DFA Committee

Mar 192012

Here’s another great page from Planet Dog on how to get a dog park built in your community.  We’re well on our way, but this list of 13 steps is a good reminder of just how much work it actually takes to get a dog park built.

The dog lovers at the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in San Mateo, California, have developed the following strategies for successfully getting a dog park created:

1.  Start with a core group of committed dog park activists
Talk with a half-dozen other dog lovers who are concerned about the lack of off-leash spaces.  These may be people you already know – or you can put a notice in the local paper to find more dog-friendly folks.
2.  Hold a public meeting
Once the core group is in agreement, a larger community meeting will help you get the word our to supporters and solicit input and suggestions.  Encourage people to write letters in support of a dog park to public officials and the media and to make presentations to community groups whose backing would be valuable.
3.  Educate your fellow dog owners on the need to be responsible
People who neglect to pick up after their dog or who allow and aggressive or unsocialized animal to run loose can do a lot of damage to your cause and your ultimate chances of success.   Your mission should be twofold: establishing a off leash dog exercise area and promoting responsible canine care.
4.  Write a clear mission statement
Write a mission statement that details the need and purpose of the park, stressing the benefits to dog owners, their canine companions, and the greater community.  A suggested statement: To establish a fenced-in, off-leash dog park where well-behaved canine citizens can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property, or wildlife.  To develop a beautiful, well maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the park’s rules and restrictions.  To view this park as a community project designed to satisfy the needs of dog owners and non-dog owners alike.
5.  Demonstrate Need
Gather statistics on the dogs and their people n your community.  How many dogs would use a dog park?  What are the demographics of the people in our city?  Who currently uses city parks – and who doesn’t?  Downplay the “dog factor” and emphasize people issues.  Remember, dogs don’t play taxes or vote.
6.  Demonstrate Support
Activists found that a simply worded request circulated on a petition, helped convince city officials that there was indeed both a need and widespread public support for a responsibly run dog park.  Place petition gatherers at supermarkets, pet supply stores, and other high-traffic areas.  Enlist the support of local veterinarians, groomers, dog walkers and others who have a real Internet in having a community filled with healthy, well-socialized dogs.  Involve them in gathering petitions, writing letters to the editor of local papers, and generally spreading the word.
7.   Create a Budget
Determine how much it will cost to construct and maintain the park – include costs for grass, fences, garbage removal, lawn maintenance, drinking water, field drainage, lighting, benches, and a pooper scooper area.  Some cities are willing and able to finance a dog park; others would rather share the cost with a group committed to maintaining the park and ensuring the park’s rules.
8.  Solicit the input and seek the approval of significant organizations in your community.
Talk with the proposed park’s neighbors before talking to city hall.  As soon as someone puts up a serious red flag, pay attention to it; don’t ignore it or fight it, and try to come up with a solution.  If it really is impossible to resolve at least you’ll know what you’re up against.   
9.   Be prepared to address a range of concerns…
…including the risk of dog fights, dog bites, increased noise level, parking and traffic problems, and liability and maintenance issues,  Explain why some of these are non-issues and have a plan to address the ones – such as traffic and noise – that are legitimate
10.  Ask your local SPCA for help and a letter of support.
11.  Get to know local officials
Your city council members and the director of your Department of Parks and Recreations.  Attend meetings, join them at fundraisers.  Find our what they need from your to move the dog park forward.
12.  Request a hearing with the city government
When you’re ready, request a hearing to discuss your proposal.  Have two or three carefully selected, knowledgeable, and articulate members of your group present your plan, clearly expressing its many benefits to the community and calmly addressing any concerns.
13.  Be patient
Dealing with city government is rarely a quick deal.  Though you may find yourself running with Fido in the dog park of your dreams within a year, it could just as easily take several years to create.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on the latest for the Fred Anderson Dog Park!

Mar 122012

Here’s a great excerpt from the book Planet Dog by Sandra and Harry Choron.  It’s a greenly colored book full of dog trivia and interesting stories and helpful tips.  If you know someone who is against dog parks, email them this post!

10 Reasons Dog Haters Should Support Dog Parks

Gary Merrick of Southay Dog Parks writes “One of the things that has surprised me since getting involved in promoting dog parks is the fact that some dog haters and off-leash advocates are both arguing the same points from two different perspectives.  The solution is the same for both parties.”  Here are some reasons that dog haters should not oppose off-leash dog parks:

1.  Having well-exercised and mentally stimulated dogs means less barking, less destruction, and generally fewer dog-related problems for your neighborhood.  Wouldn’t it be nice if your next-door neighbor could do something to quiet Spot’s barking.

2.  Since dogs would have their own park, parents of young children wouldn’t have to worry about dogs in the playground.

3.  No more dog poop in the middle of the soccer field.

4.  We could finally move one step closer to reducing the number of serious dog attacks by noting that statistics don’t change after implementing a dog park.  The police and Animal Control can then concentrate their efforts on the aggressive, unsocialized dogs that actually cause these problems.

5.  An uninvited canine participant would no longer interrupt your outdoor activities.

6.  Dogs behind a fence could no longer bite you, attack you, or run through your yard.

7.  Dog-related noise would be limited to park hours (generally seven a.m. until sunset).

8.  Depending on the location and circumstance, the presence of dogs may deter crime or loitering.  Dogs are all bad aren’t they?

9.  Dog haters won’t have to spend nearly as much time calling animal control.

10.  Everyone can enjoy a more harmonious existence.

What do you think?  How would you help dog haters see the benefits to them of a dog park?

Mar 052012

Chicago dog owners probably see some sort of “Curb Your Dog” sign almost everyday.  But what does it mean?  Our friends at the South Poop blog have the answer:

The phrase ‘Curb Your Dog’ originated in the 1930?s in New York City.  Citing (from barrypopik.com) the Chicago Daily Tribune, 4 December 1938, “Mostly About Dogs” by Bob Becker, pg. F10: “Curb Your Dog” Good Advice:
“In New York, truly a doggy city, an ordinance has been passed to make for a cleaner city and at the same time compel the indifferent dog owner to consider public welfare. The ordinance demands that dogs be curbed. There are signs everywhere with the request, “Curb your dog.” It means that owners cannot allow their pets to soil buildings, nor can a dog make a nuisance of himself on the grass of the parkway or on the sidewalk. As a result there are practically no complaints about the dogs soiling sidewalks or grassy places which the public uses.”
That is, ‘Please Curb your Dog’ meant ‘Don’t let your dog do its business on the sidewalk. Let your dog do it in the road’.
Urban Dictionary offers this definition:
How does this translate to you?  It basically means, let your dog do his business in the “gutters” of the street and not in the middle of the sidewalk and clean up after your pet.  Moral of the story?  Don’t be the disrespectful dog neighbor that let’s your dog run wild and doesn’t clean up after them.
You’ve also probably noticed that the Chicago Park District Doggie has gotten a face lift.  He’s lost his heavy chain leash in favor of a chic-er look.  See the before (left) and current (right) signs posted around dog parks, parks, and public spaces.  
For a more in depth analysis on what exactly “curb your dog” means, make sure to check out South Poop.
Feb 272012
Photo Credit

A day at the dog park can be hours of fun for your furry friend, but it can be hard on their feet.  Since most of Chicago’s dog parks are paved, a common problem our dogs face from all that hard running on cement and gravel can be dry, cracked paw pads.  Just like our feet get try, dog’s pads dry out as well.  Paw pads provide traction, absorb shock and help protect little feet from injuries and abrasions.  But sometimes they get a little too dry and rough.  So what can we do for them?  We did a little research and came up with these simple solutions:

    mushers secret paw wax 150x150 Dog Dry Skin   Why Your Dog Has Cracked And Dry Paw Pads

  • If your dog has overly dry or fissured paw pads, consider using a dog balm to help protect and condition them.  Try Growl and Meow Bowser Balm available at Soggy Paws and is fragrance free and all natural.
  • If your dog will be outside for quite a while or doing a lot of running, try a paw wax on the pads and between the toes.  It can help protect against sand burn, hot pavement, and salt burn during the winter months.  My Dog Dry Skin.com recommends Musher’s Secret Paw Wax, which contains vitamin E to help moisturize, is all natural, and has great user reviews on Amazon.com.
  • If your dog’s paws seem tender, have your dog wear booties outside until the paws get better.  If they are especially prone to getting sore paws or get little snow balls stuck to their paws in the winter, consider getting booties for walks during the winter months.  You can even try infant socks.
  • Wash your dogs paws regularly to remove sidewalk dust or winter salt, especially after trips to the park or romps in the snow.
Please make sure to see your vet if your dog seems to be in pain, bleeding, avoiding using a one paw, limping, or  constantly licking or biting their paws.  
Have you used any of these remedies?  How do you keep your dog’s paw pads healthy?  Share your tips and tricks with us!

My Dog Dry Skin
Doctor Dog
Happy Tails Spa
Big Dog Boutique

Feb 232012
Photo Credit

Are you attending the International Kennel Club of Chicago Benched Dog Show this year?  Dog shows are a great time to celebrate all the pooches in your life whether pure breed or mixed breed.   This year’s Chicago Dog Show is this weekend, February 24, 25, and 26, 2012 at the McCormick Place and is an open to the public show and competition for canine owners and enthusiasts.  There are benched shows and shopping galore.

Never been to a dog show?  Here are our top seven tips for getting the most out of your show experience:

1.  Dog Shows are basically a process of elimination culminating with the Best in Show.  Pick your favorite dog and route for them for Best in Show.
2.  Leave the pooches at home, the Chicago IKC Show is for people only (but you can buy your dog some great souvenirs to take home).
3.  Do not pet dogs without permission.
4.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.  You’ll be doing a lot of walking and the McCormick Place can get toasty with lots of people, so leave the bulky winter coat at home or use the coat check.
5.   If the grooming area is open to spectators, don’t be afraid to talk with professional groomers for tips on keeping your dog looking great.
6.  Likewise, talk with breeders and exhibitors if you’re considering adding a purebred puppy into your life.  They are usually experts in specific breeds and can have a wealth of knowledge.
7.  How to dress?  You see everything from jeans to tuxedos.  If you’re just visiting and watching the show or shopping, dress comfortably.  

Tickets for the Chicago Dog Show are available at the door for $15 per adult, $12 for Children on Friday, and $18 for adults on Saturday and Sunday.  The IKC website has a $2 off printable coupon as well.

Want some more information?  Here are some great sites to check out:
Akc.org – Great tips and glossaries of terminology 
ThePoop.com – Tips geared for Westminster, but most are applicable everywhere.

Are you planning on attending?  Share your photos with us on our facebook page!

Dec 082011

Well, we finally have some concrete information about the $4 million budget figure that has been floated previously. 
Included in the funding ordinance titled “Intergovernmental agreement and associated conveyance of property to Chicago Park District” which was submitted to the City Council on 11/16/11 and which is now under consideration by the Committee on Finance, is an ‘Exhibit D’.


“The current estimate of the cost of the Project is $3,985,000. The Park District has delivered to the Commissioner a project budget for the Project attached as Exhibit D attached hereto and hereby made a part hereof.”

And here are the numbers:

Estimated Cost Uses Budget
$1,500,000 Environmental
$255,000 DFA features
$250,000 Bridge
$215,000 Design fees
$200,000 Art enhancements
$155,000 Surfacing (softscape, berm, artificial turf)
$150,000 Stormwater /utilities
$150,000 Shade Shelter/Pavillion (with heat)
$130,000 Surfacing
$130,000 Landscaping
$125,000 Paving
$115,000 Fencing
$110,000 Site Furnishings
$100,000 Enhanced topography through park
$100,000 Concrete retaining wall terrace / seating
$75,000 Site Lighting
$65,000 ROW reconstruction items
$75,000 Irrigations system
$75,000 Multi-colored art turf pattern
$10,000 Kiosk/Bulletin Board
Total: $3,985,000 

Nov 182011

A DFA committee was organized last winter, in consultation with the Alderman’s office, in order to organize support for the proposed dog park and to provide input into the park design. We plan to serve as the CPD-mandated ‘DFA committee’ once the dog park is built.

As you may know, the configuration and design of the 16th & Wabash park is not finalized. Another public meeting is planned, but not yet scheduled. The project was delayed while the funding was secured, the land transferred, and there has also been a change of personnel at the Chicago Park District. The new Project Manager for the 16th & Wabash park is still getting up to speed, and we hope to be meeting with him in the next week along with representatives of the Alderman’s office. Immediately after that meeting we will be scheduling a meeting of our committee in order to provide an update to you, the community.

There are many ways you can get more involved and help with the quest to have a fantastic Dog Friendly Area (DFA) as a major part of this new park, including signing petitions and writing letters to the Chicago Park District and Alderman Fioretti’s office, and just spreading the word on the street and through social media.

However, to coordinate this effort we also need to get more people involved with the activities of the DFA committee, right away!!

We particularly need people who are willing to commit some time, and who can bring one or all of the following skills to the table:

  • Talking to people on the street, distributing flyers
  • Maintaining the website and social media
  • Writing petitions and letters
  • Meeting with politicians and their representatives.
Right now, all of these tasks are being handled by only a few people. The dog park at 16th & Wabash is too important; the more we get directly involved in our committee’s efforts, the better. So we ask that if you might be able to make even a small commitment, please send an email to dogpark1625@gmail.com, and let us know how you want to get more involved.

In the meantime –

And, tell your friends and neighbors that only with a strong effort from the community will the large dog friendly area that we all support become a reality!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Nov 092011

Recently there’s been some press about the new Acadia restaurant that’s scheduled for a December opening in the building south of the 16th & Wabash park. Acadia looks to be a fine restaurant! But these quotes are particularly interesting in light of the lack of communication about the park in recent months –

From Eater:

“…four large windows will look out on a 1.2-acre park, which the city will soon renovate to feature pedestrian space, a dog run and a bandshell for live music.”

From GrubStreet:

“Acadia will have one of the few views in town that will actually be more green space than Yellow Cab. (Yes, there will be patio seating in the summer.)”

 Sloopin has a post as well.

Nov 062011
Please click the buttons below to sign our petitions in support of a large dog friendly area at the proposed 16th & Wabash Fred Anderson Park! 

The Proposed Fred Anderson Park is located between 16th and 18th Streets on Wabash Avenue in the South Loop. As the design for the park develops, the dog friendly area (DFA) is shrinking while the Park District allocates space to a gathering plaza and a covered performance stage. We have enough people parks! Let the people with furry ones have their space! Join us in giving a voice to those of us with four-legged friends and petition for 75% of the park be a dog friendly area!

Make the proposed Fred Anderson/ CPD “Park No. 561” (on the East side of Wabash between 16th and 18th Streets), ENTIRELY dog friendly utilizing natural grass and trees. This dilapidated land, originally acquired for that purpose, has been shrinking with subsequent renderings. The South Loop’s large and ever-growing number of dog owners, have very few suitable areas to exercise and interact with their pets and neighbors. Appealing dog parks build community, improve neighborhoods, and increase property values. Dog Friendly Areas (DFAs) may be enjoyed by everyone. 

Oct 282011

The South Loop Dog PAC has been monitoring development of the 16th Wabash dog park proposal:

6.21.11 Fred Anderson Park Development Plans

4.28.11 16th & Wabash Dog Park Proposal Shrinks 33%

12.3.10 Dog Park Proposals for 16th & Wabash

The Sloopin blog has also mentioned developments:

11.15.10 Public Meeting for Proposed Park at 16th and Wabash

8.8.10 A Dog Park at 16th and Wabash?

And the Chicago Journal:

10.5.11 South Loop’s 16th and Wabash Park moving forward

4.20.11 New plan coming for Wabash dog park

12.15.10 Vacant lot goes to the dogs

Oct 072011

An article was released on October 5 about the Park District asking for $4 million in TIF money to develop the park. See it here:
Chicago Journal Article

Big question: Why $4 million? What is the breakdown of the cost of the park?

Oct 072011

[Archived from Proposed Fred Anderson Dog Park 16thwabashdogpark.blogspot.com]

Welcome to the blog — you’ll find information here about the proposed dog park at 16th Street and Wabash in the South Loop. We are starting this blog so the community has a space to discuss the plans and to give the Dog Friendly Area (DFA) Committee a voice.

Did you know that as the design of the park progresses, the DFA area has been shrinking? The park is supposed to be a dog park, an area where we can interact as dog owners and build a community. The new plans have the DFA area shunted to the side in favor of a performance stage and a meeting plaza.

This is a call to action! If you care about keeping preserving the park as a DFA please subscribe to us and voice your opinion here and on Facebook and Twitter. Those accounts will be linked to this blog as soon as we set them up.

We are fired up, we are ready to fight for the space for our dogs — JOIN US!