Sunday, March 2, 2008

If you build it, we will come

High: 36° F
Low: 7° F
Conditions: Partly cloudy with strong NW winds.
Ten inches of new snow pack over the past 24 hours.

Dogs love to be outside. And why not? With all the open space for romping and all the smells for smelling, it’s the perfect place to unleash their tremendous canine energy. But here’s the rub: scientists have discovered a not-insignificant effect of domestic dogs on wildlife ranging from fragile lichens to ground birds and larger mammals.
And, truth be told, dogs are kind of a mess, too. Last year, the Parks and Recreation Department in Portland, Oregon, estimated that city workers recovered nearly 6 tons of dog poo in city parks. That’s a pretty big impact on any ecosystem.

So what are conservation-minded dogs to do? Go to a dog park, if they’re lucky enough to live nearby one of the 700 in the U.S. The nearest park to us is over 3 hours away, so we were delighted to see that the Friends of Belfast Parks plan to build one just a short 20 miles from our house.

Ari and I have been enthusiastic participants in the project, and the caninaturalist even volunteered to serve as a cover girl for some of their media information (this has not helped any ego problems in our house).

Last week, park volunteers hosted “Dog Jamboree Day” at the town boathouse as a fundraiser for the park. Some dogs arrived at the jamboree in haute couture . . .

. . .Others in canvas tote bags:

But most just sauntered in with their humans. And when they did, they found a dozen different tables featuring information on the dog park, displays by local book stores, and more. Dogs could sit for a portrait artist. . .

. . . Or they could relax with a deep tissue massage.

Our personal favorite booth was the interactive "Jackson Paw-Lick" Art Station, where dogs could demonstrate their own aesthetic. Here's a picture of me displaying Ari's masterpiece, which will be up for auction later this spring.

As if these stands weren't enough, the jamboree also featured artisan biscuits for sale (we made the lobster-shaped ones!) . . .

. . . And gear available for swap.

A local celebrity, "Pooper Man", even made a guest appearance in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of cleaning up after your dog. Based on her expression, can you guess how the caninaturalist feels about public service announcements?

Even still, a great time was had by all. We watched the creation of new friendships . . .

. . . And some controlled mayhem, too.

Overall, the Jamboree was a wonderful success and raised about $8000 for construction costs. That's enough to begin excavation for the fence work as soon as the ground begins to thaw. We can’t wait to try out the new park this summer!


Dakota said...

Now, I've had lobster shaped biscuits before. Do yours have lobster in them? I am quite partial to seafood.......

The Army of Four said...

I'm salivating over the biscuits. Mmm....
We have all kinds of local laws on the books here about picking up, but it seems like our mom and dad are the only ones who do sometimes. It drives them crazy. Crazier. Ha roo roo roo.
Play bows,

Kapp pack said...

How cool is that! We've been hoping a dog park will ge built near us soon...they've been trying for years!

Woo woo, KA

Sid the Dog said...

Ooh, the new dog park sounds great and it's nice to see so many dogs and their Great Oppressors getting behind it. I also like how some GOs are looking at using our poop for energy. I mean, as an advocate for our species' liberation I find it somewhat exploitive, but we dogs need to do our part for the environment, too. Now if we can just figure out profit-sharing... Anyway, I'm glad you will have a new park close by!
-Sid the Dog
Article on methane from poop...

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

Lobster biskhuits!


A light khoating of butter!!!


Amici said...

That new dog park sounds great! We have friends that live in Camden and although they love the Camden Hills, the new dog park will be fun for them to go to too!

We love your lobster shaped cookies!! My human LOVES lobster and I of course love cookies. :)

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
Lobster treats Harrrr did you get them when fishing Harrrr. They looked so good Harrr and it looked like you had fun Harrr.
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Hey! You referenced my home town! Alas, it was uttered in the same sentence as the words "dog poo", but hey, notoriety in any form is still notoriety, right? ;-)
Dog jamboree day looked like a hoot. I'm with Ari, though. I, too, would've been suspicious of Pooper Man!

Gus and Louie said...

It looks like you had a great time and learned lots of new facts..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus and Louie

PKPWV said...

Pooper Man looks scary!!!! But the biscuits looke dyummy! I hope you had fun Ari!!!


JB's Big World said...

My mom is finally back....and now she says no time to blog!
Well, it sure looks like you have been having a great time. Those biscuits must be tasty!
We have dog parks here too, but I don't go to them, because i get scared outside!
Hey, we got snow last night! Snow in TX, amazing! I will post a couple of pictures this week.
Oh, and regarding your question about the owl, mom was not sure what kind of owl it was, because she forgot to write down the name of it! It does live in Texas though, and was quite small for an owl.

brucesc said...

How nice to have a doggy park close enough to take advantate of! What good ideas they had at the fund raiser. Sometimes the other mommies and daddies don't like it when I come to the park....sigh.
Comet the Doberman

The Daily Echo said...

That looked like great fun and those biscuits.....MMMMM! Who knew you were such a talented artist Ari!?

Max said...

It seems dogs really do alter ecosystem dynamics. A graduate student in Portland also found evidence that dogs indirectly increase nest survival of spotted towhees by repelling nest predators with their pee.

We love our dog park in Hillsboro, so I hope yours is a big success!

Indy said...

Looks like a lot of fun! Can't some of these scientific types find a way to use dog poop as fertilizer?