It wasn’t quite raining cats and dogs, but it certainly was raining on Sunday at the opening of the new Public Dog Park sponsored by Petersburg Humane Association.
About a dozen PHA volunteers, pet owners and supporters braved the weather for the afternoon festivities which included activities, raffle prizes, and refreshments for canines and humans.
Located at Petersburg’s old Tent City, on Haugen Drive near Sandy Beach, the park is now an off-leash area for dogs of all sizes, plus a fenced-in park specifically intended for smaller dogs, 25 pounds and under.
Chihuahuas, toy poodles, miniature pinschers and a few mixed breeds chased each other along the paths and splashed in the puddles of the new little dog park after the ribbon cutting. Larger dogs explored the open trails of the dog park on the opposite side of the grounds from the little dog area.
“We were just looking for a dog shelter, and a cat shelter and we were looking at all of the places that would be possibilities,” said Anne Lee whose vision helped bring the concept of the park to a reality.
“There was another possibility up by the sewage trapment hill ... there are some city lots that could be used. Then there was this that already had the gravel pad ... and it had such great lands around it, it was totally cool for a dog park and [provides a shelter] so that our cats aren’t away somewhere. This is a great fun people and animal place,” she added.
According to Lee, PHA plans to turn the existing structure at the site into a shelter for cats and dogs that are available for adoption.
With the ambiance of a Zen garden, the little dog park is laced with rock paths and wood chip paths that wind around trees benches and sheltered seating areas. The little dog park is completely enclosed by a fence and has a double-gated entrance to avoid escapees.
All of the wood for the benches is reclaimed old harbor-front benches. “It was all part of our recycling project, it’s all recycled or donated,” Lee said.
“It can be kind of hard to find a place to walk your dog in the wintertime when the snow is piled up. This will be nice,” Lee said. “We will have to pay to have it plowed, but this is another option for people to go.”
She also said that the fenced area provides a certain level of safety against hazards such as chasing porcupines, or annoyances such as rolling in deer poop and dead fish.
Lee described the dog park as a fun place for dogs to hang out, but it is also low maintenance.
There are poop bags, a shovel and a couple of trash cans in both areas of the park to allow a way for dog owners to easily dispose of their dogs’ waste.
Lee suggested that if drivers park facing into the park and owners keep dogs on leashes in the parking lot, it will make it easier for everyone to use the park.
The park is open for use in daylight hours.