Archive for the ‘Dog Parks & Travel’ Category

High Speed, High Impact

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Haven at High Speed

Dogs are born to run. Fast. Much of their physiology is geared for speed due to their wolf ancestry, as wolves rely on the ability to pursue and take down prey on the run. Even though a dog’s running prowess is rooted in predatory needs, this very ability can also cause severe injury or even death for the dog.

Such was the case for Moon, a greyhound who died after colliding with a golden retriever at a dog park. Apparently the force of the collision hurtled Moon into the air and resulted in a fatal spinal injury — either from the collision itself or upon impact with the ground. While this may sound like a freak accident, the potential for speed-related injury is very real among dogs.

Speed can kill. It’s not the dog’s fault — it’s physics that deserves the blame.


Neighbor Kills Woman, Bullet Meant For Dog

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

An Indiana woman was killed when she was shot by a neighbor.

The woman’s dog ran through the neighbor’s property, and the neighbor was trying to shoot the dog. Instead the bullet struck the dog’s owner who was chasing the dog. The woman was there visiting her grandmother’s house for the day.

The neighbor has been arrested on preliminary charges of voluntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.

Source: WLKY

(Thanks Pit Bull Lover)

A “Tail” of Four Dog Parks, Part IV: Lowell State Game Area

Thursday, October 25th, 2007


In this series I will discuss examples of four types of dog parks:
Part I - Shaggy Pines - a private membership-based park
Part II - Hillcrest Park - a public dog park
Part III - Kruse Park - a public beach that allows dogs
Part IV - Lowell State Game Area - forested state land
Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and I discuss those as well as my experiences taking dogs to each type of park.

The Lowell State Game Area is a patchwork of state land in west Michigan totaling 1,837 acres of mostly forest. The primary purpose of any state game area is to provide a managed place of public hunting, so it might seem odd to list it as a dog park. Similar to the public beach at Kruse Park, the Lowell State Game Area was created for humans but it allows dogs to enjoy the land as well.

As long as you’re not hunting or camping within the Lowell State Game Area, the rules governing your dogs are pretty simple: there are none. Dogs must be on a leash at any designated camping area and dogs may not be used for hunting or chasing animals unless the specific season for dog-hunting that specific animal is open. Otherwise the land is open for use by both dogs and humans for hiking and exploring the woods, even off-leash if you wish. This contrasts to the state recreation areas which require dogs to be leashed at all times unless participating in organized field trials.


A “Tail” of Four Dog Parks, Part III: Kruse Park

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Kruse Park 1

In this series I will discuss examples of four types of dog parks:
Part I - Shaggy Pines - a private membership-based park
Part II - Hillcrest Park - a public dog park
Part III - Kruse Park - a public beach that allows dogs
Part IV - Lowell State Game Area - forested state land
Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and I discuss those as well as my experiences taking dogs to each type of park.

Norman F. Kruse Park is a public park in Muskegon, Michigan that sits right on Lake Michigan. Highlighted by a mile of sandy beach the park is actually intended for human use, complete with picnic pavilions, boardwalk trails through the dunes, and a playground. However, a portion of the beach is open to dogs and it’s one of the most beautiful places you can take your pet.

Unlike purpose-built dog parks, Kruse Park seems to allow dogs as an afterthought. Evidence of this may be that there are just two rules for people sharing the park with their dogs: 1) pick up after your pet, and 2) dogs must be on a leash. That’s all, and one of those rules makes no sense. How will your dog go swimming with you holding onto his leash?


A “Tail” of Four Dog Parks, Part II: Hillcrest Park

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Hillcrest Park 1

In this series I will discuss examples of four types of dog parks:
Part I - Shaggy Pines - a private membership-based park
Part II - Hillcrest Park - a public dog park
Part III - Kruse Park - a public beach that allows dogs
Part IV - Lowell State Game Area - forested state land
Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and I discuss those as well as my experiences taking dogs to each type of park.

Hillcrest Park is a public dog park in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan that opened in April 2005. The park came into existence in large part through the efforts of the Grand Rapids Dog Park Enthusiasts, who began their blog about the process back in November 2002. They helped to select a site for the park, an existing public park that had enough open land to fence in part of it to create a leash-free area for dogs. In fact, there are two enclosures: one for small dogs and one for large dogs.

Sponsors and donors helped fund the construction of Hillcrest Park; while maintained by the city, it is up to volunteers and park goers to provide basic services such as drinking water, clean-up bags, and even enforcement of the rules. The park does require that all dogs are up to date on vaccinations, spayed/neutered, licensed, and that young children do not go in among the dogs. Of course being open to the public means that it is up to dog owners to rely on the honor system and voluntary policing to ensure that the rules are followed.


A “Tail” Of Four Dog Parks, Part I: Shaggy Pines

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Shaggy Pines 1

In this series I will discuss examples of four types of dog parks:
Part I - Shaggy Pines - a private membership-based park
Part II - Hillcrest Park - a public dog park
Part III - Kruse Park - a public beach that allows dogs
Part IV - Lowell State Game Area - forested state land
Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and I discuss those as well as my experiences taking dogs to each type of park.

Shaggy Pines is a private dog park outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan that was rated the #3 dog park in the country by PETA. “Private” means that membership is required to use the park facilities, and a membership costs some considerable dough. “Gold” membership runs $288 per year, giving your dog access to the park seven days a week during the hours of operation (7am - 9pm). “Silver” is still $228 annually but limits access to weekends only. Neither of these dues include a $39 initiation fee. For those that don’t have a membership (including my dogs), it costs $8 for a day-long guest pass.

So what does all this money buy for your dog? Shaggy Pines features 14 acres of fenced-in land for their customers divided into four sections. The main section has a lighted trail that winds around a central swimming pond. Another section is for small dogs only in case the wee ones are intimidated by larger playmates. Another section is for big dogs only, and a fourth area has a one-mile jogging trail and a large open area for playing fetch, frisbee, etc.


New Zealand City Defends Dog Park

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Haven Honey BeaconThink about the five parks closest to your home. How many allow dogs to run off leash? Probably none. How many allow kids? Probably all of them.

Last week the city of Hamilton, New Zealand defended the rights of their dogs to have a safe area to run off leash despite a local school wishing to use the land for a cross country race. The school had conducted races on the dog park grounds on two previous occasions with 350-360 children participating in each event. The dog park was not closed during these events and apparently little or no notice was given as dog owners were surprised to find the organizers setting up a race in the designated dog run area. The city has since denied the school permission to hold future races on the dog park property citing the obvious safety risk of allowing hundreds of elementary-age children to run among unleashed dogs.

As a former cross country runner, I certainly support giving kids the opportunity to run in a natural setting. However, every member of our society deserves its place and dogs are one of those members. Most parks are built with children in mind, but rare is the park that allows dogs to run off leash despite the increasing demand for dog parks. In fact, a Chicago suburb recently nixed plans for two dog parks in its community. I’m pleased to see that the city of Hamilton recognizes the value of dogs to its residents, even if it means inconveniencing a couple of cross country races.

Not only is the city making the legally correct decision of enforcing the policies of its own parks, Hamilton is also making the morally correct decision by demonstrating to these children that dogs are worthy of being defended and that the residents of their city respect the rights of dog owners to provide a healthy life for their dog. Consider the alternative had the race been run - a child might have been bitten by a dog over-stimulated by the commotion and some of the kids could have developed an undeserved fear of dogs. The kids will still have their race but not at the dog park, which is best for everyone in the long run.

Source: Waikato Times

Photo: Amanda Schrauben

San Francisco Residents Fear Coyotes

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007


An Itchmo reader is reporting that coyotes who have been a problem in San Francisco’s Golden Gate area may be attacking feral cats. Two coyotes were killed last week after attacks on 2 dogs being walked.

She says:

A neighbor of mine has been feeding 3 feral colonies in Golden Gate Park for over 10 years, twice a day, rain or shine, and paying for all of it out of his own pocket. All but 3 individual cats have been killed by either the dead coyotes or the ones who are still living there.

The last reported coyote sighting was on Monday morning at 5:30am crossing into the park at 29th Avenue and Lincoln Way. Our reader Audrey also says that there are missing cat notices posted at that location. It’s not known if the who incidents are related. She says “the coyotes, have annihilated most of the feral cat colonies in the park along with possums, quail, rabbits and foxes. Now they are moving into the Sunset to look for food.”

Urban coyotes are rare, but not unheard of.

What Goes In A Travel Bag For My Dog

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

A puppy on a sandy beach

We recently went on a long 3-day road trip and brought along our mutt — as we usually do. To ensure his safety and comfort, we usually pack the dog’s travel bag first and go through a checklist. We wanted to share with you our little tips and tricks. Our focus is on safety, then we add lots of the comforts of home. Properly preparing for the road helps you avoid expensive emergencies. Here’s the checklist we use to pack for our dog and our reasons why.


Top 50 Cities For Dogs

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Dog carrying stick

What city is your dog’s favorite? Men’s Health has compiled their ranking for the Top 50 cities for dogs. Here are their Top 5 cities for dogs:

1. Colorado Springs, CO: All that needs to be said is 250 days of sunshine a year which means an endless amount of outdoor activities for your furry friend. Their boarding and dog day care facilities earn top scores. Also, Colorado Springs levies the highest maximum fine for animal cruelty: $500,000.

2. Portland, OR: Portland is proud of the fact that they have the most dog parks per resident and the many pet retail stores in the area.

3. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico has the second highest dog ownership rates and Albuquerque’s affection for dogs is shown throughout the city. Even the Mayor holds a Mayor’s Dog Ball which supports efforts to educate children about the humane treatment of animals.

4. Tucson, AZ: Not only is Tucson filled with sunshine, but Tucson has more veterinary practices accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association than in any other city in the Top 50.

5. Seattle, WA: There are almost a dozen dogs parks in the city and many more in the suburbs (including Marymoor Park which is a 40 acre off-leash dog area). Seattle vets report that Seattle has one of the lowest number of heartworm cases in dogs.

The complete list of the Top 50 cities for dogs after the jump.


“Doo The Right Thing” Campaign

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Dog Waste Sign

On average, a dog can release up to three-quarter pounds of feces a day (that is a serious amount of poo). What to do with all that poo? The North Central Texas Council of Governments is starting the “Doo The Right Thing” awareness campaign in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They are advising dog owners to always carry bags with them and to pick up waste as soon as it is deployed and to flush it down your toilet at your convenience. Don’t worry, soft waste can be thrown away in the trash. The campaign’s aim is to prevent pounds of dog waste from leaking or washing into untreated creeks, rivers and lakes.

We know you’ve seen plenty of dogs “doo-ing” their thing, so we’re gonna save you the pretty picture.

Where To Take Your Dog on Vacation

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Surfing has come out with their 2007 list on the Top 10 dog-friendly vacation spots in North America. Your dog needs a break, so take him out for some fun this summer. Here is the Top 10 list:

1. Boston — Take a boat or whale watching cruise. Walk the Freedom Trail, visit Salem and explore history at Minute Man Park. Your leashed dog is also welcome on the subway.

2. Vancouver — Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge and park. Take a walking tour of Historic Gastown. Take the ferry and visit nearby Victoria and beautiful Butchart Gardens.

3. New York — Stay in luxury at many fine hotels. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan. Ride the carriages. Watch a morning show. Shop in famous stores.

The rest of the Top 10 Dog-Friendly Vacation Spots after the jump.


Scientists Trapping Feral Cats to Save Threatened Rabbits

Friday, May 25th, 2007

The population of endangered marsh rabbits in the Lower Keys, Florida is dwindling. Their Latin name is Sylvilagus palustris hefneri in honor of Hugh Hefner because he financed research for these rabbits and they were placed on the endangered species list in 1990. Really.

To help keep the marsh rabbits from being extinct, biologists are using a cat trapping program to save the rabbits. 30-40 traps were recently set out to attract cats that come near the marsh rabbit’s habitat in the hopes of decreasing the number of cats that prey on the rabbits. Some people are concerned about the welfare of the cats and even have protested by dressing up in cat suits and holding protest signs near the area. Officials say that the cats will be “humanely trapped alive” and brought to a no-kill shelter in the area.

Doggie Vending Machines

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Doggie Vending MachineVending machines — they provide us with the convenience of getting that bag of chips that you’ve been craving, that thirst quenching soft drink, and now a dog toy or a poopie bag just in case if you forgot one.

Hey Buddy! provides doggie vending machines and their first one was put in the Bark Park in Dallas in 2005, and now another one has been installed in another dog park in Dallas and over the summer, 10 more doggie vending machines will be placed in dog parks around the city. The doggie vending machines can provide owners with chew toys, balls, pick-up bags, leashes, and collars. I’m sure your dog would rather have you buy him a bag of chips from a human vending machine instead though.

Two Dog Parks Shut Down in Chicago Area

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Dogs runningTwo planned dog parks in the Chicagoland area (in Elk Grove) have been shut down even before they were opened. A dog park at Morton Park was supposed to have opened last weekend, but because of a FEMA regulation that prohibits fences and animal feces in a floodway, the dog park was closed down. (What about the geese that hang out there and their feces? Should we chase away the geese too?) Apparently, this regulation wasn’t taken into account when they first constructed the fence to make the dog park. A second dog park at Powell Park closed down because the park board said there wasn’t enough interest in the dog park, even though there were over 100 dogs registered to use the park. Dog owners are extremely frustrated and two even protested the shut down of the dog park. One man said: “I think the whole thing is very suspicious. I’ve never seen the federal government move so fast before. FEMA has nothing to do with the dog park at Powell Park. So far all the park commission has been able to do is disappoint a lot of people and waste a lot of money.”

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