Archived Story

Freedom for Fido

Published 10:18pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Saturday will be a big day in Suffolk for the city’s canine citizens, and for the families that love them. Suffolk’s first dog park is scheduled for a grand opening Saturday morning, and tails are positively wagging with anticipation.

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 of any leash. The Lake Meade Dog Park features two sturdily fenced enclosures, one for dogs 30 pounds and larger and the other for smaller pooches. Inside those enclosures awaits agility equipment, benches for human companions, doggy-doo cleanup stations and plenty of room to romp.

“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,” Suzette Vida, the city’s outdoor recreation specialist, told a reporter during a tour this week.

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. The dog owner purchasing membership must be at least 18. Male dogs aged 1 and over must be neutered. Dogs must be at least four months old. All licenses, immunizations and shots must be current. And tags must be displayed on dogs at all times while at the park.

There are a few other rules, too, which are available in a brochure available on the city’s website or at the time of registration, which can be accomplished on Saturday at the park, at the Lake Meade ranger station or at the Parks and Recreation office.

But Fido won’t notice the rules. He’s going to be too busy enjoying his freedom.

The “Dog Day of Summer” grand opening event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, featuring dog-related vendors, animal adoptions, search-and-rescue demonstrations, a doggy photo booth, doggy cool-down stations and more.

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