Jayadeva's Brooklyn: Dogs, Babies and Love in Sunset Park

My life in Brooklyn, now with my baby, and fellow dog lover, by my side.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Where Dogs Run Free

Running Free

(Thanks again, Darwin Wiggett for the running dog photo!)

Jaya and I found each other in Boulder, Colorado, in the Boulder Humane Society (http://www.boulderhumane.org/index.html). There, we were introduced to each other in the play yard out back, where, honestly, she showed a lot of interest in the goat and geese behind the fence than in me. We had a good time that first day and continued to along the many mountain trails of the Rockies. Boulder is a progressive city. Dogs were allowed off the leash on trails, as long as they "had recall," or would come to their owner when called. Jaya did this right off the bat, within her own timeframe though, of course.

Country Dog, City Dog
(Our neighbor, Max, dreaming of the park)

Moving to Brooklyn, I knew I had to find an affordable place, in walking distance to a big park where Jaya could run free. Alas, the affordable part pretty much blew Park Slope off the bargaining table.

Sunset Park

(Dina and Rita from, DOGS OF SUNSET PARK)

However, my future-husband lured me to Sunset Park. Although the neighborhood lacks a Tea Lounge and suffers from an unattractive graffiti problem (not at all the creative, artistic graffiti of my South Bronx neighborhood where I worked), it seemed fairly safe, friendly and sports a fabulous park.

Jaya and I met many friendly dogs and even found a dog run. There, the dogs froliced, as the guardians gazed at the Manhattan skyline, chilling on a comfortable bench. However, then word came down that this was an unofficial dog-run and people who getting ticketed all over. Rumor had it, that the residents across the street didn't like to hear the barking and that a real dog-run would be constructed somewhere (smaller) on the other side of the park. Well, that's yet to materialize and cops are still handing out tickets like candy.

The good news is, there's a citizen's organization on the case! Sunset Bark Park http://www.sunsetbarkpark.org/

Their website reads;

"There are no legal dog runs in Sunset Park, nor is there an off leash privilege between certain hours of the day. Please be respectful to your neighbors and other park users by keeping your dog on leash at all times. We understand this is a problem for dogs and their owners, and are working hard to change this."

I found their site a good fix of news and fun. I clicked on their, "Dogs of Sunset Park" page and quickly emailed Webmaster Sarah to add Jaya to the list! I also marvelled at their fund draising and P.R. efforts.

I clicked on the link to sign their online petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/barkpark/petition.html

The text of the petition is as follows;

"Sunset Park Dog RunTo: Sunset Park Community Board and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation YES! I support the Sunset Park Dog Owners Group's efforts to create a successful dog run in Sunset Park. Si! Yo apoyo los esfuerzos de Sunset Park Dog Owner Group para crear un parque para perros en Sunset Park. Sincerely, You Name Here."

Before I signed, they already had 206 signatures!

Prospect Park
(Picture taken from FIDO's Pupnic 2006)

Someone's looking out for Prospect Park dogs too! FIDO (Fellowship in the Interest of Dogs and their Owners) Brooklyn;

"FIDO is committed to ensuring that Prospect Park is a safe and healthy place for dogs; that responsible supervision of dogs will ensure enhanced opportunities for off-leash activity"

The first Saturday Of every month, they hold their "Coffee Barks". Dogs and their guardians meet in the Prospect Park Long Meadow, in front of the Picnic House, from 7 - 9am.

Dogs in the City
(Jaya's never been to Central Park's Conservatory Garden, below)

The lucky dogs of NYC, San Fransisco and Chicago have Urbanhound on their side.

Urbanhound describes themselves as;

the city dog's ultimate survival guide is the definitive source of information for urban dog owners.Covering topics that matter to people who care about dogs, urbanhound gives practical advice, makes informed suggestions, keeps up-to-date directories and data bases, and alerts you to hound happenings.Sunset ParkComing to New York was quite a shock for both of us. We're lucky enough never to have received a ticket, but have had enough near misses for me to never leave home without a leash.

As always, please let me know if there are any other links that should be here!


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