Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dog Days

As I mentioned back in the Spring, I promised my kids that if I won the primary election, we could get a dog. And, true to my word, I did let them get one (we already have a couple of cats and a chinchilla). Perhaps I should have put some restrictions around the kind of dog they could get, but it didn't cross my mind. I reasoned that with approximately 150 breeds out there, surely the odds were good that they'd pick something I could live with, and we'd discussed breeds often enough over the years that I thought I had a good idea what types of dogs appealed to them. There were really only two breeds I wasn't interested in...Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.

Well, sure enough, one day they came home with a purebred Rottweiler puppy. And, I have to say, even though there have been some bumps in the road (she has a tendency to chew on things, for example), she's really growing on me.

In fact, I credit Keira (Gaelic for 'little dark one') with making me stop and smell the roses a little bit. I've been more diligent about making time for walks or jogs in the park (at this point, with Keira at about 50 lbs and growing rapidly, I'm not sure who's walking who, but I digress). She loves to run, and can keep up with me when I jog.  

One thing owners of dogs such as Rottweilers are told is to socialize them often and early with other dogs. I recalled hearing that neighboring Upper Providence Township had recently opened a 4-acre dog park off of Longford Road (a left turn off Egypt Road), something a few other surrounding townships have and which are growing in popularity. I'd driven by it a couple of times, so, one day that Keira was bouncing off the walls with energy to burn, I decided to take her there and check it out.

We've been there a few times since then, and I have to say I'm really impressed with Upper Providence's execution of the idea. While they had a few hiccups early on ---some residents weren't diligent about picking up after their pets; the park was closed temporarily for sanitary reasons, but residents now understand they will lose this park if they don't comply -- it's been clear sailing ever since. And, the park connects directly to the county trail system, so you can walk your dog on the trail if you want.

If you haven't been, it's immensely popular. There are two large fenced-in areas for larger dogs, and two smaller fenced-in areas for smaller dogs. There are plenty of stations and supplies for disposing of dog waste. At any given time dogs are coming and going with their owners. The last time I was there, there were 13 dogs in the large dog pen. Owners obviously must remain with their pets.

I love going there. It's like the new water cooler. How often do we go about our business without seeing or having time to chat with our neighbors? In this environment, everybody's happy and anxious to talk about anything, especially their dogs, but politics and current events has come up too. I've even run into folks from Lower Providence there. The dogs are so happy to hang out with their furry friends and are well behaved. It's so neat to see them run together and play and chase balls and frisbees. And, the best thing is, when Keira comes home, she's exhausted and sleeps for a good while.

The Upper Providence park was able to come into being because a former Montgomery County attorney had a provision in his will leaving $100,000 to Upper Providence Township for creation of the park...and the park had to be created within six months or they'd lose the money.

From the first township budget meeting I attended last week, I realize that 2012 is going to be extremely challenged financially, and there simply is no money for open space anytime in the near future (and we have no similar benefactors to provide funding). Perhaps we can do what Conshohocken is in the process of doing, funding theirs with entirely private, non-taxpayer funds.  However, whenever we possibly can, one thing I think our community in Lower Providence could really benefit from - and that we don't currently have - is a similar spot for our residents with dogs to visit.


GKS said...

Janice, you should f/u with Lower Providence Park & Rec board. I know at one point, there was talk with the credit union across the street from Superior Tube donating land, or even Superior Tube donating land for a dog park in LP. Not sure whatever came of it, but it would be nice to have one!

Anonymous said...

A dog park in LP is a very good idea. What about the St. Gabriel's field area for a location? It is near park trails. Last I heard we were all supposed to be enjoying recreational activities (like cricket matches) there? Seems like a good idea to find a use for this area by turning some of it into a much needed dog park!

Anonymous said...

I do believe that there is already a dog park area (while it may not be closed off like the one in Upper Providence, but its close) in Eskie park, and also near the township building. Were these closed or not?

Janice Kearney said...

We do not have any parks specifically for use by dogs. People walk their dogs in most if not all of our existing parks, and most of them are equipped with "Mutt Mitt" dispensers, but you must keep your dog on-leash. Dog parks are areas specifically for use by dogs and are fenced off so dogs can be off-leash.