After working to raise money for the past four years, the Friends In Dog Ownership, or FIDO, has raised about $12,000, enough to enclose one-and-a-half acres just north of the duck pond in Baldridge Park. One acre of the land, which has plenty of trees, will be for large dogs, while a half-acre will be fenced off for small dogs.
Amy Ondos, board chair of FIDO, said the FIDO Fun Run last month helped put funds over the top to build fencing, which will cost $11,400 and will be built by England Fence.
“That will take most of what we have, but once we have the park up and people see it, maybe more people will donate additional money or equipment,” she said.
The city will provide some picnic tables for the park, and Ondos said she hopes later that more amenities for dogs can be added, such as old tires or a culvert the dogs can run through and other equipment that improves canine agility.
“We are looking to continue to fundraise to make the park better, and if the park is absolutely where we don’t want to make any more changes, then we will probably start targeting a second location” for an additional park, she said.
The city will provide maintenance and trash cans, she said, and people should bring their own “poop” bags, but there will be a place to dispose of them onsite. She said there would be no water in the dog park, which is next to the pond and near the Uncompahgre River. People can bring their own if they wish, but most dogs won’t be there long enough for water to be an issue, she said.
The city will put up signs and rules to follow at the new park, said Thordy Jacobson, Parks and Cemetery Superintendent for the city, who expects the park will be ready for use by Friday, Dec. 2.
Having a dog park in town will help people exercise their dogs off-leash and provide a safe environment where puppies as well as adult dogs can play and exercise in an enclosed space, according to the FIDO website at fidomontrose.org.
“A dog park gives dog owners a designated space to exercise their dogs, which leads to fewer off-leash dogs in community fields and parks,” the site states. “This helps prevent incidents with other park users [such as joggers and small children] and those who may be fearful of dogs. Tired, exercised dogs make better next-door neighbors and are less likely to bark incessantly, destroy property and jump on neighbors.”
A dog park also gives elderly and disabled pet owners a chance to exercise their dogs in an accessible place and helps build friendships between dogs and their owners because “dogs help to bring people together and break down many social or economic barriers.”
Puppies should have all their vaccinations before being taken to a dog park, according to the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; puppies will be much better pets, and less destructive, if they learn to socialize with older dogs and have a chance to burn off excess energy.
But dog parks aren’t for everyone, says the ASPCA, and unneutered males or females in heat should come to the park, nor should dogs that are fearful, under-socialized, anxious or aggressive.
More information about dog parks, including instructions about how to make your dog come when you call, is available at the website aspcabehavior.org/dogparks/articles/58/Dog-Parks.
The ASPCA recommends that the following types of dogs will benefit most from going to a dog park:
• Well-socialized dogs. Dog parks are best for dogs who love interacting with other dogs. They’re not for dogs who simply tolerate other dogs, dogs who only get along with certain types of dogs or dogs who routinely fight with other dogs.
• Young dogs. Although adult dogs can have fun at dog parks, young dogs (under the age of two) benefit most. They can burn some of their youthful energy and gain valuable social experience with other dogs and people. Younger dogs are also more likely to enjoy multiple playmates than older dogs, who often get more picky about their friends as they mature.
• Healthy dogs. To be well protected at the dog park, your dog should be fully vaccinated and have a good immune system. Since dogs do a lot of wrestling and running at the park, your dog should also be physically sound and free of chronic injuries or pain. Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s health-readiness for going to dog parks.
• Altered dogs. To avoid unwanted sexual behavior at the dog park, it’s best to spay or neuter your dog before visiting the dog park.