Welcome to “Friends for a Hays Dog Park” Blog

Hays needs a community dog park!  There I have said it!  This is something that I have secretly been longing for since I moved to Hays seven years ago.  Recently I have vocalized this desire to a couple fellow dog owners and they were very encouraging, so I thought I would take my idea public.

Hays is a great community for outdoor activities.  The Hays Parks Department has done an outstanding job providing great spaces for a diversity of needs.  There are parks for frisbee golf, skateboarding, playing on playground equipment, big fields for flag football or soccer, baseball fields, and beautiful places to have a picnic and enjoy the scenery.  The one kind of park that Hays is lacking is a place for dogs to run off some energy and socialize with other dogs and people….Hays needs a dog park!

Hays is also a very dog friendly community.  This year my dogs and I have participated in some really great dog-human activities.  My youngest graduated from Canine College, my oldest took an agility class, and we all went to K-9 Swim at the Aquatic Center.  All of these activities are offered through the Hays Recreation Commission .   We also attended the Humane Society of the High Plains’ fundraiser/activity Bark in the Park.  So there are a lot of GREAT community activities designed to socialize and exercise dogs.  But wouldn’t it be great to be able to do this on a daily basis?

I should be clear though, at present there is no dog park in the works, no plan on the table.  In my brief conversation with the Director of Parks and also in my conversations with other proponents, the one thing that has become very clear is that FIRST we need a community of dog-owners and lovers to stand up and say that they are willing to work for a dog park and to help support it and maintain it for years to come.  That is the purpose of this blog–to begin to form that community.  So, if you would like to see a dog park in Hays, like I would, please let me know.  We can begin to form a “Friends of the (Proposed) Hays Dog Park” association.  You could post a blog or a comment on this blog.  You can help educate others as to the need and the logistics.  Please let me know….  And be sure to check back here periodically to see what is happening on the dog park front.

My First Dog Park Experience

I became sold on the idea of a dog park when we visited the Spring Canyon Dog Park in Fort Collins, Colorado several years ago.  My husband’s family has a cabin up in the Rocky Mountains and we stop at Fort Collins to get our provisions before heading up.  We did not relish the idea of one of us sitting outside with the dog/dogs (at first there was just Sage, but two years later we added Lark to our pack) while the other one did the necessary shopping, so before one of our trips I began to research alternatives.  That is when I found the dog parks in Fort Collins.  It worked out perfectly because our preferred grocery store is about 2 miles from one of the parks.  Rob would drop me and the dogs at the park for an hour of fun while he took on the unenviable task of grocery shopping (he knows how much I love hanging out with dogs so he always takes the less fun task!).

The Spring Canyon park is great.  It is about 2-3 acres of land, at the foothills of the Rockies, with a little spring running along the edge and a sturdy fence around it.  It also has plenty of trees for shade, picnic tables for humans to relax at, and a water fountain for both canines and humans.  We spent an hour there sniffing, greeting, running, and relaxing in the sun!  The dogs enjoyed the opportunity to socialize and play with other dogs.  And I enjoyed watching the process–the dance of greeting, sizing each other up, and leaning what was acceptable interaction to their new acquaintance.  I think it was important for Sage and Lark to learn these things in a neutral setting and I believe that it made them more comfortable with the process the more they experienced it.  I enjoyed talking with the humans in order to share training ideas.  I also loved meeting and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes!

After about an hour, Rob would pick us up and the dogs would willingly crawl into their kennels for the remainder of the ride up the mountains.  I say willingly, because by this point they had run and played to their little hearts content and were ready for a nap (this is a rarity for my two high-energy Brittanys!!) 

The first experience was so positive that we continue to use the site any time we head into the mountains.  However, I started thinking that this experience doesn’t need to be one that they get only once a year as part of our vacation.  Why couldn’t they have these wonderful interactions more often, in a dog park that was local?  Is the prospect of a tired, but content, dog worth the work that it would take to build a dog park?  Don’t we owe it to our fuzzy friends to enrich their lives to pay them back for all of the ways that they have enriched ours?  I think yes…

Please feel free to share your stories in the comments.