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