Monday, April 30, 2012

Dog Park Success Stories

Photo by Maggie Smith -
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.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What is a Dog PAC?

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.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Successful Meet & Greet at DoGone Fun

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

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
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?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dog Friendly Meet & Greet This Sunday

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.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Dog Lover's Companion to Chicago

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 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?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dog People Astrology - Find your inner dog breed

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?