Unleashed and loving it

Parks like Ashley Memorial allow canines to run free
By: Paul Cambra Journal Staff Writer
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Dogs are social animals. Unfortunately, they’re rarely invited to parties. Where then does your average pooch meet and greet – albeit nose to rear – fellow bone buriers in the area? In Auburn, the place to go is Ashley Memorial Dog Park, located on Auburn Ravine Road, in back of Ashford Park. Here, among the faux fireplugs and wading pools all in a row, is a tail-wagger’s paradise that even the pets’ owners enjoy. “Most people learn the dogs’ names before the people’s names,” said Debbie Barden of Auburn, who says she brings her flat-coat retriever Dusty, “as often as I can. The dogs have their own friends.” Once new arrivals get past the tail-sniffing welcome waggin’ at the entrance, they are free to roam unleashed, and mingle at their leisure with both man and beast. “Heidi is a very social dog,” said Warren Tellefson of his golden retriever. “She’ll work her way down the benches to greet all the people sitting there.” Tellefson, of Auburn, is one of the many volunteers who helped build the park, which was funded entirely from private donations – including labor and materials – and completed last year at almost no cost to taxpayers. He brings Heidi and his Australian shepherd, Sam, regularly to take advantage of the park’s amenities. With separate sections for both large and small dogs, a splash pond and agility play area, rare is the hound that won’t have fun here. A donation box collects money to help pay for waste bags. And bricks with personalized messages line the walkway, commemorating canines past and present, or just about anyone the contributor wishes to remember. The nonprofit Ashley Memorial Dog Park Foundation oversees its day-to-day workings “It’s not just a dog park, it’s a park for people with dogs,” said Laura Pinnick, the foundation’s director. “The community really came through on this. It’s turned out to be more than we envisioned.” Pinnick tosses a ball for Ringo, her Labrador, as she offers advice to newcomers. “If it’s the first time for your dog, you should think about coming when it’s slow, to get your dog used to it,” Pinnick said. That would be midday, when high temperatures keep many dog owners at home. Early mornings and late afternoons seem to be peak hours, when there can be up to 40 dogs at play. “It’s also important to spay your dog first, since a male will give off a scent that makes them aggressive and will evoke a response from other dogs,” Pinnick said. She also suggests unleashing them in the designated entrance area before you enter the park. For a dog owner, there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching your pent-up pup let loose among his peers. But this no-leash zone is not without rules. All dogs must be licensed and current on their vaccinations to join the fun. They must be non-aggressive and responsive to their owners’ voice control. And dogs that are sick, have fleas or are in heat need not apply. Other than that, it’s a field day, literally, for canines and their companions. “We ask those that use the park to donate $1 a week or purchase one brick a year,” Pinnick said. “It helps pay for the waste bags.” That’s not a lot to ask for a safe place to play and socialize your pet. Keeping up on the kibble is one thing, but frequent trips to the dog park are what earn man a best friend. --------------------- What: Ashley Memorial Dog Park Where: 1601 Auburn Ravine Road, back of Ashford Park When: Park closes at dusk Info: (530) 887-9993, (530) 885-8461 ext. 54, ------------------------------------- Rules for Rover • Dogs must be leashed prior to entering and upon leaving the dog park. • All dog handlers must carry a leash. • Dogs must be under voice control and be in sight of their handler • Limit of three dogs allowed per handler • You are responsible for your actions and those of your dog(s) and children • Any dog(s) exhibiting aggression must be immediately removed from the park • Children less than 15 years of age must be supervised by a responsible adult • All dogs must display current license and be at least 6 months of age • Dogs that are sick, in heat or having fleas or ticks are not permitted • Consumption of alcohol and food, the use of glass containers and smoking are not allowed • Pond and dog equipment is for dog play only. People are not allowed in pond or on the dog equipment at any time • All personal/dog items must be removed when leaving park or they will be discarded or disposed • ARD may close any part of the dog park at any time for maintenance, repair and safety, said closure(s) may require sharing of either dog-play area - Information courtesy ---------------------------------------------- how to help the dog park The Ashley Memorial Dog Park Foundation is financially responsible for waste bags and any improvements. Your tax-deductible cash donation will help maintain the park and add improvements. Contributions may be sent to: Ashley Memorial Dog Park Foundation, 565 Riverview Drive, Auburn, CA 95603.