Friday, August 31, 2007

My Pet's Buddy

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

Vet Scout

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

Neighborhood dog park

WAP 4.jpg
WAP 4.jpg,
originally uploaded by jujuhoffpauir.
West Austin Park is a small neighborhood park, similar to Columbia Park here in Shreveport. It use to experience modest use (even with its small pool and new swing set), but once the dog park moved on in it became THE Happy Hour destination.

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

Weekend warriors

Daisy is Ashley's biggest wakeboard fan, and was pretty upset after the BIG FACE-PLANT!

Where did you take your dog over the weekend? Send us a photo.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

REPORT FROM AUSTIN: pedestrian bridge

Getting ahead of ourselves, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it

Hippie Keep Austin Weird bridge art

Dogbook, Dogblog, Dogpark, etc.

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!


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


Are you ready to put your beer down, get off the couch, roll up your sleeves, and start clearing some trails?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Booty stars as Li'l Cap'n Travis

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

Wachtel's crazy idea

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

City council work session

originally uploaded by jujuhoffpauir.

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


originally uploaded by jujuhoffpauir.

"To save a life is to save the world"
PO Box 36
Grand Cane, LA


originally uploaded by jujuhoffpauir.


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?

The fence:

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


Weekend itinerary:

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.

Google Earth, will you marry me?

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

Read all about it

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

From the suggestion box

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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Did someone say "Bark in the park"?

This sounds like a lot of fun – Bark in the Park. You can take your dogs to the baseball game on Saturday, with leash and poopy mitts (a recycled plastic bag from Brookshires will complete the job, too).

The first annual “Bark in the Park,” will be held for the 7:05 p.m. game at Fair Grounds Field between Shreveport Sports and the Coastal Bend Aviators. Half the ticket sales by owners that bring their canine friends will be shared with the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana (HSNWLA).

Too bad I will be in Austin this weekend. Too, too bad. Will someone email me pictures of this event so I can put it up on the blog?

Milking it

According to Milton Hamel, the son of Charles and Marie Hamel, the property used to be a dairy farm in the 1950s. Charles Hamel was born and raised in Shreveport, and for years fought for lower milk prices.

He was an animal lover, too. He built a zoo, and it was open and free to the public.

When Clyde Fant Parkway was built, Milton and his two sisters donated the riverfront property to the city in memory of their generous parents.

As of 2:15p.m., the dog park petition has 323 signatures! And I am not counting the one from Milwakee, even though that was kind of her. Please keep it going. The Times asked today how many signatures we are seeking. As many as possible. The more signatures, I think the stronger the case. I don't know as many people in this town as you do, so please milk it. Harrass your dog-lovin' peeps.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Poo Biz

Once I became a dog owner and started using the dog park, I began a great habit – picking up after my dog. It is just the right thing to do. Granted, there are days when the runnies are a challenge to pick up after Reddy ("What in the world did you get into my friend?!") and I pray the home owner isnt watching me from their window smearing orange s__t across their lawn. Sometimes its hard to get up, but at least the effort is there. With my plastic bag waiting in hand as Reddy squats shyly and it takes him FOREVER to get it out ("COMMIT!" I sometimes yell in frustration) I probably look uncool to that person driving by, but what are you looking at? Keep your eyes on the road, we're doing business here.

There is no way around this one, dog doo is an environmental hazard!

The article from USA Today states "from mutt to blue-blooded champion, all dogs harbor so-called coliform bacteria, which live in the gut. The group includes E. coli, a bacterium that can cause disease, and fecal coliform bacteria, which spread through feces. Dogs also carry salmonella and giardia. Environmental officials use measurements of some of these bacteria as barometers of how much fecal matter has contaminated a body of water.

This wouldn't matter if pet dogs were as rare as pet chinchillas. But four in 10 U.S. households include at least one dog, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. The association's statistics also show that Americans owned 54.6 million dogs in 1996 and 68 million dogs in 2000. Of that total, 45% were "large" dogs — 40 pounds or more."

EW! So at our dog park, there will be mutt mitts to encourage pooper scoopers.

The costs of Mutt Mitts and their dispensers are afforable: For a complete set that includes a generic sign, aluminum dispenser, post, 800 mutt mitts, mounting hardware, made-in-the-USA, the cost is ONLY $174.75. And refills for 800 are $65.

These mitts can only encourage good habits from dog owners, and help keep Shreveport clean!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tails of Nashville dog parks

Downtown Shreveport
Downtown Shreveport,
originally uploaded by jujuhoffpauir.
Nashville residents are crazy about their dogs, too! No one could have anticipated the enormous popularity of the city’s dog
parks. The city now has three official dog parks. Check out Nashville's dog park brochure.

I don't know if I agree about their exclusion of pit bull breeds from the dog park. That seems kind of mean. But perhaps the pit bull breeds have a more difficult time playing with the packs at the dog park.

Rules to consider...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Goodbye Hamel

Exit sign at Hamel onto Clyde Fant Parkway

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hello Hamel

Hamel trail
Hamel trail,
originally uploaded by jujuhoffpauir.
"Sorry folks, park's closed"

Hamel is flooded. This is what the park officials were telling me about last fall when I first approached them about the dog park idea here.

Every so often it floods.

The wide beach is submerged under the red river, and pockets of low -lying areas are puddles. The metal gate was down, so I couldnt drive through the parking lot to get a better view. I guess I could have walked, but I was kind of in a hurry at the time. But this is what it looks like today. There were a couple of fisherman, but I cant' see them in this photo.

But looking at this picture, you can see that this is OKAY with the dog park if it floods because we wouldnt want to build anything on the beach anyway. Just a water station right by the parking lots. This means a couple of water fountains made for man and his dog (I'll get a picture of it next week while I am in Austin at the dog park conference) and an open shower (not conducive for private couple showers). I'll grab a photo of that, too. The shower, not the couples.

So, you have this open arena and then trails that wind through those trees in the top of the photo. Trash cans, a bulletin board ("Free to a good home..."), and a sign declaring YOU ARE ENTERING A LEASH-FREE ZONE. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. KEEP YOUR DOG UNDER CONTROL OR YOU WILL PAY A PENALTY, PICK UP THE POOP OR YOU WILL DRINK IT FOR BREAKFAST, NARC BY CALLING 911, etc...

It's lovely, isn't it?