The Hawkesbury Dog Park celebrates its fourth anniversary this year. But dedicated volunteers who raised $22,000 to create the park on land belonging to the Town of Hawkesbury are still hard at work. These days, Danielle Larocque and Lynda Besner are focusing their efforts on community awareness to ensure the park is being used by dog owners and to a lesser extent, fundraising and volunteer recruitment are also on their agenda. (The town, they note, has been generous with its support, including assisting with fence repairs when needed and allowing volunteers to make photocopies as needed.)
Dogs need to socialize just as much as humans do, points out Danielle Larocque.
“We are happy to be celebrating four years of happy dogs,” she says, explaining that the dog park is the perfect opportunity for dog owners and dogs to socialize.
It’s one thing to live in the country where your dog can run free, but it’s also important to socialize your dogs, Larocque explains. The 24,000-square-foot park has an area dedicated to small dogs (10,000 square feet) and another for smaller and larger dogs, Besner says.
Sometimes, it seems, a dog can forget how to play and get along with other dogs, Besner says. The Hawkesbury Dog Park is the place to re-introduce your dog to other dogs, she says. And it is also a chance for dog owners to get to know each other.
To enjoy the Hawkesbury Dog Park, which the women say is the only one of its kind in this region, you need a $15 licence from the Town of Hawkesbury. And you don’t have to be a town resident to enjoy the dog park with your pet, notes Besner.
The women say they take care of the park and ensure that picnic tables, benches, chairs, etc. are out for dog owners and in the fall, those are stored for the winter and a tempo is installed as a shelter for pet owners. A wooden container has earth in it to fill the holes made by the dogs.
While there was a reserve of funds remaining after the group’s fundraising efforts to create the Hawkesbury Dog Park (creating the park cost $19,000 of the $22,000 raised), those funds are almost gone after four years and there is now talk of more fundraising along with the group being open to accepting donations. In addition, volunteers might be needed if the agility introduction classes grow.
Besner and Larocque also manage a Facebook page for the park and a website, too. And they have created a second website, called www.hawkesburydog.com, which has resource information for dog owners, including lists of veterinarians, dog breeders, first aid information for dogs and other useful information for dog owners.
The Parc Canin de Hawkesbury Dog Park is offering something new this season. Introductory sessions to dog agility are taking place during July, August and September at the dog park. Larocque says this is the perfect opportunity for dog owners to see if their dogs enjoy agility training. The fee is only $2 per one-hour session. Those participating should bring a collar and leash for their dogs, along with fresh water and a bag of small pieces of your dog’s favourite treat, says Larocque. If pets and their owners discover that they are enjoying the agility classes, they can then sign up with local agility trainers, say the volunteers.
Dog agility sessions will take place as follows: Tuesday, July 3 from 7 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Tuesday, August 7 from 7 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, August 19 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Tuesday, September 4 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 16 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. You can reserve for the agility classes by emailing [email protected] or by calling Danielle at 819-242-9216.
You can email Besner or contact Larocque if you need more information about the Hawkesbury Dog Park.