Suzette Vida, the city of Suffolk’s outdoor recreation specialist, gives a tour of the new Lake Meade Dog Park, which opens to the public on Saturday.
Suzette Vida, the city of Suffolk’s outdoor recreation specialist, gives a tour of the new Lake Meade Dog Park, which opens to the public on Saturday.

Dogs, rejoice!

Published 9:59pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tucked behind the Farm Fresh shopping center, in a clearing amid pine woods, Suffolk has created a special place for dogs, where they can run free and naked of any leash.

At least they can beginning this Saturday, when the new Lake Meade Dog Park officially opens to the public.

“What we are hoping for the park is a place for people to bring their pets and let them run around without having to worry about being hit by cars,” said Suzette Vida, the city’s outdoor recreation specialist.

Vida gave a reporter a tour of the facility Tuesday.

The dog park features two sturdily fenced enclosures, one for dogs 30 pounds and larger and the other for smaller pooches.

It has agility equipment, benches for humans, doggy-doo cleanup stations and plenty of parking.

According to Vida, membership to the dog park will cost $10 per animal, and owners are supplied with a code to open the gates.

But there are some requirements:

4The dog owner purchasing membership must be at least 18.

4Male dogs aged 1 and over must be neutered.

4Dogs must be at least four months old.

4Proof of animal registration with a dog tag number from the city or county of residency.

4Current vaccination certificate documenting immunizations with expiration dates for rabies, bordetella, distemper and parvovirus.

4Tags must be displayed on dogs at all times while at the park.

And it’s not all the absolute unleashed emancipation of the dogs; a brochure with rules and regulations is at www.suffolkva.us/files/5114/0208/0106/lakemeaddogparkbrochure.pdf.

Dogs can be registered at the park during the “Dog Day of Summer” grand opening event, from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, featuring dog-related vendors, animal adoptions, search-and-rescue demonstrations, a doggy photo booth, doggy cool-down stations and more.

Dogs can also be registered at the Parks and Recreation Administrative Office, 134 S. Sixth St., Fridays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., or at the Lake Meade Park Ranger Station, 301 Holly Lawn Parkway, Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m., or on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until noon.

Lake Meade is adjacent to the dog park on the other side of the woods, and Vida said that the future Lake Meade trail will tie in with the new canine facility.

“It’s going to be a really good place to socialize,” Vida said. “In the future, we hope a community of people will build up out here, and we’ll start dog-related programs.”

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