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Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

Culture: DogPatch
State of the (Dog) Nation
Message from the Editor

The first issue of what would become The Bark came out in 1997, which makes this our 19th year. It’s hard to believe we’ve lasted this long. In the beginning, Bark was a humble community newsletter drumming up support for an off-leash area in Berkeley. We had no intention of transforming it into a full-fledged magazine.

But, as they say, timing is everything. While publications aplenty focused on what’s called the dog “fancy,” there was a noticeable gap in the larger area of everyday life with dogs—what has come to be called dog culture. Bark stepped in to fill it and, in many ways, defined it.

For dogs and the people who love them, things have evolved in many interesting directions over the last 19 years. Most of the changes have been for the better.

On the science front, researchers across a number of disciplines are expanding our understanding of the canine mind, the domestication process and how our two species co-evolved. More humane and science-based training methods have come to the forefront, as have increasingly sophisticated and well-informed behavior-modification strategies. Advances in veterinary medicine and health care include an increased validation of alternative modalities.

Then there’s food, which always provokes a lively discussion. In the commercial food sector, a greater variety of ingredients can be found, along with different delivery systems —dehydrated, freeze-dried, raw-prepared—many of them healthier than they were 19 years ago. The industry also has paid attention (to some extent) to consumer’s post-2007 food-recall concerns, but there is a still a long way to go on that front, and greater transparency is still needed. In the DIY sector, there’s a growing interest in angst-free home-prepared meals that can be as balanced and nutritious as packaged varieties.

Many of Dog Nation’s greatest strides have come in the increasing social acceptance and understanding of the role of dogs in communities—not just in the lives of dog lovers, but in the lives of people in general. For example, we’re seeing more dog-friendly housing opportunities (some with amenities), dog parks, off-leash recreation options, day care centers and professional services. There’s a canine sport for every type of dog, and people are actively interested in supplying dogs with enrichment activities. Hotels and resorts are eager to attract the growing number of people who travel with their co-pilots. In literature, a flood tide of books, both fiction and nonfiction, explore our oldest friendship, and filmmakers and other inventive artists recognize and pay homage to our favorite muses.

In another healthy sign of progress, there are fewer dog race tracks, which are now legal in only six states. This bodes well for Greyhounds, who can retire and live their lives as the elegant companions they were meant to be.

In the digital world, Petfinder and similar sites have revolutionized the way we locate the dog of our dreams and, by extension, meet up with others of similar dog-centric interests. A plethora of apps and gadgets promise what seems like hands-free pet care, and a few may prove to be helpful in enriching the lives of workday-home-alone dogs.

Dogs have many talents, more of which are being tapped for a wider variety of guide and assistance work; many jobs can’t be done—or done as well—without them. It’s also inspiring that canine rehabilitation and training are taking place in unlikely venues, such as prisons and juvenile institutions.

The best development of all, however, is that mixed-breeds are now number one in the nation, most of them likely to have been adopted from a rescue group or shelter. People are beginning to understand how important it is to be part of the solution by adopting rather than buying, to opening their homes and hearts to shelter dogs. Shelters also have come a long way since 1997, with many of them offering state-of-the art care and accommodations and paying greater attention to enriching the lives of their charges: organizing play groups and innovative volunteer, foster and walking programs, and working collaboratively with local rescue groups. Burgeoning rescue and sanctuary movements, including the transport of animals both within the country and internationally, are inspiring to behold.

As editor-in-chief of The Bark, when I look back at the past two decades, I can truly say that there have been more positive advances in Dog Nation than in most other areas of our society. But while we celebrate these developments, I must also caution that there is a still a long way to go. The number of Beagles and other dogs being bred for and used in labs—living out their entire lives in cages—remains a blot on the landscape; there really has to be a better and more humane alternative. And there must be an end to the needless deaths of animals in shelters, and to animal abuse and cruelty.

That being said, I’m proud to be in a position to keep tabs on these situations, and to report on them to you. My hope is that by chronicling what’s going on, and shining a light on areas that still need work, we (the magazine and our readers) can inspire policy- and decision-makers to step up and make the changes needed to push that progress along. We would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Good Dog: Activities & Sports
Go Out & Play!

Behaviorist Patricia McConnell has observed that when it comes to dogs and people, “play isn’t what makes our relationship with each other better, play is what creates the relationship in the first place.” With that in mind, recent findings of a Bristol University survey are worrying: most of the 4,000 respondents simply didn’t spend enough time playing with their dogs. The UK-based study also found a clear link between “limited playtime and animal behavior problems, such as being nervous when left alone, disobedience and snapping at other animals.”

Others have taken note of the role of play in our dogs’ lives as well. Marc Bekoff, one of the leading scientists of animal play, has said, “We train too much and play too little. … Whenever you are playing together, you and your dog learn the most important rules of social interaction: mutual trust, accepting the limitations of the other individual and dealing fairly with each other.”

Play is also ripe with opportunities for shared joy. As Mechtild Käufer, author of Canine Play Behavior, writes, during play, you and your dog experience “moments in which two species— human and dog—really become one.”

So, how does all this research and insight play out (no pun intended) in real life? Here are some data points to keep in mind.

> Play develops trust and increases the degree and amount of attention your dog will pay to you. (Particularly if you let your dog win occasionally, including when playing tug.)

> It also develops communication. To get your dog’s attention, hold a toy out in front of you, slap both hands on the ground, play bow or make a quick forward movement.

> Dogs will play longer with humans than with other dogs; they’re also less competitive and will both present and surrender toys to the human more frequently.

> Play signals given by humans are more likely to elicit a response when accompanied by play vocalizations.

> Dogs in multi-dog households are more (rather than less) interested in playing with humans.

> Dogs who frequently play rough-and-tumble games with their humans have fewer problems with separation anxiety and are more self-confident.

> Dogs score higher in “obedient attentiveness” after play sessions than before the sessions, according to researchers Nicola Rooney and John Bradshaw, which suggests that training after play can be highly effective.

> They call it “play” because it’s not goal-oriented. Try not to focus on winning ribbons or breaking records—in that case, it’s more like work, and the positive aspects disappear.

So, what are you waiting for? Go have a romp with your dog!

For more on this fascinating topic, add Canine Play Behavior by Mechtild Käufer and Play Together, Stay Together by Karen B. London and Patricia B. McConnell to your reading list.

News: Editors
Silver Dog Collar Auctioned

Even if we can’t be there in person to marvel and bid, we love checking out the offerings at the annual Bonhams sale of canine art and artifacts on February 17 in New York. As is customary, there will a trove of historical paintings of pedigreed dogs, many of the hunting variety on display. Though we enjoy these paintings of faithful companions, we find the objects de canine and their fascinating back stories much more to our liking. One such highlight is a Victorian silver collar created in 1883 for a dog named Help. The shaggy black Scotch Collie was trained and handled by John Climpson, a passenger guard on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. The dog was equipped with a collection box, and traveled extensively throughout Britain and France from 1882 to 1889, raising money for the “Orphans Fund”—a charity that assisted children of railway workers who had died on the job. The tag on his collar was inscribed with a London address where donations would be “thankfully received & duly acknowledged.” His appearances at railwaymen’s meeting, fundraisers and dog show made Help a celebrity, and prompted a legion of charity-collecting dogs. The source of the dog’s name? Here’s a clue: Help’s image appeared on badges with the slogan “Help Our Noble Railway Dog,” with proceed from the sales of the badges going to orphanages. During his lifetime, Help brought in thousands of pounds sterling to aid the Orphans Fund. Upon his death in 1891, at the age of 13, a railway magazine ran a tribute: “No dog probably lived a more useful life the did ‘Help.’” His lovely silver collar and tag is estimated to sell for $2,500 to $3,500.

Antique collars of historical note and belonging to celebrated dogs have become a highly prized collectible in recent years. Bonhams handled the sale in 2010, of a leather-and-brass collar that Charles Dickens used on his dog (shown above), eventually selling for the princely sum of $11,590. A few years later, a brass-and-leather collar from Joe, a sled-dog Husky who died during a 1903 expedition to Antarctica, sold for nearly $12,000 at Bonhams in London. So, hold on to those old dog collars, they may well become a family heirloom one day.

Bonhams “Dogs in Show and Field” auction is scheduled for February 17, 2016 beginning at 10 pm EST. The auction and pre-auction display is held at Bonhams’ New York venue and is available for viewing and bidding online at bonhams.com.

Wellness: Food & Nutrition
10 Super Foods For You and Your Dog

What makes a “super” food? Edibles that deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories. Humans and dogs can share several common foods that are nutritionally dense, and pack a lot of healthful benefits into a serving. These super foods help people and their pets fight disease, boost energy and maintain good health in general. They make great additions to your dog’s diet—whether you feed packaged dog food or home cook meals—consider adding the nutritionally-packed components to compliment your dog’s eating regime. Be sure to introduce these foods gradually and with the proper proportions, and check with your veterinarian if your dog has any dietary or health concerns.

Kale

Kale is a supercharged leafy vegetable that contains an abundant amount of vitamins, including A, E, and C. It is a good source of antioxidants and helps the liver detoxify the body. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid in pets with certain types of bladder stones or kidney disease.

Carrots
A great dog snack crunchy, naturally sweet and most dogs really like them. They are loaded with carotenoids, fiber, vitamin C and K (needed for blood clotting), as well as potassium. They have magnesium, manganese, most of the B vitamins and phosphorus, which is required for energy production, among other things.

Pumpkin
Low in calories and high in soluble fiber, pumpkin helps maintain a healthy digestive tract. It is low in sodium and exceptionally high in carotenoids, potassium and vitamin C, and has some calcium and B vitamins. Canned organic pureed pumpkin can be found at food stores but be sure that it is pure and not a pie filling, so with no sugar or spices added.

Sweet Potatoes
These tuberous roots are rich in beta-carotene and boast 150% more antioxidants than blueberries. Sweet potatoes are also super high in heart-healthy vitamin A and packed with vitamin C to keep immunes system strong.

Fish
Oily fishes such as herring, salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s do wonders for skin, coat and brain as well as limit inflammatory processes that cause arthritic pain and other chronic canine conditions. (If your dog has any of these conditions, ask your vet if fish oil in capsule form might help too.) Fish are an excellent protein source, with many essential vitamins and minerals.

Seaweed/Nori

Dried edible seaweed is a Japanese staple. Often associated with sushi, nori is available in some supermarkets, especially those stocking Asian food items. It has protein, galactans (a soluble fiber), vitamins C, E and all the Bs, and minerals such as zinc and copper. It also contains some lesser-known sterols and chlorophyll, which have been investigated for their effects on regulating metabolism. Nori may have beneficial effects on fat metabolism, immune function and anti-tumor response. Make sure the nori/seaweed is low in sodium, amounts vary greatly in these products.


Chia
The seeds of this traditional grain from Mesoamerica have several of the same benefits as the more well-known “super seed” flax, but unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and even protein. (Highly absorbent, they can help hydrate the body.) Chia seeds can be simply sprinkled on their meals.


Quinoa
Commonly considered a grain, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is actually a seed related to spinach. Quinoa is a complete protein supplying all eight of the essential amino acids and is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and many phytochemicals.  One of the few vegetables sources of complete proteins, quinoa is a potent antioxidant and reducing the risk of diabetes.

Yogurt

Active cultures known as probiotics (necessary, friendly bacteria) help keep the bad bacteria away. Yogurt, which may improve gut function, contains a number of nutrients, including protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, potassium, zinc and iodine. It is also a fair source of other B vitamins such as riboflavin and pantothenic acid (required for enzyme action and energy production, as well as other cellular functions).

Blueberries

Available year round either fresh or frozen, blueberries, loaded with phytochemicals, are a great treat for your dog. The deep blue color comes from anthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidants, and the berries also supply vitamins C and E, manganese and fiber. Slow introduction in small quantities is particularly essential; gorging on this tasty fruit can adversely affect canine and human bowel movements.

Besides these, there are also many simple, fresh and wholesome food items that dogs and humans can thrive on, including apples, green beans, papaya, leafy greens, liver and hearts, eggs, oats, bananas, wheat grass, cranberries, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, parsley, wheat germ and apple cider vinegar. For dogs, animal protein such as, chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, goat, rabbit, pork, beef, fish and venison, should be an integral part of their meals.

News: Editors
Winter Safety Tips for Dogs

While we on the west coast are contending with a very robust El Nino rainy season, we aren’t complaining after so many years of drought. But it does make dog walks and exercising extra challenging. But for most of the rest of the country dealing with harsh and cold winter weather is even more difficult. So today when we received a press release from the Central Veterinary Associates in Long Island, NY we thought that they had many good ideas to help you prepare for wintery conditions.

● Always Dry Off: When your dog comes in from the snow, ice or sleet, be sure to thoroughly wipe down their paws and stomach. He or she may have rock salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals on their paws which, if ingested, can cause severe stomach problems. Antifreeze should especially be watched for as it can lead to kidney failure. In addition, paw pads may get cut from hard snow or encrusted ice, so it’s important to check them over and treat them accordingly.


● Hold Off on Haircuts: Save for extreme circumstances, you should never shave down your dog during the winter. Their long, thick coats are vital for protection from the cold. If you have a short-haired breed, consider getting him a coat or a sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.


● Keep Bedtime Warm: Make sure your dog has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafty areas. A cozy pet bed with a warm blanket or pillow is ideal.


● Bathroom Breaks: If you have a puppy or aging pet that may be sensitive to the cold, it may be difficult to take them outside. Use wee-pads or old newspapers to train puppies or to allow older pets to relieve themselves.


● Bring Pets Inside: If domesticated animals are left outdoors during winter months, they run the risk of health conditions caused by extreme temperatures. Cats are especially susceptible as they have free reign of the outdoors, and become lost during a storm, or taken in by a neighbor. In similar fashion to summer months, you should never leave your pet alone in a car in cold weather, as they could freeze and develop serious cold-related health conditions.


● Keep a Short Leash: Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm as they can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so make sure that your dog always wears his identification tags. It is highly recommended that all pets are outfitted with a microchipping device, which it makes available as part of a low-cost service.


● Check Your Engine: As you’re getting into your car in the morning, bang loudly on the hood of the car before getting in. Outdoor cats and wild animals like to sleep under cars or within the engine compartment or wheel base, as the engines keep the vehicle warm long after the car is parked. However, once the car is started or in motion, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt or tires.


● Clean Up Spills: If you spill any antifreeze or winter-weather windshield fluid, be sure to clean it up immediately. Pets, especially cats, are enticed by the sweet-tasting liquid, but it is poisonous. Ingesting antifreeze leads to potentially life-threatening illness in all animals, domesticated or otherwise. If possible, use products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
 

Also, Dr. Aaron Vine, DVM, Vice President, Central Veterinary Associates adds that, “It is very important to keep your pet safe and healthy during the winter season, especially during storms like the one in the forecast this weekend. The extreme cold may have an adverse effect on your pet’s health, so pet owners must take the necessary precautions for their pets when bringing them outside. It is especially important during extreme weather circumstances to ensure that your pet is microchipped, which makes it easier to locate them. In the event they become ill as a result of being exposed to the elements, please bring them to a veterinarian immediately.”
 

Do check out their Holiday Safety Tips blog and visit www.centralvets.com.
 

 

Wellness: Healthy Living
Winter Paw Tips
Winter Paw Tips

Trim Fur between dog toe pads that can get packed with snow and ice walking painful.

Boot Up Consider dog booties, make sure the fit is correct and start with short walks, with plenty of treats.

Avoid Frozen ponds or streams, dogs may fall through ice less than 2 inches thick.

Lube Up Lubricate paws to prevent skin cracks caused by cold, dry air. A thin coating of products as Bag Balm, Musher’s Secret or petroleum jelly will also do.

Quick Wipe Wash paws off after walks. Dogs can lick salt, antifreeze or other chemicals, plus paw pads may bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

Culture: Reviews
How to Foster Dogs

Luckily, mor e and more people are interested in fostering dogs these days. It is a great way to assist the shelter/rescue community and be part of helping homeless dogs receive the care and attention they might require to help them find forever homes.

How to Foster Dogs by training expert and certified behaviorist Pat Miller will be a boon to both potential fosterers and humane/rescue agencies. An invaluable reference and guidebook, it’s written in an accessible, clear style, and addresses practical topics, such as the best ways to introduce the new dog to your own dog, preparing for specialneeds situations, and working with fearful dogs; it also provides many insightful management tips (including how best to handle the heartbreak of letting your foster dog go to a new family). The sound advice offered by Miller is not limited to foster dogs, but can be applied to all dogs, making this a good recommendation for every dog lover.

Wellness: Recipes
Whole Grain Peanut Butter Treats
These delectable cookies are simple to make, and can be broken into smaller pieces perfect for training bits.
Peanut Butter Treats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached white whole wheat or whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour is preferred)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup blend of whole grains and seeds that can include oat berries, millet, rye flakes and wheat flakes; plus flax, poppy, sesame and sunflower seeds. (Available from King Arthur as Harvest Grain Blend, or make it yourself.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (or garbanzo or
  • potato flour)
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1 cup peanut butter, crunchy or plain
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water, enough to make a cohesive dough

Directions
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets or one large one, or line them with parchment.

Mix the flour, oats, whole grains, parsley, dried milk and salt.

Add the eggs, peanut butter and honey and stir into dry ingredients to combine; the mixture will be crumbly.

Add enough water to bring the dough together. Mix with a spoon, or if using a stand mixer, use a dough hook.

Drop (or form by hand) the dough into walnutsized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten them to about 1/4".

Bake for about 45 minutes. When finished, the cookies will be dark golden brown, and will be dry and crisp all the way through.

Cool right on the pans.

Yield: 60 small (round) cookies.

Magazine: 2015-2017
Issue 84: Winter 2015

Each issue of The Bark is like a glorious mixed-breed, the result of contributions from multiple sources and with its own unique personality and quirks. I especially enjoyed assembling this one, which, as always, covers many facets of life with dogs. We take an insider’s tour of a training school unlike any other—the Canine Circus School, where tricks and balancing acts abound. The classes keep dogs spinning, and their handlers on their toes. From the world of science, Jane Brackman covers a large-scale study of cancer in Golden Retrievers that has implications for all dogs. Marsha Rabe introduces us to the Mutt-i-grees program that is redefining humane education across the country, and we profile Trevor Thomas, a hiker who is blind, and Tennille, the Lab who truly is his guide. We love stories about shelters who come up with novel approaches to two basic problems shared by all: how to enrich the lives of the dogs who are in their charge, and how to prepare them for and find them forever homes. In this issue, we salute the Maui Humane Society, for both their Beach Buddies program that makes dogs available to visitors who take them on outings, and their Wings of Aloha partnership with airlines and vacationers that enables dogs to be flown to shelters on the mainland and new homes. Then dog trainer Barbara Tran takes us to an ancient town in Viet Nam, where she observes the ways its dogs grow up with an understanding of communal space, how that is learned and how they express it. This topic neatly dovetails with one explored by Jessica Hekman, DVM, who reflects on the complexities of canine societies and how, at long last, researchers are starting to study group behavior and social hierarchies. Our cover dog is the impish, itsy Coffee Bean who was captured in a winning shot taken by Sophie Gamand; we also have a feature about the amazing oeuvre she is creating for international humane causes.

We know this is often the busiest of seasons for all of you, but we hope that you find the time to give your dogs the quality attention they deserve, as well as to share some time with a shelter dog. Visit them, take them for a walk, perhaps even volunteer to foster one. And of course, a contribution is always welcomed. Finally, we’d be thrilled to meet your dog-loving friends—wrap up your shopping by giving the gift of Bark. Your friends will thank you at least four times next year!

Features

Canine Circus School: Learning how to do life better, one trick at a time. By Natalia Martinez

On the Trail of Canine Cancer: Large-scale study of Golden Retrievers holds hope for all dogs. By Jane Brackman, PhD

Value-Added Vacations: Maui Humane Society’s popular outreach programs attract vacationers and aids dogs. By Rebecca Wallick

Songmaster: JD Souther gets down with the dogs. Q&A with Cameron Woo.

Picture This: Featuring the photography of Sophie Gamand, author of a charming new book, Wet Dogs.

Redefining Humane Education: Mutt-i-grees program focuses on empathy, helps children learn. By Marsha Rabe

Blind Ambition: A guide dog goes the distance with her blind hiking partner. By Jennifer Dziuvenis

Shelter: Picking up the pieces, learning the meaning of shelter. By Carrie Brownstein

 

It’s a Dog’s Life

DISPATCH: from Vietnam: Free-ranging village dogs understand communal space. By Barbara Tran

BEHAVIOR: Entertainment options for the home-alone dog. By Karen B. London, PhD

HOWL: The McBickly Accord Beagles come to the table, humans try their best. By Jeff Steinbrink

WELLNESS: Dishing the Dirt Exploring the human and canine microbiome. Q&A with Dr. Robynne Chutkan

COMIC: Happy 60th Birthday, KryptoEven Superman had a co-pilot.By Mark Peters

RESEARCH: What we don’t know about dog societies.By Jessica Hekman, DVM, MS

ART: Essence of Dog Fabric Sculpture by Holy Smoke By Susan Tasaki

ESSAY: Lily—Life with an angel of a dog. By Eliza Thomas

REVIEWS: The Drifter; Sit! Stay! Speak!; Considerations for the City Dog; Sire and Damn; Two Dogs and a Parrot; Zen and the Art of Walking a Dog

SPOTLIGHT: Assistance Dogs of the West Celebrating 20 Years By Linda Milanesi

 

DOGPATCH

Here’s Looking at You—Oxytocin’s bond.

Downtown Avant-Gardists: Joan Jonas and Laurie Anderson

Skijoring; Hilary Swank Rescue Special; New Order’s “Stray Dog”

Art Book Picks and Holiday Gift Guide

Recipe: Mackerel Makes Great Toppers By Rick Woodford

Smiling Dogs Light up

Calorie Count: Popcorn and Tiny Treats; William Wegman Exhibit

News: Editors
Creative Fundraising for Dog Parks
From Grants and Partnerships to Innovative Revenue Streams

Dog parks or Off-Leash Areas (OLAs) area a great benefit to any community. The ability to exercise off-leash, in a designated and safe environment can contribute to the health and well-being of dogs in significant ways. Most dogs require the kind of exercise and movement that they just can’t get at the end of a leash. Off-leash, they are able to run, fetch and play to their heart’s content. When properly monitored, dog parks can act as a way for dogs to socialize in neutral territory. Whether learning to engage one-on-one, meet new dogs and people, share or play—well supervised interaction is invaluable to a dog’s socialization. Dog parks can be equally beneficial to the dog guardians and the community as a whole, acting as a social center for people who share common interests and concerns. People swap training and health advice, and compare tips on everything from dog-friendly destinations to vet recommendations. Dog parks are a hub of social and physical activity for both dogs and people.

Today, communities large and small are recognizing the value of a well-run dog park. Off-leash areas are springing up all over the country and are proving to be one of the most sought after park developments for city municipalities. The idea for The Bark was born in a dog park back in 1997, as a group of dog people worked with the city of Berkeley, CA to develop a 17-acre off-leash area at the site of a reclaimed garbage dump alongside the bay. Bark knows firsthand the many obstacles to securing an official off-leash area. We often hear from readers who are interested in starting their own OLA or working towards renovating/expanding existing facilities. Funding such projects is one of the biggest challenges but with an organized effort and imagination, there are some creative ways to raise the capital required. Here are some of our favorites:

Grants and Awards
There are some significant grants and prizes available for building and renovating dog parks. At the top of the list is an annual contest sponsored by PetSafe® which awards five monetary prizes to worthy projects—the top winner receives $100,000 and four runner-ups are awarded $25,000 each to fund their projects. The Nutro™ Room to Run™ program works to enhance existing dog parks with landscaping, signage, benches and agility equipment. The Stanton Foundation based in Cambridge, MA, provides grants to “take a community from start to finish on a dog recreational space”—all of their current participants appear to be based in Massachusetts. Community funding grants can also be found at Petsmart, Petco, Target and Walmart.

Memorials and Dedications
One of the country’s finest off-leash areas, Marymoor Park in King County, WA (near Seattle) helps support their 40-acre leash-free facility through their Pet Memorial Garden. The garden is dedicated to celebrating and honoring a living, lost, or deceased pet. The memorials include dedicating benches, trees and plantings, installing stones and pavers, and interring cremated animal remains in the celebration wall. Each remembrance option is paid by the donor, the money contributing to maintenance of the park. The Cosmos Dog Park in Gilbert, AZ, sold nearly 1,400 bricks for a special memorial wall over the course of six months. Public facilities from national parks to colleges have long utilized naming rights to fundraise for their programs. Tapping into the generosity of OLA users and dog lovers to honor their canine friendships through well-designed memorials seems a fitting way to support such a vital community resource.

Partnerships
Banding together with like-minded organizations to support and share facilities is a growing trend where resources and space are at a premium. A number of dog parks have added agility facilities to enhance their appeal and usage. This opens the door for funding and additional revenue streams for rental and events. Other municipalities share exercise and agility equipment with police and SAR teams who utilize the space for training their K9 partners. Dog parks in Provincetown, MA and Palm Springs, CA have tapped into local artists’ creations to enhance their grounds with art and architectural elements. Corporate sponsors such as West Paw Design have helped establish dog parks in Bozeman, MT, providing both their expertise and funding. One of the most unique partnerships is the one between the Historic Congressional Cemetery and the K9 Corps in Washington D.C. The non-profit association that oversees the cemetery has worked out a mutually beneficial arrangement with the K9 Corps—a group of dog owners who have helped safeguard the grounds by their long time presence and commitment. Today, the members of K9 Corps pay dues for the privilege of walking their dogs off-leash on the 35-acre cemetery grounds, and now contribute 20% of the Congressional Cemetery’s operating income.

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