A dog park is on the minds of enthusiastic Arlington Heights dog owners and the Arlington Heights Park District has taken notice. A mere few weeks ago the idea of adding a dog park to the community was a side note on board meeting agendas.
A spike in interest from some Arlington Heights residents spurred a special meeting between the Arlington Heights Park District Board and interested parties on Wednesday evening.
The meeting, held at Pioneer Park, gave the board a chance to hear what residents are looking for in a dog park.
“Our thought process is having a small park to start with. Even if its just a couple of benches and trees and a fenced in area that is divided into a small side and a large dog side,” says Lisa Senase, owner of Bentley’s Corner Barkery, and who, along with co-owner and husband Giovanni have spear-headed the dog park movement.
Dogs do not have access to any of the parks in Arlington Heights. This circumstance prompted the Corner Barkery’s decision to push the dog park proposal to the forefront.
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“We came up with the idea when we opened the store and heard so many dog owners talking about how none of the parks in Arlington Heights even allow dog walking,” Senase says.
Dog parks can bring numerous advantages to a community. Of course, beloved dogs benefit from the socialization and exercise they get while roaming on leash or off in their own special environment.
Dogs are social creatures by nature and giving them the opportunity to interact with other dogs not only increases their quality of life but also teaches them the social skills necessary to relate to and be less aggressive towards other dogs and people while out and about.
Owners too can benefit from spending time in the dog park. People tend to congregate at dog parks and they bring their children with them as well.
“It does become a family thing,” says Senase.
Dog parks have the potential to be self-sufficient, in that the yearly fee members may pay goes towards upkeep of the park. Membership fees are relatively low cost, ranging from $40-70 per year.
Dogs must show proof of up to date vaccines, rabies in particular, before entering the park and owners typically sign a form stating that their dog is not aggressive towards other dogs.
Dog parks are not places for people to take aggressive dogs to learn to socialize. Rather they are gathering places for people and animals to mingle and enjoy a beautiful day.
“We’re just a small part of the community but we want to make a big impact and try to get a dog park out there because it draws in a sense of community. It’s not just for the dogs,” says Senase.
Park District staff will research the costs and approvals involved with the three locations and present their findings at the July 24 board meeting.