An (Unleashed) Walk in the Park
See Spot run... in one of these canine-friendly outdoor recreation spots.
Sniffing around the region’s Dog parks
The Real Scoop
Cleopatra Goldstein loves stealing the cat’s stuffed mouse toy, fetching the Trader Extra, and snoozing on top of her owner’s bed. But what this six-year-old shepherd mix really lives for is playing in the local dog park. At least that’s what her owner, Norma Goldstein of Croton-on-Hudson, believes. “She enjoys going to dog parks because when the other owners see how enthusiastic she is about chasing and retrieving, they’re more than happy to accommodate.”
Thanks to the growing number of dogs in the county, dog parks are being sought out more and more for the county’s Cleos and their pals (and, truth be told, their owners, too). “Dogs that don’t use their social behavior lose their social behavior,” says dog trainer Steve Diller, who runs the Center for Animal Behavior in Elmsford.
Looking for an (unleashed) walk in the park? We did some sniffing around for you.
Where: Cedar Lane Park
The Scoop: Features agility equipment including the popular “White Bone Bridge” (dogs scamper onto it via a ramp).
Comment: Sandy Nuffer of Chappaqua, owner of mixed breed Mazzy, says: “It’s excellent for exercise. It gives my dog a chance to play off leash with other dogs and, because he’s shy around people, become more comfortable with them, too.”
Ridgefield, CT’s “Bark Park”
Where: Prospect Ridge and Hampton Court next to Congregate Housing
The Scoop: The town donated the land and paid for maintenance, and ROAR (Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue) volunteers raised $17,000 to design and fund the park, which opened on Memorial Day 2002. Pet parents lounge at a picnic table or on benches while their pooches play with the toy fire hydrant or crawl through a big cement pipe.
Comment: Says resident Beverly Bernard, who frequents the park with her four-year-old French bull dog, Bambi: “It’s a gem. The people enjoy it as much, if not more, than the dogs. People get to know each other, become friends, and share life’s experiences
while the dogs play and enjoy their own friendships.”
Bedford Canine Tribute Park
Where: 27 acres off of Beaver Dam Rd.
FYI: To open in late spring ’05
The Scoop: A tribute to the search and rescue dogs of 9/11, it will also say be used for the training of service dogs.
Comment: Dr. Marilynn R. Glasser, director of leisure & human
services for the Bedford Department of Parks and Recreation, says,
“The town recognized the interest and passion of dog enthusiasts and what a wonderful service a dog park facility offers a community. Bedford D.O.G.’s [the Bedford dog owners group] ongoing fund-raising efforts will ultimately produce one of the most unique dog parks in the country!”
Where: FDR Park
FYI: To open in spring ‘05
The Scoop: The town is trying to work with the state to establish an approved dog park here. For the time being, “people have been informally using the area behind the pool at FDR Park,” says Town Supervisor Linda Cooper.
Comment: “It is against current park policy to have a dog off-leash,” warns FDR Park Manager Liz O’Loughlin. “Anyone caught can get a ticket.”
White Plains’s “Bark Park”
Where: On Main Street across from the rear of Delfino Park
The Scoop: Special “shock absorbent” surface is easy on dogs’ paws
and can be hosed down.
Comment: Says White Plains’s Rafael Mora, owner of Aidan, a
Wheaton Terrier puppy: “We can’t get Aidan to leave.”
Where: Winslow Park, North Compo Road, and Post Road East
The Scoop: This public park has always been a popular destination for dog owners, but, about eight years ago, the town took steps to institute official regulations governing use of certain areas specifically for pets.
Comment: Says Stuart McCarthy, Westport director of parks and recreation: “It’s a destination that’s used every single day of the year, even in the most horrific weather.”
Greenburgh’s “Project Woof”
Where: Site TBD
FYI: To open in late ’05
The Scoop: Greenburgh is a real canine-friendly community; 400
people and 144 dogs showed up at its “dog paddle,” an open
swim-in held in early September.
Comment: Says Gerry Byrne, Greenburgh commissioner of parks and recreation: “There was such tremendous participation in our dog paddle. It reconfirmed our belief in the need for a dog park and to provide more programs for pet owners.”
FYI: Being championed by The Pound Ridge Dog Owners Group
The Scoop: Not everyone here is yelping for joy. An initial plan
was opposed by some residents who even hired a lawyer, citing concerns about liability, safety, injury, policing the area, and property values.
Comment: John Ritzcovan, chairman of the Pound Ridge Recreation Department, says: “There’s a new group of people who want something for themselves and their dogs. What’s wrong with that?”
Freelance writer Lois Podoshen has no pets. Cleopatra Goldstein is her dog-in-law.