WHY A DOG PARK IS NEEDED
Having read the two most recent dog Park articles I felt I need to add my two cents.
Last year I placed ads here to people interested in a Bethel Dog Park. Steve Wight was the third to call. We became fast dog friends and co-chairs of the Bethel Dog Park Committee. We meet bi-monthly. We welcome anyone who would like to attend. We are open to any opposing views. Our intention is to bring people together, not apart.
Why are dog parks needed when we have hundreds of acres here in Maine to walk with our dogs? Because many dogs cannot be trusted off leash. Maine also has a leash law.
When I was in court for a friend some months ago, the court was ridiculously filled up with complaints of dogs misbehaving that were off leash running free. Killing chickens and other problems when dogs run wild.
A dog park is for everyone. It's a very safe protected environment to allow dogs to be dogs. They're pack animals and thrive when together in a dog park. It's fun for all, dogs and their owners. It's a perfect place for the community to meet winter, summer, spring and fall. Especially, it would be a winter wonderland. A place to ward off Cabin Fever in the winter. To get to know your neighbors better. For fun and for free. A place to gather, take pictures and laugh at the antics of our canines. A place to let them get all their energy out by playing up a storm. A place where dog people can go to without having to run or walk their dogs all the time. A delightful break for all. Dog parks throughout the country are in cities and the country. It' a safe protected environment where they can socialize and run free without the threat of harm. Learn and teach each other as pack animals do.
The Bethel Dog Park is designed after the Humane Society's in Lewiston by the Emergency Animal Hospital and The Humane Society.
The Dog Park will even cater to the small dogs who may be too intimidated to sniff and play with the larger ones. They will have one-third of the park to themselves only for dogs 30 pounds or under. Their owners may bring them into the 30 pounds and over section if they'd like.
The town of Bethel has a place for all other of its citizens. A playground, a skating park, bicycle paths, walking path, a pond to swim in, (where dogs are not even allowed). And a numerous amount of snowmobile and hiking paths. The snowmobiling path by the dog park would not interfere with the snowmobilers or the dogs. We could live in unison. I understand that change can be a dirty word. It has for me at times. You know. But, honestly, I feel that we all can reach a comfortable and fair solution for everyone.
In recent years, there are at least three new businesses that are dog related. When tourists come to Bethel and Sunday River that have a dog that is considered part of their family they can have their dog groomed and have access to Doggie-Daycare that they may bring their pups with them on vacation here in Western Maine.
I for one, do not let Banjo off his leash as a rule. The Great Pyrenees Dog for 5,000 years is used to roaming hundreds of miles guarding sheep. Without a leash he'd be gonzo! Good Great Pyrenees breeders only sell them to people with a fenced-in yard. There are many breeds of dogs and mutts that would bolt as soon as the leash was off perhaps never to be seen again.
Many a dog simply cannot be trusted off lead. A Dog Park is an intelligent, safe and fun way to let our beloved dogs play together without fear of them racing across a road after a squirrel and getting hit by a car.
The people of dog parks, especially, the regulars as Banjo and I would be, take care of their own as well as each other. There's great community spirit amongst dog owners. If an aggressive dog tries to hurt another dog, they are immediately escorted out of the dog park. If there is a fight, that is between the dog owners involved. It is their responsibility to get to a veterinarian, if needed. And the guilty party pays the bills. It is not something the town need be wary of. It all comes out in the wash. When there is not water pumped into a dog park, we dog lovers bring our own. Our own toys, water bowls and even chairs. We watch each other's back. There are Dog Park Rules, which the Friends of the Bethel Dog Park Committee have agreed on after investigating a numerous amount of Dog Parks and their rules and suggestions. I believe we've taken the best of the best of them.
Many times I've walked Banjo on or near the snowmobile path by the Walking Path. The snowmobile people are always nice and friendly. If we are walking on their turf they graciously just ride on a different spot, that we may continue our winter walk. Or we move over. The snowmobiles don't bother Banjo. He, like most dogs, accept the loud sounds of trucks, cars and snowmobilers. Some dogs are so mellow that they even accept lightning and fireworks. Not Banjo though!
I think it's time to care for our dog people as we care for everyone else in this fine town of Bethel.
I feel that The Bethel Dog Park and the other dog businesses will help to bring in more tourists. I know the peace and joy that I have when traveling that there's a dog daycare, groomer and such. It certainly helps me to decide where I travel to. Many small towns and cities are catering more and more to dogs.
I believe there is room enough in Bethel for all our needs. Even for dog owners; I hope and believe our time has come.
We're working very hard to raise the necessary money to accomplish this. The ball is in our court. We'd like our court to be for everyone. All inclusive for the love of dogs. God spelt backwards spells Dog.
For the last ten years I've asked other dog people if they'd like to have a dog park. Not one, has said no.
There is no question that can't be answered or problem that can't be solved when we all work together with love, respect and information.
The Bethel Dog Park is needed by many. Please climb aboard. Your dogs will love you for it.
Banjo and Judith Price Diamond