarely re-visited. Quite frankly, it's confusing. And time-consuming, This blog is my current preoccupation.
Anyone reading this, besides mom? Hey mom!
My friend somehow convinced Reddy to join Dogster a couple of week's ago, but like Reddy's owner and her lapsed account with Friendster, the site is rarely re-visited. Quite frankly, it's confusing. And time-consuming, This blog is my current preoccupation.
Anyone reading this, besides mom? Hey mom!
This is a shower made of pvc pipe, according to Stuart Strong, Assistant Director of Austin Parks and Rec Dept. He said that a plumber could easily rig this up so the cost shouldnt be too outrageous. We can customize it to be a bit lower for the pooch, as they have done in other parks across the country.
Here, we have three examples of puppy fountains: one we can order online, the other a little tweaked with stone and cement, and the third not really intended for dogs.
The blue one online costs around $2,000. You push one button, and water spits for human up top, and puppy below. The dog's water stays in the bowl for a bit before going down the drain.
The cement one I have no idea, and may be unnecessary in our case but I thought you may appreciate its beauty.
Reddy prefers the third fountain that has been there for as long as I can remember.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Booty, Reddy's old Austin buddy, makes his screen debut in Li'l Cap'n Travis' new release "Get Wise to Yourself." He does such a fine job, we are all so proud of him!
And to know that Booty is almost 17 years-young, we can only say "Bow-wow. WOW!"
Encore, Booty! Encore.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Yesterday afternoon I met with Tim Wachtel, the landscape architect at SPAR. He showed me numerous "concept" plans that have been made for recreation along the red river trail, including "Hamel's Park Beach," and C. Bickham Dickson Park (that includes a dog "training" area). Wow, talk about a WISH LIST. In your dreams, we have a swimming pool, piers, restrooms, concession stands, walk-ways, mowed open space, groomed beach, acres of bike riding and off-road vehichles, the whole kit-n-kaboodle (but nothing for the poodle).
I was interested in determining how much feet of fence we would need in order to surround the proposed dog park area at Hamel's. On his AutoCad, he showed me that the 1.7 acre site would roughly be about 187' X 376' worth of fence. According to some calculations and internet research, cost for this fence would be around $14,000. More or less, I like to generally say. This area is just north of the parking lot, there is a short loop trail for walking the dogs, and just below the steep hill that is what some people believe to be an earthen fort.
We would also need to get a water line out there, requiring digging across or along the parkway.
THEN he showed me an overhead, google earth image of Veterans' Park and called this his "Crazy idea." He said the magic words.
NOW THIS SPOT IS AMAZING: Big, open, spacious, trees, lake, trail, parking, close to the river trail, and plenty of drug dealers- the perfect requirements for a dog park.
With this site, the plan would call for some trail clearing, and tree-clearing for another entrance/exit at the Veterans' hospital.
I am headed out of town for a long weekend, but when I return Kathryn/ and I are going to the park to take pictures and report back to you. In the meantime, maybe you and your dog and friends will want to go check it out this weekend.
After the meeting with Wachtel, I met Kathryn at J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Visitors Center to watch a Army Corps of Engineers film about the history of the mighty Red River.
I would have to be some sort of idiot to keep pushing for a fence along the beach at Hamel's. The way the river moves, and has changed course throughout the years, and the sandy soil along the banks may lead to maintenance problems with a fence/gate. The original dog park thought was a fence-less, leash-free dog park. However, a number of people who support the dog park idea are pushing for a fence. So, maybe Hamel Memorial Dog Park could be the 2nd or 3rd dog park in Shreveport. But we need to get the first one right.
What do YOU think? You have an idea for a location for a dog park, besides the moon?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Attended the city council's work session yesterday afternoon. I was late (DOWNTOWN CAN BE CONFUSING), so I didn't have an opportunity to sign in to speak which turned out to be okay because afterwards I got some one-on-one and it was suggested I go BACK to SPAR.
Which makes sense. And it was also kindly suggested that I use the word WE more. Like "WE have over 800 signatures to support OUR dog park, please advise US on OUR next step."
So we have a meeting set up for today with Tim Wachtel, planner, and possibly Shelly Ragle, director.
Also have a t-shirt meeting at 2 at J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center on the Riverfront. Come join us if you are interested.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Two Ducks by Walter Inglis Anderson
On Saturday at PetSmart while I was collecting signatures and yapping at all who were polite enough to listen, I shared a table with Dixieland Dog Rescue. There were about a dozen mutts waiting to be adopted. They even had more back at the shelter in Grand Cane. Dogs on leashes passing by the crated dogs elicited great excrement! Dixieland accepted many rescuee applications. After careful review over the weekend and the reality of MONDAY kicks in, Dixieland will check to see if the applicant s are still gung-ho about the responsibilities of pet ownership and then proceed with the adoption process.
This is a good rule. I was one of those silly girls in college that fell for the cute puppy riddled with ticks in the cardboard box placed strategically in front of the student union. I named mine after my favorite literary character and four months later Atticus! ended up on a “farm” with the man who washes my mother’s store’s windows. He re-named the part coon “Sea Biscuit,” he told me, because the dog liked to run and run and run around in circles. I think the guy figured “Atticus!” just egged the dog on, and was a silly name to be shouting out over and over again.
When I got Reddy, his name was actually “David” and that still makes me laugh. I had to wait out the weekend as well so the shelter could determine if I was mentally stable (I’m not the one who named him “David”). He had been at the no-kill shelter for six months! He was a member of the Lonely Hearts Club which meant he was among the shelter’s longest residents. So for some reason I passed their test because they sold “David” to me at the discounted price of a cat, and then we rode off together into the sunset. This time I named my dog after an odd duck Mississippi Gulf Coast artist Walter Anderson wrote about in his Horn Island logs. Reddy is also a cold bag of ice. Reddy is always ready to go, and is an easy name to call over and over again. And maybe confusing to other dogs at the dog park.
Which brings me back to the dog park. Ready?
I just wasn’t excited about a chain-link fence but a chain-link fence seems the most practical at this point in the research. Dixieland pointed out that the fence can be colored green or black. Now we are talking. Come to find out the fence also comes in the sophisticated colour of olive green.
And then there is the co$t. And of course it’s not cheap. It really needs to be 6 feet high, so now the question is length.
The next step is to find out how much feet we deem dog park boundary. I believe we can ask the city for the fence. To build a model dog park, the city should be behind it so that they can take the credit for it when it actually becomes a TOURIST ATTRACTION and is written up in Animal Planet and Lonely Planet and DoggyStyle. Amenities would follow from the fundraising efforts of the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance .- Yeah, that’s YOU. And then there will be cool things such as trees for shade, marigolds planted along the fence to ward off fleas and ticks (another one of Dixieland’s bright ideas), water fountains + doggy shower (COIN-OP-is there such a thing?), a bench made by a local artist, bulletin board, and of course the poopy pick-up mittens and dispenser, AND trash receptacles. AND…
Our local dog organizations can unite and help us; Caddo Caring Canines, Barkus and Meaux, Red River Obedience, Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Saturday I will be collecting "hard" signatures at PetSmart on Youree drive from 10am-2pm. Come and say hello.
Bark in the Park at 7:05pm
Barkus Coronation at the Mardi Gras Musuem (on Texas Street in Bossier) from 2pm til 5 pm. The tableau starts at 3pm. The band will be Professor Porkchop , and Shavers will be catering the event. YUM.
The cost is 35.00 and there will be a silent auction. All money raised helps to benefit animals in our area.
I wish I had t-shirts to sell here but maybe next time.
And then there is the Town Countil meeting...GULP. Never done this before. But I doubt I will be able to do it in Sept. due to INSANE work hours. So, NOW is the time. DO or DIE. Boy did I open up a can of worms.
I am so in love with this application.
This is the area.
I am not an architect or engineer. I do not know how much acreage this is, but a NICE fence is all we need to begin with.
Well, FIRST we need the LEASH-FREE ordinance passed.
THEN donations to cover the fence. A great suggestion from a reader is to hold a fundraiser where we sell posts and/or sections of the fence to individual/businesses so we literally are surrounded by support.
And the trash cans from the city, and the poop bags and dispensers from a sponsor.
Then we add the amenities, such as water and a bulletin board.
I am pretty sure this area has good drainage. I am waiting for a phone call to be returned from the Parks department...
Thursday, August 9, 2007
The mission for Shreveport's dog park is in today's
Times (that's my "stand-in" featured in the photo, along with Reddy's doggie double, really).
Wow, some of those comments are "interesting" and someone didn't use their spell check. WHETHER you like it or not, dog owners and their dogs are not just fair WEATHER fans of their parks. They are year-round, all-weather users. Unless it is closed due to flooding. And it floods only occasionally, right?
The one thing the article didn't mention that I was trying to get across is the strong community a dog park can build. And this community is represented across the bored (just kidding, board), including retirees, students, single folks, marrieds-with-kids, etc.
And if the city's park department can budget $250,000 for a STONER SKATEBOARD PARK (which I am not mocking I think its really great if you know how to skate), I think we can find a bit of money for a dog park that can service a broader range of citizens and tourists, alike.
As for liability issues, you post a sign similar to a SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK or SKATE AT YOUR OWN RISK. With an "official" off-leash area, there is a different set of rules. Children are not allowed in the park without adult supervision, and the dog owner visiting the dog park is a RESPONSIBLE pet owner subject to fine$ if his/her pet is out of control.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I have received several great emails from dog owners/lovers over the past week in response to the blog and petition (450 signatures and counting...).
I know nothing about dog agility training, but you DO learn something new every day. Take this email from Shreveporter Kathryn S. Bloomfield:
"I am a huge advocate of having dogs participate in dog agility--I admire those who compete, but I am even more impressed with the sport for fun. It'll bring a shy dog out of its shell, give an OCD dog something to focus on, burn productively all that energy that builds up from all day naps, help to socialize dogs to other dogs and to people, and forge a bond between owner and pet that is unbreakable.
I am not a trainer, but for years, participated in agility with two mutts, both rescues, and both with "issues." Agility was perfect for their very different personalities and just an absolute hoot. One of my rescues had little to no obedience on her and we got it all through agility. There are locals who do compete and whom we could contact to ask for help. I have a friend on the west coast whose more than willling to come visit to help with classes at the beginning. Ray, the adoption coordinator at the shelter, would really appreciate having the opportunity to help the shelter dogs. And, there is a local television reporter who is very interested in doing a story on agility for shelter dogs, if we can ever get it off of the ground. A safe fenced in space is a first step . . ."
It would be interesting to see how my mutt would respond to something like this. He would probably LAUGH at me upon my suggestion, but perhaps not.