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Group makes case to bring dog park to Medford area

Group makes case to bring dog park to Medford area Group makes case to bring dog park to Medford area

Going off-leash

Pet ownership is one of the great joys of life, and the number of Americans investing in that bond is increasing. Animals bring companionship, improve health and provide a source of relaxation and purpose to many lives. Medford is a dog loving community, and want the best for our pets, partners, friends, or whatever status we give to our four-legged companions .

Because of this desire, a group has been established to pursue the creation of a dog park in Medford. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a dog park is a designated area specifically used for dogs to run and play offleash. The city of Medford requires dogs to be leashed and under control at all times. While this is a sound rule for public areas, it is confining for those animals that are restricted to city yards or leash walks.

A dog park provides a place for those pups to really run and play. It also serves as a training area that is enclosed and safe. My boy Finn, for example, is as sweet as they come, but very high energy and obedient to all his commands except “come!” consequently, he is restricted to walks that are never long enough or fast enough to really tire him out. Access to a safe, enclosed place would provide a space for him to run to his heart’s content, and then be ready for some obedience training .

Another benefit of a public dog park is the opportunity for dogs to socialize. Canines are pack animals and need to socialize with other dogs to satisfy that inherent need for connection. While humans satisfy much of the need to belong to a pack, playing with other dogs allows them to truly engage their instincts. When dogs are properly socialized, they are better behaved and more enjoyable members of our human society.

At its simplest a dog park can be 1/2 to 1 acre of land with a fence. However, this is a minimum requirement of space, and may quickly find itself unable to meet the demands of the community. A better plan is 5 -10 acres, which allows for separation of areas and future improvements or additions. Since not all dogs are created the same, a designated area for small or timid dogs is a good way for them to play comfortably and socialize in a controlled environment, which is a boon for the animals and owners. With community involvement and support, the park can grow to meet specialized needs, such as agility courses or other training aids.

In this age of Covid, animals have played an important part in helping people cope with loneliness, stress, worry and other mental health issues and encourage physical activity, when many may feel isolated in their home. In light of this new reality, a dog park provides a safe, outdoor public place where people can socialize while their animals do the same-and meet with other like-minded (dog-loving) people.

Every community needs to look to its future and how best to attract new residents. Growth is necessary for the survival of small and rural areas; not necessarily growth in population, but in providing the activities and amenities that will appeal to younger generations who will then make their lives here. Post college age adults are waiting longer to marry and have kids, so for many, animals are their family and the focus of their love and attention. As simple as it may seem, a dog park is a draw for these young adults. It also is a refreshing way to meet other singles within a small community who share at least one interest.

There are a tremendous number of ways a dog park benefits a community. Dog people have a place to play with their treasured companions, and those who prefer not to interact with loose animals can feel more comfortable in public places where dogs should be leashed but may not be. Medford is a large enough community that, with organized support from the public and leaders, this is a feasible and exciting project for the benefit of everyone.

For more information or to become involved visit our Facebook page: Medford Dog Park Project.

Carla Huston and Finn

Lisa Kopp and Coral