Jul 162012

Many people say that it is unfair to have a dog if you don’t have a yard for them to run in.

When we lived in New Jersey, neighborhood dogs who had yards to run in rarely if ever ran around.

Even worse, people who had yards to let dogs run around in never took their dogs for walks. The dogs asked to go outside, did their business, and asked to go back in. There was no exercising and very little socializing.

It was not until I moved to an apartment community that I saw well-exercised and well-socialized dogs on a large scale.

Here is a brief list of the benefits we have discovered of apartment-dwelling dogs:

Walks — This may sound simple, but there is no let-the-dog-out option when you live in an apartment. Apartment dogs must be taken out on a leash for a walk at least a couple of times a day, every single day. This provides opportunities for exercise and socializing for both your dog and you.

Dog walkers — Yes, there are dog-walking services in more suburban or even rural areas. The caveat to that is that the dog walker may not be centrally located, and so you will need to consider the travel time he or she would need to get to you on short notice. In an apartment community, especially one that has a liberal pet policy, a dog-walker could have multiple clients in the community, and will likely live locally. That can be a great thing. We have a couple of really good dog walkers right here in our building.

Playdates — Once you and your dog make “friends” with your neighbors, you can invite them to meet at set times to walk together, you can make dates to meet at the dog park, or you can offer to watch each other’s dogs when the need arises. We love having doggie houseguests. As a matter of fact, we are hanging out with our neighbor, Hank, for two weeks while his mom is travelling. Stay tuned later in the week to read a profile of Hank.

Networking — This is the best of the best of benefits of having an apartment dog. In a community that allows dogs, there will likely be a lot of dogs and a lot of dog owners to share ideas with. Through your dog neighbors, you will learn about local pet stores and services, including dog walkers; you will hear about what foods and medicines and toys work best and which don’t work well at all; you will learn about products and illnesses and cures that you would not otherwise have access to. It is a tremendous benefit and an invaluable resource.

I think my dogs have a pretty good life now that we are apartment dwellers!

Jill Aronson is an SLDogPAC  board member who lives in the South Loop with her dog Leo.
© 2010 Jill Aronson. This article originally appeared at Examiner.com. 


May 142012
Photo by Federico Stevanin 

Luckily, our dog beach is open year round in Chicago, but more pooches feel inclined to visit when the weather gets warmer.  Want to take your pup to the beach?  Here’s what to know before you go.  Below are the official rules from the Mondog Montrose Beach.  Click on the links for more information.  And of course, don’t forget to brush up on your Dog Park Etiquette with our post from last week.  These rules are worth a read for any pre-beach trip.  As the Mondog website points out, “what is considered acceptable behavior at home, is not necessarily at the Dog Beach.

1.No food on the Dog Beach.   

2. PROMPTLY clean up All dog waste. Please discourage your dog from
“WATER POOPING”, as it is strictly forbidden. 

3. No Prong or Pinch Collars

4. Dogs should play with dogs of appropriate size and energy level.

5. Immediately leash and remove dogs exhibiting aggressive or
potentially dangerous behavior

6. Respect other dog owners requests to separate your dogs!

7. Close the gate behind you!

8. No unaccompanied dogs and no more than 3 dogs per adult.

9. No muzzled dogs.

10. Dogs only on the beach…no other pets allowed.

11. Dog Toys are shared, whether you like it or not.

12. Toys left on beach are garbage.

13. If it’s unattended on the ground, it’s fair game.

14. ON or OFF LEASH?


16. No Kites within the Dog Beach.

Another thing to consider?  Make sure your dog has a good recall.  The park is fenced in, but some users have claimed their dogs can get out where the fence meets the water.  Be on the safe side and practice coming when called with your pup on a regular basis.

Have anything to add?  Please leave a comment!  Has your pooch been to the beach?  What did you both think?

May 072012

When the weather gets warmer…more dogs come out to play!  So now is a good time to review the rules and etiquette for taking Fido to the park.  Most important of course is to make sure your dog is properly vaccinated and socialized.  Puppies under 4 months, dogs without all their shots, and aggressive or extremely timid dogs are best to avoid the dog park.

The best way to insure a good time for all, be respectful of your park (clean up after your dog) and always watch your dog.  Make sure your pooch isn’t playing too rough or cowering in fear under the park bench.  Always be there to protect your dog.

That said, here are the official rules for Chicago’s dog parks – click on the link for more information from the MonDog Website:

1.  Owners are legally responsible for their dogs and any injuries caused by their dogs.

2.  Owners must remain with and watch their dogs at all times.

3.  Dogs must be leashed prior to and upon leaving the DFA.

4.  Owners must immediately clean up after their dogs.

5.  Dogs with a known history of, or who exhibit, dangerous behavior are prohibited.

6.  Dogs must be healthy, fully immunized, dewormed, and licensed.

7.  No dog will be allowed in a DFA unless it has a current rabies vaccination.

8.  Dog owners are responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of the DFA.

9.  Owners or other responsible persons must have a DFA permit with them for each dog visiting the DFA.

10.  Each dog visiting a DFA must display a current Chicago Park District DFA tag.

11.  DFA permits expire on December 31 of the year that it is issued.

12.  Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult; younger children must be closely supervised.

13.  Only three dogs per person allowed.

14.  Puppies under four months old and female dogs in heat are prohibited.

15.  Failure to comply with the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control Regulation for Chicago Park District DFAs can result in a fine.

Onto Etiquette…our dog parks will only continue to thrive if we are compassionate and considerate of our dog park neighbors.

*Clean up after your dog
*Don’t bring people food into the park
*Always ask before feeding another dog a treat
*Don’t discipline another person’s dog, but do remove your dog from an aggressive or inappropriate situation.
*Play with your dog and pay attention to him, but don’t forget to let him socialize with the other dogs.
*If you see another dog and their parent about to leave, call your dog over so they can leave easily. 
*Always shut the gate behind you.
*Talk to people – chat about your puppies and give other dog parents a heads up if you’ve been there for a while and noticed anything unusual or a dog that could be potentially aggressive.
*Fill the water bowl, take the time to rinse out the bowl and fill it with fresh water if it’s been sitting there for a while.

Did we forget anything?  What other tips can you think of for making our dog parks a better place?

Apr 302012
Photo by Maggie Smith – freedigitalphotos.net

Waiting for our new park to be finalized and built can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember the success stories that came before.  Here’s a particularly nice piece about Chicago success in creating dog parks from Good News for Pets.  It was written a while ago, before the Montrose Beach even, but it’s a nice read to feel optimistic – just look how far the city has come in a few short years.

Establishing a Dog Park: A Chicago Success Story
By Steve Dale

Just four years, ago there wasn’t a single safe place in this city of more than 750,000 dogs to legally play off a leash. Now, there are ten dog friendly areas with more on the way, including dog friendly beach spaces, which will sprout up along the shores of Lake Michigan next spring.
Chicago’s recipe for creating dog friendly green places requires grass roots neighborhood support. Dog owners and non-dog owners work together creating solutions to problems where they live.

Mayor Richard M. Daley barks, “Most dog owners are responsible people. Like anything else, you have to give opportunities to those people who prove they are responsible. They deserve a place for their dogs to walk and swim. It’s all part of getting along with one another in a big city.”

Read the full story here.

Apr 232012


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

Getting dog parks built takes a lot of support!  Luckily for us, the South Loop Dog PAC (which stands for Dog Park Action Cooperative) has taken the new 16th & Wabash dog park under it’s umbrella, which will make getting support for the new park much easier than if we had gone it alone.  But what is a dog pac?

A dog pac, or park action cooperative, is a membership based all volunteer, non-profit group of dog lovers that helps advocate for our four legged friends in the city.  They’re headed by an 8 member board Here’s the South Loop Dog PAC’s mission

The South Loop Dog PAC advocates for and supports responsible dog-ownership in Chicago’s South Loop.  We provide and maintain safe off-leash areas for dogs and humans to socialize in area parks, and we work to encourage healthy and mutually beneficial dog-human relationships in the community.  

Today, the SLDogPAC is responsible for maintaining the South Loop DFAs, as well as planning and financially supporting any improvements or changes to the dog parks. In addition, the SLDogPAC continues to promote responsible dog ownership, providing socializing opportunities for our dogs and their people, as well as educational information. 

So what do they do?  In 2011, The South Loop Dog PAC:

  • Purchased 20 tons of gravel for Grant Bark Park and installed the 250 feet of gravel retaining mesh in the park.
  • Requested repairs at Coliseum Park Dog Run to get the drains leveled and fences repaired – which are underway now.
  • Organized clean up events at both parks
  • Worked as a liaison with the Chicago Park District for the creation of our new dog park to be created at 16th & Wabash Avenue.
  • Installed a bulletin board at Grant Bark Park
  • Continuously refilled the poo bag dispensers at both parks – 50 times – which is like 20,000 bags!
As you can see, the South Loop Dog PAC is instrumental in creating and maintaining dog parks in Chicago.  If you see their value as much as we do – AND want to help us get our dog park built, please consider becoming a member of the South Loop Dog PAC.  Membership is as little as $40 and comes with a free t-shirt!  Your dog will thank you.
You can also buy a t-shirt, join the mailing list, or follow them on facebook and twitter as well.


Apr 162012
Our Meet & Greet with the South Loop Dog PAC was a success!  Lots of dogs got in some quality romping and free treats while their human companions learned about the new dog park, became SL Dog PAC members, and munched on chips and guac!  Check out some photos we snapped at the event then hop over to our facebook page to see more photos (and don’t forget to click “Like” if you haven’t already).  
Special thanks to DoGone Fun! for donating the space and doggie treats.  We hope to see everyone at our next event!

10 Ways to Go Green with Your Pet for Earth Day

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Apr 162012

Earth day is this Sunday, so what better time to talk about going green with you pup.  The most recent issue of Healthy Pet from Chicago VCAs had a great page devoted to going green with your pet, dogs and cats included.  We only have one planet, so everyone (including Fifi and Fido) should help to keep it looking beautiful.  No matter how big or small your pets are, they impact the environment too.

Photo from PetSide.com

Here are 10 Ways to Go Green from Healthy Pet:
1. Adopt from a Shelter – Why buy a pet when you can adopt one of the millions of cats and dogs that enter shelters each year?
2.  Spay or Neuter Your Pet – By spaying or neutering you’re preventing more homeless pets from being added to the population.
3.  Repurpose What You Own – Old blankets and pillows can become a new dog bed.  The lonely sock that lost its mate can become a catnip toy.
4.  Turn Poop Green – Most of our pet’s poop ends up preserved in plastic bags in a landfill – use biodegradable bags and scoop poop often.
5.  Protect Plants & Wildlife – Keep your dog on a leash when you’re outside and keep your cat indoors.  Dogs may chase and catch wild animals or damage delicate habitats through good-natured romping and relieving themselves.
6.  Shop Sustainable Goods – When shopping for toys and accessories look for products made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers like hemp or bamboo.  Take time to read labels.
7.  Use Natural Products – Clean up after your pet with products that are gentle on the planet and your pet’s senses.  Read the labels!
8.  Make Your Own Treats – Natural and healthy treats for dogs include carrots, popcorn (hold the butter and salt), and select raw veggies.  Always consult your veterinarian first.
9.  Offset Their Paw Print – Purchase renewable energy credits to offset your pet’s carbon emissions.
10.  Go Digital – Ask your vet about microchipping (mandatory in Chicago).  Also, ask to receive statements, bills, etc. from the vet via email instead of printing paper copies.

Two other “green” pet thoughts we might add? 

Make sure to shop local, your local pet shops like Krisers and Soggy Paws in the South Loop usually by items from local or close to local vendors and often focus on natural, healthy, and eco themed accessories and treats – think natural by-product free food from Fromm’s based in Wisconsin.

Also, consider donating slightly used toys, blankets, towels, and more to your local shelters.  The Anti-Cruelty Society and Paws Chicago both happily accept donations of goods to keep shelter pets happy.  If your dog doesn’t play with a toy anymore, why not recycle/reduce/reuse it by passing it on to a pet in need.

Happy Earth Month!

What are some ways you go green with your pet?

Dog Friendly Meet & Greet This Sunday

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Apr 122012

Make sure you stop by the Dog Friendly Meet & Greet this Sunday at DoGone Fun in the South Loop!  We’ll be on hand to answer any and all your questions about the new Fred Anderson Dog Park or help you join the South Loop Dog PAC (If you join on Sunday, you get a free t-shirt!)  We hope to see you, and your pooch, this Sunday!
April 16, 2012
11am – 3pm.

The Dog Lover’s Companion to Chicago

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Apr 092012

Looking for a book to help you navigate Chicago with your pup?  Check out The Dog Lover’s Companion to Chicago.  It’s a great little book that breaks down the city by section and shares dog friendly places and tips.  The latest edition is a few years old, so you’ll have to double check the places and events listed.  Fingers crossed they’ll come out with an updated version soon!

Check out what they said about the South Loop:

“Residents of the South Loop, some of the most active dog owners in the city, believe there are more dogs in their little neck of the urban woods than in any other neighborhood in the city.  The city clerk’s office doesn’t track pet ownership by neighborhood, so there’s no way to know for sure, but there;s certainly no shortage of friendly furry faces.  South Loop Dog PAC, a neighborhood group of dog owners that created a dog-friendly oasis in the urban jungle, noticed all the canine actions…as well as that dog owners learn each other’s dog’s names before they bother to learn the human’s names.”

They give Grant Bark Park 4 paws up!  Let’s hope our new dog park is open when the next edition of this book comes out.  What are your favorite South Loop dog places?

Apr 022012
Photo Credit: Idea Go

We recently read Planet Dog: A Doglopedia and loved it.  It’s a great collection of fun dog facts, stories, and info.  Ever wondered about the dogs that were first on the scene on 9/11?  Curious about sled racing, canine acting dogs like Lassie, or Dave Berry’s thoughts on dog behavior?  Check this book out.  A great section we liked reading was “astrology for dog people.”  Here’s what Stacey Wolf, a well public author of psychic books, a stand up comedian, and known for her spot on readings of celebrity, sport, and political predictions had to say about what dog breed’s characteristic you have based on your astrological sign.

Find your inner dog breed

Aries: Jack Russel Terrier.  You’re friendly, very feisty, and completely untrainable.  You have boundless energy to run around and mess things up!  You also like to be the center of attention.

Taurus: Saint Bernard.  You are a big, mushy, loveable, slobbery kind soul.  You love to work and help people with a lick and a smile.  Let’s not forget your stubborn streak, once you get your paws into something, you’re not likely to go soon.

Gemini: Yorkie.  You are really cute, bouncy, very yappy, and best of all, you have really well groomed hair – with accessories to match.

Cancer: Chihuahua.  Everyone things you’re all cute and cuddly, until they get into your space and you want to bite their head off.  “Ruff, don’t touch my bone.”

Leo: Great Dane.  The king of all dogs,  You do everything larger than life, from the way you walk to the way you play. You command attention and have a big, loud bark!

Virgo: Westie.  The dog in you is stubborn and pleasing.  You were once the cutest and best groomed pooches around, and you love to work too.  Once you get into a good bone, you can dissect the thing for hours with energy and determination.

Libra: Greyhound.  Your inner dog is both graceful and classic.  If you had it your way, you wouldn’t use your speed for racing – you’d run from one party to another.  You don’t like to work – just to play.

Scorpio: German Shepherd.  As the master of the universe you are the most intense breed.  You inspire both awe and fear.  YOu are cautious around strangers but love your best friends.  You strut with an air of mystery.

Sagittarius:  Golden Retriever.  One of the friendliest breeds, you love everyone you come into contact with equally.  You are always up for new adventures, but love to come home for a good nap at the end of the day.

Capricorn: Pug.  You are cute and cuddly but balance that with a feisty independent streak.  You are mostly good natured, but every once in a while you give a loud snort if something isn’t going your way.

Aquarius:  Miniature Schnauzer.  You’ve definitely got a mind of your own, but no one can really understand what’s going on in there!  You are cautious with strangers and like to bark a lot – sometimes about nothing.  Opinionated and adventurous, you are always up for a good sniff.

Pisces:  Toy Poodle.  You just want to cuddle up to someone you love all dat long, do nothing, get carried everywhere, and never let your feet touch the ground.  Being treated like a princess or prince isn’t bad either.

What was your dog breed according to the stars?  Do you agree?  Does it describe you?

Mar 262012
Photo from South Loop Dog PAC

We all know about the benefits for dogs in dog parks (like socialization, excursive, stimulation, etc) but what about some of those less obvious reasons?  Dog parks offer a host of benefits…even to those that don’t have a canine companion or choose not to use the park at all.  Here are our top three favorite unexpected benefits to building a dog park.

1.  Green Space – Trees give us necessary oxygen and plants have been proven over and over again to make people happy, literally.  Wouldn’t you rather a vacant lot be turned into a place for greenery than remain vacant, weed filled, and a collection space for debris and trash?

2.  Less Poop – As you know, abandoned dog poo is a problem (if you don’t already know – just check out South Poop to learn all about the South Loop poop epidemic), but give all those doggies a place to play and poop, and their owners some free bags, and they’ll be less poop on the sidewalks.  Plus, dog owners are more likely to pick up their dogs poop (or even someone else’s) inside a dog park than a random lot or sidewalk.

3.  Safer Parks for Kids – A common parent complaint is about the danger off leash dogs pose to children playing in parks.  They’re worried Fido will knock over their little tot as he frolics in the grass.  With a designated place for dogs to play, kids can roam without fear of being disturbed by dogs, and vice versa.  Running dogs probably don’t like kids getting in their way either.   And building more and more dog parks mean that people will be able to use them with ease and not have to resort to letting their dogs off leash in people parks.

Can you think of any other unexpected benefits of dog parks?

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!

Feb 052012

Julie Walsh’s 2011 book ‘Unleashed Fury – The Political Struggle for Dog-Friendly Parks‘ is highly recommended. If you don’t like reading thoughtful academic-tinged texts (the author is an associate professor of political science), you might find it tl;dr, but do try to read through the first two chapters!  The book was reviewed in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of The Bark magazine.

If you’ve read the book and have comments or thoughts, please add them in the Comments section here. We may try to put together a more thorough review of the issues raised by this important book later this year.

 Posted by on February 5, 2012
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!