Friday, September 21, 2007

Wegman's wigged out weimers

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

Shreveport Dog Park Alliance

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 and I will forward it on to you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dog parks create educational opportunities

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

Baton Rouge Dog Park

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

Lafayette Dog Park

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.

Site Plan
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.

Proposed Rules
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.

Proposed Name
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

Look-Out over Clyde Fant PKWY

Cliff at Veterans' Memorial Park

Local Canine Awarded

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

Return to Veterans'

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

Chicago coolness

Chicago has 12 dog parks, or what the park department calls DFA's (Dog Friendly Areas). They also have an extensive permit system that seems a little too high maintenance for Shreveport. Nonetheless, it works! Check it out.

Saved by the web

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.

Karen Gautreaux

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 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
put down.

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

Da Mayor in your pocket

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'.




Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dog Park 101

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

Stoner Dog Park?

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
3. Stoner

Where else?