Dog Park History

 

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The Ashland Boyd County Dog Park has been in the media for some time.

Ashland's newspaper, The Independent (formerly The Daily Independent), has carried several stories and "Letters to the Editor" about the dog park. Follow the story of the dog park as it unfolded in the pages of the newspaper:

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October 12, 2002 Support is Needed for Dog Park

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October 14, 2002 Dog Park Idea Still on the Table: Officials Want to See Effort from Petitioners

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April 28, 2003 City-County Dog Park Possible at Armco Park

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May 24, 2003 Dog's Play: Poage Students Build Equipment for Park

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June 24, 2003 Dog Park Will Offer Many Benefits

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October 5, 2003 Dog Park to Open in Ashland Oct. 19

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October 6, 2003 New Boyd Dog Park is Waste of Tax Dollars

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October 10, 2003 Dog Park is Mostly Funded by Donations

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October 10, 2003 This Taxpayer Likes Idea of a Dog Park
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October 14, 2003 Taxes Should Not be Spent on Dog Park

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October 20, 2003 Dog Days of Fall: One-acre Canine Tract Opens

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October 23, 2003 For the Dogs: New Park is Result of Determined Effort by Backers in Community

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November 28, 2003 New Dog Park is a Wonderful Find

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January 20, 2004 Fund Established to Keep Dog Park in Operation

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January 23, 2004 Money for Upkeep

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March 27, 2004 Planting of Grass and Trees at Dog Park

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June 13, 2004 It's About Time a Place went to the Dogs

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October 31, 2004 Trick or Doggie Treat?

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April 20, 2005 Dog Park to Launch Effort

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April 26, 2005 Area Dog Park Chosen to Host Purina Show

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May 28, 2005 With Thanks!

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May 28, 2005 More Thanks!

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May 11, 2006 Pooches Prepare for Annual Spring Fling at Dog Park

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May 18, 2006 King, Queen of the Fling Chosen

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May 20, 2006 With Thanks!

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October 2, 2006 Preparing Pets

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October 7, 2006 With Thanks!

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October 15, 2006 Paws-atively Delightful

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May 5, 2007 Paws Exhibit Draws a Crowd

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May 11, 2007 Spring Fling May Feature World's Smallest Canine

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May 12, 2007 Another Successful Dog Park Spring Fling

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July 23, 2007 Saving Grace for Pets

October 12, 2002:

Support is Needed for Dog Park
 
We attended the joint meeting of Ashland, Boyd County, Catlettsburg and Greenup County officials at the Ashland Central Fire Station on Oct. 9. We commend those involved in the preparation of the meeting and dinner. The cooperation and willingness to address citizens' concerns among all local governments is commendable and a positive sign for the region's future.
 
We attended the meeting to discuss the possibility of a dog park in Boyd County. Dog parks are fenced areas set aside for dogs to meet and play under the close supervision of their owners. A dog park is the best place for dogs to interact with each other and learn acceptable behavior around other dogs and humans. The benefits of dog parks are numerous including relieving boredom, socializing and promoting a healthier lifestyle for dogs and their owners.
 
We've been discussing the possibility of creating a dog park with Ashland commissioners since spring and are pleased with the positive feedback we've received. We're in the planning stages for creating a dog park and need community support.
 
While government agencies likely will have jurisdiction over the dog park, there may not be enough resources to fund all the expenses associated with establishing the dog park. Therefore, we need volunteers to donate time and materials for the park's construction and donations to help establish, operate and maintain a dog park. We can be contacted by e-mail at ashlanddogpark@hotmail.com or by leaving your name and number at (606) 939-0109.
 
The city and county commissioners are seriously considering a dog park. Call you city and county commissioners and pledge your support. Let them know dog owners deserve a clean, safe environment to exercise and play with their dogs.
 
Tanya L. Meadows, Ashland
and Terri L. Tomondi, Russell

October 14, 2002:

Dog Park Idea Still on the Table: Officials Want to See Effort from Petitioners
by Ben Fields of The Daily Independent
 
ASHLAND -- Two local animal clinic workers aren't giving up on their push for a dog park somewhere in the region.
 
Terri Tomondi and Tanya Meadows, who work at an Ashland animal clinic and also own a pet-walking business, first asked the Ashland Board of City Commissioners to support their idea in April, and they presented city officials with 400 signatures of those they said also backed the idea.
 
Last week, they were back, at a joint meeting between Boyd and Greenup city and county officials. Following that plea, Ashland City Manager William Fisher Jr. and Boyd Judge-Executive Bill Scott said they will work together to find a possible location for such a facility. Tomondi and Meadows would like to have a fenced-in area of an acre or more where dogs could roam and interact with other dogs and people with or without a leash. Currently, no park facility in the area allows dogs with the exception of Central Park in Ashland, where pets are only allowed on the park perimeter and must be on a leash. Ashland commissioner Russ Powell said during last week's meeting he supports a dog park but wants to see some effort from Tomondi, Meadows and others who signed the petition to make it work.
 
"If they're willing to help this develop, there's no reason it can't happen," Powell said. "It could become a real asset to the community."
 
Officials said Meadows and Tomondi should consider fund-raising efforts to help pay for items such as fencing and park benches, something the two said they would be more than happy to do.
 
Tomondi said she also would like to find volunteers to help enforce good animal behavior at the park, although she added the dogs should be able to behave before anyone takes them to interact with other dogs in an open environment.
 
"It really starts with responsible ownership," she said.
 
Park users would have to know going in that the city or county agency that builds the facility is not responsible for anything that might happen within, Tomondi said. Owners would also be responsible for cleaning up after their dogs.
 
Most dog parks are quite well run because owners appreciate having the facility and take care of it.
 
"The users are really the primary regulators of the parks," she said.
 
An ideal location for the park would include plenty of trees, a diverse landscape and even some walking trails, Tomondi said, but added any land the county or city deem appropriate would be appreciated.
 
"At this point, we'd be happy with any place," Tomondi said. "We just think it's a recreational facility this area really needs."

April 28, 2003:

City-County Dog Park Possible at Armco Park
by Allen Blair of The Daily Independent
 
CATLETTSBURG -- Users of tree-filled Armco Park could find more than one kind of bark there this summer, as Ashland and Boyd County officials move ahead with "dog park" plans.
Commissioners from both governments want to develop a section at Armco designed for dogs, complete with trails and canine activities. The idea, prompted by a petition from area dog owners, stems from almost a year's worth of discussions.
 
"It's not unrealistic that we could get a spot fenced in by June," Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore said at meeting of local government leaders last week.
 
Judge-Executive Bill Scott called the county-controlled park just off U.S. 60 in Summit a good place for such a facility, and recommended members of both the fiscal court and Ashland commission plan the work together.
 
Those who said they would serve on such a committee said the project would be studied closely.
 
Ashland already has some funds set aside and has several drawings submitted by petitioners. The county said it has equipment for brush removal, leveling and other work.
 
Development could occur on the back side of the park or near the amphitheater, officials said.
 
That would tickle Trilby's and Keegan's fancy. They're Terri Tomondi's two Welsh corgis.
 
"We're absolutely thrilled," she said. "It's exciting. What better way to open up that side of the park."
 
Tomondi and Tanya Meadows, who work at Ashland Animal Clinic and own a dog-walking service, presented the city last April with the 300-plus signature petition.
 
They said the area needs a fenced-in area of an acre or more where dogs could roam, exercise, train and interact with other dogs and people with or without a leash.
 
Currently, no park facility in the area allows dogs with the exception of Central Park in Ashland, where pets are only allowed on the park perimeter and must be on a leash.
 
The city's riverfront property surfaced as an early idea, but the city looked at it only as a possibility; and development of that area would have been slower, Gilmore said.
 
By October, the city and county had pledged to work together. Tomondi and Meadows said then they favored any land the county or city deemed appropriate, and hoped for a location with a diverse landscape.
 
Since it became hard to find space in the city, a proposal to use an Armco Park field and part of a wooded area was presented, Tomondi said.
 
It's just a recreational facility the area really needs, she said.
 
Tomondi said people already want to donate to develop the park.
 
Agility equipment, like suspended tires for dogs to jump through, are a possibility; as well as benches, trails and even contests or obedience training activities, she said.

May 24, 2003:

Dog's Play: Poage Students Build Equipment for Park
by Mike James of The Daily Independent
 
ASHLAND -- Fifth graders at Poage Elementary School put down their textbooks and picked up tools last week to complete a community service project they've been planning for months.
 
With an assortment of plywood, PVC pipe and a few accessories, and under the watchful eye of several parents and grandparents, the students built play equipment they designed themselves for a proposed city-county dog park.
 
"This is fun. You get to do your own work instead of the grownups doing it," said 11-year-old Wes Griffith as his hacksaw bit into a length of the plastic pipe.
 
Wes and the six others in his group were building what they called a whirlybird -- a T-shaped structure with tennis balls dangling from ropes. The device will be anchored in the ground, the tennis balls just high enough to be irresistible to a jumping dog.
 
Other groups made a tire jump, teeter-totter and more agility equipment.
 
Besides helping the community, the project serves several academic purposes, said fifth grade science teacher Tandy Wellman. "I wanted to make math real and show kids the importance of community involvement," Wellman said.
 
The kids learned math by figuring the dimensions of the equipment and the cost of materials, Wellman said.
 
The project was funded through a YMCA grant, and each of the four groups of students had $65 to spend on their piece of equipment, she said.
 
Two of the students, Paige Fosson and Chelsea Dietrich, floated a proposal to city commissioners, which was a lesson in local government, Wellman said.
 
First proposed for location on the Ashland riverfront, and then Armco Park, the dog playground now is likely to be placed at a site near Boyd County Middle School that is part of the Summit park system, said Boyd Judge-Executive Bill Scott.
 
The city and the county will share the cost of developing the park, he said.
 
The dog playground will be good for dogs and their owners too, Wellman said. "The health issues aren't just dog- but people-related," she said. "Pet owners live longer and are happier, because they are loved and they have someone to exercise with."
 
Most dogs enjoy running and jumping and will welcome the stimulus the play equipment provides, said Tanya Meadows, a dog owner and receptionist at Ashland Animal Clinic.
 
With co-worker Terri Tomondi, Meadows asked the city for a dog park in April 2002. There are few places in the city to walk and exercise a dog, she said.
 
The student project will also teach the kids pet responsibility, Meadows said. "It's a terrific way to get them interested in showing their dogs and their agility," she said.
 
Fifth-grader Vanessa Mullins, 11, can't wait to take her dog to the park. "My dog's a child. She acts like one," Vanessa said. "This is cool because dogs like to play just like we do."
 
The park should be ready for use by late July or early August, said Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore.

June 24, 2003:

Dog Park Will Offer Many Benefits
 
We thank the Ashland city commissioners and the Boyd County commissioners for officially designating land for a dog park. The dog park will be located on the hill behind Boyd County Middle School.
 
It is an excellent location with approximately two acres of rolling land surrounded by trees. The land will be fenced so it will be safe for dogs to run off-leash. With the help of corporate sponsors, training clubs and private donors, we also hope to have water fountains and benches. The students at Poage Elementary have designed agility equipment and waste containers that will be put to good use in the park.
 
Since city and county ordinances prohibit dogs in public parks, a dog park will provide a place where dogs can safely romp and play under the close supervision of their owners. It will also provide a venue for educational events such as vaccine clinics, obedience shows, training classes, dog birthday parties, etc. We hope to promote responsible dog ownership and health and educational opportunities for the public.
 
A dog park is a fabulous place to watch dogs interact and romp and play. Dogs need regular "adventures" to reduce boredom and pent-up energy at home. Dogs that are able to run, play ball or practice obedience training are happier and healthier. A dog park will help overweight dogs shed extra pounds, abused dogs learn to trust, and shy dogs make friends. Furthermore, well-exercised dogs make better neighbors. Dogs that are not bored are less likely to bark, destroy property and learn anti-social behavior.
 
We truly appreciate all of the support we have received thus far from the commissioners and the community, and we hope to have lots of volunteers to help maintain the area once it is established.
 
Tanya Meadows and Terri Tomondi
Ashland

October 5, 2003
 
Dog Park to Open in Ashland Oct. 19
by Kirsten Stanley of The Independent
 
ASHLAND -- Overweight pooches needing exercise and socially challenged hounds needing friends will finally have a place to call their own.
 
A bit more work is needed before the Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park can have its grand opening Oct. 19. That's why organizers have scheduled two "work parties" between now and then, and hope local dog owners and others will come and help get the park ready.
 
The one-acre park, behind Boyd County Middle School, will be fenced in to allow dogs to roam free from daylight to dark. There will also be agility equipment for the dogs and benches for their owners.
 
Tanya Meadows, one of the park's founders, said the region traditionally has some very unhealthy dogs, including those that are overweight and out of shape.
 
"The idea (of the dog park) is to promote responsible dog ownership," Meadows said. "We also want to help the pet population to become healthier."
 
Meadows said the park provides a safe environment for dog owners to let their dogs romp and play with other dogs without infringing on the rights of those who do not own dogs.
 
"There is no other place around here for people to exercise with their dogs. We've been kicked out of Central Park," she said.
 
Central Park only allows dogs on leashes on the outside perimeter.
 
Dogs that are well-exercised make better neighbors, Meadows said. They are less likely to bark, destroy property or exhibit anti-social behavior, she said.
 
In addition to the health benefits, dogs can also socialize with other dogs at the park and dog owners can meet people with similar interests.
 
Meadows said she and Terri Tomondi, a co-worker at the Ashland Animal Clinic, came up with the idea for the park more than a year ago. The two also recently started Personal Pet Pals, a dog-sitting service.
 
"We just love working with animals. Both of us are with animals from sun up to sun down," Meadows said with a laugh.
 
The park was first proposed on the Ashland riverfront, then at Armco Park, before the current site was chosen.
 
The women have visited dog parks in other cities, including Lexington and Myrtle Beach, to get ideas on how to run the new park.
 
"We are very excited about this," Meadows said. "We think it is something that the entire community can enjoy."
 
The two work parties are scheduled at the park Tuesday, when Poage Elementary students will be helping out, and Oct. 15, when students from the Ashland Community and Technical College will be there. The work begins both days at 9 a.m.

October 6, 2003

New Boyd Dog Park is Waste of Tax Dollars

Our tax dollars at work?
 
Now I know why the county commissioners said their backs were against the wall when they were swindling money from the working people of Boyd County. I really did think that they had a "pet project" they were working on, but I didn't realize how to the point my assumption was.
 
I guess this is one way that is going to attract new businesses to locate here in our dog-friendly county. Right! I have more questions than answers, some of which are:
 
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What are the commissioners going to propose to do when the cat owners want something for their pets? Buy a "cat house"?
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Where are the people who have snakes as pets going to go to take their pet for a slither? Better not be very close to the mouse park.
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Who is going to pay for the insurance for the dog park, especially when someone gets bit?
 
As a working taxpayer I really hate to see my money thrown away like this.
 
Frank Fitzpatrick
Westwood

October 10, 2003

Dog Park is Mostly Funded by Donations

I am writing in response to the gentleman who wrote regarding the Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park. I am appalled at the fact that someone who took the time to write such a letter did not do any research whatsoever before sending it. Surely, he knew that everyone in Ashland (not to mention the surrounding areas) would be reading it!
 
I am not a pet owner, but I do think the dog park is a wonderful idea for those who do have dogs. Dogs are very active pets and should have a place of their own to play and work off some excess energy. It is especially important for those people who do not have big yards in which their pets can run. As for people who have cats, snakes or whatever else kind of pet you want to throw in there, let them take time out of their own busy schedules, as did the people who started this park, and create something for themselves.
 
I have one word for people who think they are going to be responsible for paying out-of--pocket for this park — donations. The county has incurred minimal expense. It provided a piece of unused land, some gravel on the road and trash cans. That's it! The city is providing the fencing and water. Everything else has been paid for by private donations.
 
For those of you who are worried about your tax dollars going to help fund this park, relax. Just take your pet and enjoy some playtime!
 
Traci Ebeling
South Point, Ohio

 October 10, 2003

This Taxpayer Likes Idea of a Dog Park

I also am a taxpayer and believe that it is a great idea to have a dog park, especially since Central Park does not allow dogs inside the park.
 
I believe with the right guidelines and rules, the dog park should be fun for the many families who own and love their dogs. As the owner of two dogs, I say bring on the dog park. My dogs thank you and so do I.
 
Rick Parsons
Ashland

October 14, 2003

Taxes Should Not be Spent on Dog Park
 
I am writing this letter in regards to the other letters supporting the dog park. I am not alone when I say that the dog park is something that we do not need in this area and that the tax money could go to something much more important.
 
The park is not funded by donations only. Our tax money, if used for dogs, should be used to spay/neuter or find homes for the overflowing dog population. We do not live in New York City where there are no yards for dogs to play in. I have two dogs and my parents have three dogs.
 
If we did not have the room for our pets to exercise, then we would not have them at all. If the park could have been funded without any tax dollars, then no one would have a problem with it.
 
Jenny Fitzpatrick
Ashland

October 20, 2003

Dog Days of Fall: One-acre Canine Tract Opens
by Kirsten Stanley of The Independent
 
SUMMIT -- Freebie isn't allowed off her leash much, says her owner Dorothy Holloway.
 
The 9-year-old dog has a tendency to run away, Holloway says, even though there is an electric fence surrounding her house.
 
"She'll take getting a little shock just to be able to run out," the Ashland resident said. "She won't listen to me when I tell her to come back. Usually, I just pray for a neighbor to call for her because she'll usually listen to them."
 
On Sunday, Freebie got to run free — without enduring electrical currents — during the grand opening of the Ashland Boyd County Dog Park, a one-acre tract behind Boyd County Middle School.
 
The park is open seven days a week, from daylight to dark.
 
Although a little confused when her leash was removed, Freebie soon joined with the other dogs, running, playing and enjoying new-found freedom.
 
Holloway said because Freebie is so strong, the tiny white-haired woman has a hard time walking her, which is why she wanted to come to the park.
 
"This way she can get exercise and be around some other dogs," she said. "I think it is great."
 
Another dog owner, Mike Gray, agreed.
 
"It mainly gives them the chance to socialize," the Ashland resident said.
 
Because, until now, there has not been a place for dogs to exercise, Gray takes his 2-year-old dog, Tracy, to Beech Fork Lake in West Virginia.
 
"Ashland really needed something like this," Gray said. "I was very happy when I heard this was opening."
 
The land for the park was donated by the Boyd County Fiscal Court, while the fence around it was put up by Ashland city crews. The rest of the park's equipment was paid for with donations, according to Tanya Meadows, one of the park's founders. Donations are still being accepted for the upkeep of the park and some additions such as a walking track around the park and more trees and benches.
 
Meadows and her co-worker at Ashland Animal Clinic, Terri Tomondi, said they started to devise plans for the park more than a year ago. It has been a long process, but both said they were pleased with Sunday's turnout.
 
"It's better than we ever expected," Tomondi said.
 
The main purpose of the park is to promote responsible pet ownership, Meadows said, including exercising and socializing with dogs.
 
Ashland Animal Control Officer Paul Wheeler said the dog park is long overdue.
 
"Too many times we see people not taking care of their pets," Wheeler said. "But this is good. We have people here that really love their animals and want what's best for them."

October 23, 2003

For the Dogs: New Park is Result of Determined Effort by Backers in Community

When Terri Tomondi and Tanya Meadows wrote the first "In Your View" letters calling for an Ashland dog park in the spring of 2002, we thought their chances of convincing elected officials to approve such a facility were slim. At the time, a dog park didn't seem to be on the list of needed projects of any elected officials, and we expected a whole lot of other projects to be given higher priorities.
 
Well, we underestimated the determination and perseverance of Tomondi, Meadows and other supporters of the dog park -- plus their willingness to share their financial resources and to donate hundreds of hours of labor to make the park a reality.
 
Because of those efforts, the dog park officially opened last week on a one-acre tract of land owned by Boyd County government behind Boyd County Middle School. Boyd County Fiscal Court provided the land for the park, the Ashland Board of City Commissioners approved the cost of fencing the lot, and volunteers did most of the labor and bought the equipment. The dog park is a positive example of city and county government and community volunteers working together to achieve a common goal.
 
Tomondi and Meadows deserve much of the credit for the dog park. They first brought up the idea for it after visiting dog parks in other communities, and they organized a petition campaign at the Ashland Animal Clinic, where they both work, to garner public support for the park. Where better place to get support for something for dogs than at a veterinary clinic?
 
Tomondi and Meadows initially proposed that the park be built on the Ashland riverfront, but when it became clear that development of the riverfront was going to be a slow process, they began to look elsewhere. They attended meetings of both the Ashland Board of City Commissioners and Boyd County Fiscal Court to lobby for support of the dog park.
 
Those who have criticized the dog park as a waste of tax dollars should know that the expenditure of public dollars has been minimal. County government donated property that it has owned for years and had no immediate plans to use and provided some labor. The city fenced the property. If it had been a costly project, the dog park would have never been built. Indeed, if volunteers had not helped prepare the park and if the community had not have donated money to equip it, it still would be just a dream.
 
Give those who have pushed for the dog park credit. They have done what it takes to turn what we first thought was an impossible dream into a reality.
 
Supporters of the park have gotten their wish. The value of their efforts will be determined by how many how many Boyd Countians take their canines for a day at the park.

November 28, 2003
 
New Dog Park is a Wonderful Find
 
We've recently discovered a new addition here in Boyd County. Granted, it's not highly advertised, and though there are signs posted, it takes a little detective work to find, but when you reach the very top of the hill behind Fraley Field (Little League baseball field), you find secluded among the locust trees, this bright shining chain-link fenced area that, if you can believe this, has signs posted actually welcoming dogs!
 
A dog park - complete with picnic table, off leash areas, water, an obedience field trial course, and they even supply the little poop scoop bags for convenience.
 
We've actually had to go back several times to believe it was real. We're not sure who is responsible for the park but would like to take this time to thank them personally for our canine family.
 
We hope that this park receives some publicity, say perhaps a local dog show fun day kind of event just to get things going up there and help make the public more aware of this wonderful find!
 
Bobby Moore
Ashland

January 20, 2004
 
Fund Established to Keep Dog Park in Operation
by Ben Fields of The Independent
 
ASHLAND -- The Ashland Boyd County Dog Park is still in its infancy, but the park's organizers want to make sure it will be around for a long time.
 
Tanya Meadows and Terri Tomondi, two local animal clinic employees who drove the park project, have established a fund with Foundation for the Tri-State Community where donations to keep the park going can be made.
 
Previously, contributions toward the park were kept with Ashland's city government, which held them in a separate account.
 
While dog park organizers haven't had any problems with this arrangement, Meadows said she felt it was time for the park to have its own fund.
 
"It's just a little more defined that the money you are giving is going to the park," she said. "The foundation will be responsible for sending out thank-yous for donations and making sure people get a tax deduction."
 
Tomondi added the switch was made to identify the park as an entity outside of the city or county governments.
 
"Ashland has been just great, but we're outside of the city limits, so we're probably never going to be a part of Ashland's parks system," she said. "Neither the city nor the county really want to take control of the park, so we wanted to make sure there was a fund in place to keep things going."
 
The county donated the acre of land behind Boyd County Middle School that the park sits on, and Ashland donated the park fence. Most upkeep costs are handled through contributions.
 
The facility, which provides an area for dogs to get exercise and interact with other dogs and humans, opened in October.
 
Meadows said use of the park has slowed down during the winter months, though a few die-hards are still turning out.
 
"It's cold, and it's muddy out there right now," she said. "You'll probably have to give your dog a bath after you get home."
 
Meadows and Tomondi plan to host another grand opening at the park in the spring to make sure the facility stays in the public eye.
 
"People seem to really enjoy having the park, and we want to make sure it continues to thrive," Meadows said.
 
Mary Witten Wiseman, president of the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, said in a written statement the dog park fund is another example of how the foundation can provide needed, unique resources to area organizations.
 
Based in Ashland, the foundation serves the entire Tri-State region with the help of more than $10 million in assets.

January 23, 2004
 
Money for Upkeep
Endowment Fund Will Help Assure Maintenance of New Dog Park
 
It was the generosity of scores of area pet lovers that made the dog park behind Boyd County Middle School a reality. Now the two women most responsible for that successful effort are hoping pet lovers will dig a little deeper into their pockets to help assure the long-term viability of the park.
 
It's a certainty that the dog park, which opened last October, would not exist without the efforts of Tanya Meadows and Terri Tomondi. A dog park was not on the agenda of any elected official in either Ashland or Boyd County before the two women raised the issue.
 
They convinced members of the Ashland Board of City Commissioners and Boyd Fiscal Court to enter into a joint agreement to build the park by giving officials an offer they couldn't refuse: They would raise through private donations most of the money needed to build the park for canines and their human friends. All the county had to do was provide the land for the park, and the city agreed to provide some of the equipment and labor to build it.
 
Now that that the park is completed, Tomondi and Meadows, both employees of a local animal clinic, are seeking donations to establish an endowment to assure the continued operation of the park. The fund has been established through the Foundation for the Tri-State Community.
 
The endowment fund is an excellent idea. Public officials will continue to support the park as long as it takes little or no public funds to operate it. The endowment is the best way to assure the dog park is maintained and -- if enough funds are raised -- maybe even improved and expanded.

March 27, 2004
 
Planting of Grass and Trees at Dog Park
 
The Ashland Boyd County Dog Park has become a favorite hangout for many Tri-State pooches and their owners. Many were disappointed to hear that the gates have been temporarily locked for the planting of grass and trees.
 
We thank the following generous and hard-working volunteers and staff of the Boyd County Cooperative Extension Service for planting trees and sowing grass seed and straw: David Williamson, master gardener; Sherry Rye, master gardener; Danny Blevins, Boyd County Cooperative Extension Council for providing a straw blower; Stephanie Young, Soil Conservation and Natural Resources Service, Boyd County Cooperative Extension Executive Board; Lori Bowling, Boyd County Cooperative Extension horticulture; Steve Stahler, Boyd County Cooperative Extension volunteer; Becky Stahler, Boyd County Cooperative Extension volunteerism associate; and Bill Walters and the Soil Conservation and Natural Resources Services board for the donations of grass seed, fertilizer and straw.
 
We really appreciate their hard work and gardening expertise. With their help, we hope to provide the community with a valuable asset to enjoy for many years.
 
Tanya L. Meadows and Terri Tomondi
Ashland

June 13, 2004

It's About Time a Place Went to the Dogs
by Sarah Lynch of The Independent
 
I recently took my "nephew," Jack Boy, who is a sweet and lovable 80-pound pit bull terrier, to check out the Ashland Boyd County (ABC) Dog Park.
 
Jack had been there before, so I'm sure he was upset with my uncertainty of the whereabouts of the park.
 
We made three stops: One at the first baseball field where there was a game in progress; one on up the gravel road at a baseball field that looked to be no longer in use; and finally, we made it to the very top of the hill where Jack, completely frenzied, said: "Bark, bark, bark, bow-wow!" which translated means: "Stop! This is it, you silly woman!"
 
"Dog Heaven," is a good way to describe the park. There's plenty of room, a little more than an acre, for hounds to run and play until their tongues drag the ground, according to Terri Tomondi, who, with Tanya Meadows, was responsible for starting the park.
 
After many petitions, the park was officially opened in October 2003 to all dog owners who had been looking for a place where their precious pups [could] run and play off-leash without interfering with nonpet owners and dangerous roads.
 
The park is behind Boyd County Middle School and Fraley Baseball Field off Summit road.
 
For a few minutes, Jack was content to just rocket around on his own. he had the park all to himself. Eventually, he was ready to play with me and he chased Frisbees and tennis balls and bubbles until his mission was solely concentrated on locating water and shade.
 
The park is fenced in and includes a separate area with a small agility course for dogs that weigh less than 30 pounds. Around the perimeter, dog owners can find benches to sit and watch the dogs at play and a covered picnic table, perfect for shade on a hot day. To enter the park, you must have your dog on a leash. You may remove the leash once inside the double gate. This prevents any chihuahuas or miniature pinchers from sneaking out.
 
Trees and grass have been planted in the "dogs only" park. Jack found his cool refuge next to the fence where the foliage provided him shade. It was quiet and relaxing on top of the hill. Although Boyd County Animal Control officers often patrol the area, I would suggest visiting the park with a human friend as there was no one in sight when I was there.
 
There are many rules to follow once inside the park. One of the most important rules is to clean up after your dog. The park could be closed if this rule is not abided by. Aggressive dogs, dogs in heat, dogs younger than 4 months, and dogs without a visible license and identification are prohibited from the park. The dog owner must have a leash on hand at all times.
 
Jack Boy will, at times, become aggressive if a treat or bone is introduced into play with another dog. This is not uncommon for most dogs. So the next rule says to leave those kinds of things at home.
 
A complete list of rules can be obtained inside the park and the major ones can be read on a sign hanging outside the fence. keep in mind, you are solely responsible for anything that may happen to your dog while at the park. But if the rules are followed, the only thing that may happen is your dog will become too tired to go for a walk later in the evening.
 
The ABC Dog Park, open from dawn to dusk, relies on donations to operate and is an excellent addition to our community for those who view their dogs as family members. This park allows them a safe area where they can get the exercise they need to live longer, happier and healthier lives.
 
If you are a dog lover or just want to help a good cause, mail a donation to: The Foundation for the Tri-State Community, (ABC Dog Park), P.O. Box 2096, Ashland, KY  41105.

October 31, 2004

Trick or Doggie Treat?
Local dog park hosts costume contest
by Beth Crace of The Independent
 
 
SUMMIT -- Kathy and Carl Howard strolled into the Ashland Boyd County Dog Park Saturday afternoon led by two yapping Chihuahua sisters who answered to the names of Gidget and Cassie.
 
Cassie was stunning in a white lace ensemble intended to make the young pooch look like a bride. Gidget, no doubt the more commanding of the two, had gone sans costume, though earlier the Howards confessed she was sporting a black sorceress getup.
 
"O come on," said Kathy Howard, letting out a hearty laugh when asked to describe the significance of her dogs in her life.
 
The question was perhaps futile on an afternoon when 32 colorfully dressed canines filled the park to take part in the first Ashland Boyd County Dog Park's Halloween costume contest. The crop of pirates, brides, prison inmates, bikers, belly dancers, and other carefully crafted creations made one thing clear; this was a group of dog lovers.
 
And that's precisely what park founders and area business owners Terri Tomondi and Tanya Meadows had in mind when they began lobbying for the recreational facility. They said they wanted a place where people could bring their dogs to play and frolic, in addition to providing an educational tool to encourage responsible pet ownership (for now ABC is the only pet-friendly park in the area: Central Park only allows dogs around the facility's perimeter).
 
The dog costume contest, which featured events such as most creative, was intended as a fund-raiser. The money will go toward providing an additional gate for a separate fenced in area, known as "Small Pawville," where dogs under 30 pounds can go to get away from larger, more fear inducing dogs.
 
Both lifelong dog lovers, Meadows and Tomondi said they were inspired to host such an event after learning about other fund-raisers for similar facilities in other cities. They were surprised by the turnout, they said, and had planned for a maximum of 25 participants.
 
"We'll know next year," said Meadows, who was covered in werewolf face paint. "People dig dress-up contests."
 
Perhaps no one was more enthusiastic about the event - or the park - than Marty Simpson, the owner of 4-year-old black peek-a-poo, Boo. To prepare for the showdown, Simpson had sewn Boo a hat, plus a black and white prison inmate costume complete with an ABC Dog Park Detention Center logo.
Simpson, of Cedar Knoll, said she took special pains for the costume, crafting a ball and chain out of a necklace and miniature soccer ball (both of which were painted black) and attached the contraption to Boo's leg. But the efforts did earn her and Boo the "most creative" tag at the event.
 
For Simpson, who said her son teases she has too much time on her hands, the biggest reward is getting to spend time with her beloved pet in an open, inviting park area. Boo, meanwhile, seems to be enjoying it all too.
 
"Somebody said if there's such a thing as reincarnation they want to come back as my dog," said Simpson.

April 20, 2005
 
Dog Park to Launch Effort
by Beth Crace of The Independent
 
SUMMIT - Organizers of the local dog park are expanding community outreach efforts, with the intent of launching a new program to encourage more dogs at the local animal shelter are spayed or neutered.
 
The program, which park organizers hope to have under way by this summer, is an initiative of Tanya Meadows and Terri Tomondi, founders of the Ashland Boyd County Dog Park in Summit. The intent, according to Meadows, is to encourage pet adoption.
 
"We want the dog park to benefit the community," said Meadows. "... We want to teach people about proper health care for animals and to be responsible pet owners."
 
The program is being launched in conjunction with a spring fling at dog park, an annual event to promote fund-raising and pet education. The spring fling will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 14 at the park and will feature a raffle to help pay for the spay-neuter program.
 
Once in place, the program will select one animal at the local animal shelter each month and pay the costs of having it spayed or neutered. The animal will then be posted on the park's Web site - www.abcdogpark.com - as its pet of the month.
 
Meadows said the shelter will select the pet.
 
"Obviously, we want a friendly, nice pet. Other than that, it will be left up to the shelter employees to pick one," she said. "Hopefully, it will make it more adoptable and the pet's babies won't be returning to the shelter."

Cats could be included in the project as well.

"We want to help them all out," Meadows added.

So far, the project, which was suggested to the Boyd Fiscal Court on Tuesday, has earned support. Members of the court, who briefly discussed the project, were receptive.

Local animal control officer Corie Kazee said the effort could help some animals find a home.

"I think it's a great idea," said Kazee. "When people come in and realize that cats or dogs have been spayed or neutered, they get a home a lot faster."
 

April 26, 2005
 
Area Dog Park Chosen to Host Purina Show
by Lee Ward of The Independent
 
ASHLAND - It might look like dogs are flying when the Purina Incredible Dog Team puts in an appearance at the Ashland Boyd County Dog Park next month as part of the park's Spring Fling.

The canine collection added Ashland to its 2005 lineup after Tanya Meadows, one of the founders of the park, approached Purina with a written request and Ashland was chosen.

"I don't know how they make the decision about which cities they'll visit on their tour," she said. "We're very excited about it."
 
The team has performed in New York, Los Angeles, Memphis and Dallas and has been seen at halftime events of various sports. Tricks include back flips, headstands, back vaults and high jumps to catch flying discs.

Trainer John Casey will lead a team of seven trainers and more than 20 dogs in freestyle routines and high-energy performances set to music. They'll also show off their dogs, which are examples of excellent health from puppy to senior citizen age animals and they'll offer information and canine health
 
Casey discovered his interest in dog training after watching a Frisbee Dog contest near his home of Cincinnati. In 1992, he adopted Breezy, his first Frisbee-catching dog who has gone on to become a two-time K-9 Frisbee Disc World Finalist and to earn the honor of being named one of the top 10 Frisbee dogs in the country.

Six dogs are on the team: Teagan, a 9-year-old Australian shepherd, is the team veteran and a world finalist who loves to jump. Hannah, a 5-year-old border collie, was twice rescued from the shelter and demonstrates amazing leaping capabilities. Ziggy , 4, and Cody are Australian shepherds; Jazz is a 6-year-old Australian shepherd who is the newest member of the team, and Lexi is a 2-year-old Jack Russell/beagle mix.

Shows will be at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. May 14. There is no charge, but donations are welcome and will be used to fund a spay/neuter program at Boyd County Animal Shelter.

In addition to the shows, Spring Fling will include:

10:00 a.m. - Greeting
10:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Pet portraits
11:15 a.m. - Best Trick Contest Sponsored by Wendy, Niko and Cosmo Cruz
11:30 a.m. - Best Kisser Contest Sponsored by Mrs. Margaret Adkins
12 Noon - Roxie - Boyd County Sheriff's Department Canine Unit
12:30 p.m. - Pet Owner Look-alike Contest Sponsored by Modern Foods
12:45 p.m. - Fastest Sit/Down Contest Sponsored by Remaxx Realty
1:00 p.m. - Ol' Blue - Boyd County Ford (includes drawing for gift certificates from Boyd County Ford)
Tim Childers of Timbral Pet Services demonstrates animal-assisted therapy
Charlie - Community Hospice Care Center's therapy dog
1:45 p.m. - Most Spirited Tail Wag Contest Sponsored by Timbral Pet Services
2:00 p.m. - Biggest Dog Contest Sponsored by Rome Pet Cemetery and Aloha Pet Resort
3:15 p.m. - Smallest Dog Contest Sponsored by Marathon Ashland Petroleum
3:30 p.m. - Best Fetcher Contest Sponsored by The Pet Loving Community
3:30 to 5:00 p.m. - Microchip clinic ($25)
Recognition of Ashland Animal Control officer
4:45 p.m. - Raffle drawing


May 28, 2005

With Thanks!
 
We thank everyone who attended the 2nd annual Spring Fling at the Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park on Saturday, May 14.

Proceeds will support a spay/neuter program at the Boyd County Animal Control Center. Starting June 1, one pet per month will be chosen to be neutered or spayed. The pet will be "Pet of the Month" on the dog park's Website: www.abcdogpark.com.

We thank the following for helping with the Spring Fling: ABC Dog Park Bark Rangers, Lynnis Adkins, American Red Cross, Applebee's, Chuck Lanthorn and ACTC College students, Aladdin's, Andy's, Ashland Physical Therapy, Ashland Tennis Center, AutoZone, Bandit's Bandanas & Scarves, Barbi-Lin Pools, Baskin Robbins, Beau Monde Beauty Spa, Bluegrass Grill, Bob Evans, Boyd County Ford, Boyd County Fiscal Court, Barb Browning, Burns Veterinary Supply, C.J. Maggie's, C.R.Thomas', "Charlie" and handlers from Community Hospice, Chili Willi's, Chimney Corner Cafe, China Wok, Chris' Guitar Shop, Ashland animal control officers, Contours Express, Country Garden Florist, Crisp's Dairy Queen, Diamond Links, Rob Donta and "Roxie", Fazoli's, Fields Flower Shop, Fiesta Bravo, Christina Fitch, DVM, Garden Roller Rink, Gattiland, Gillum's Service and Repair, Giovanni's, Golden Corral, Lyndall Harned, Jordan Ice, Kelly Grizzle, Massage Therapist, Mid-Town Kroger's, Little Victories Animal Rescue Group, Maid For You, Scott Martin and WLGC, Merial Animal Health, Midtown Cinemas 3, Moe's, Movie Gallery, McKenzie Pest Control, Scott Neil and Mule Media, Novartis Animal Health, Nu-Era Bakery, Oak Springs United Baptist, "Ol Blue" and handlers, Paradise Lanes, Penn Station, Pepsi Bottling Co., Pfizer Animal Health, Ponderosa, Premier Pet Salon, Rajah's, Rally's, Ruby Tuesday's, Ruffin' It, Russell Car Wash & Detail Center, Shoney's, South Ashland Greenhouse, Subway, Sundowner Golf, Therapeutic Massage by Angela Crabtree, Tim Horton's, WG Grinders, Wal-Mart, Wendy's, Western Hills Flower Shop, Jeanette Williams, Lisa Williams, DVM, and Glen Young.

Terri Tomondi, Ashland
 

May 28, 2005

More Thanks!
 
On Saturday, May 14, animal health care professionals and pet owners celebrated the vital role companion animals play in our society at the Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park's 2nd annual Spring Fling. The Purina Incredible Dog Team, a group of highly trained athletic dogs, provided the park's visitors to a spectacular performance which was entertaining, educational and helped to promote responsible pet ownership. Local animal celebrities "Old Blue" from Boyd County Ford, "Roxie" from the Boyd County Sheriff's Department, and "Charlie" from Community Hospice were also on hand to meet the pet-loving public.

We greatly appreciate our sponsors whose generous contributions made the Spring Fling a success: John W. Clark Oil Co., Nestle Purina Pet Care Veterinary Division, Wendy, Niko and Cosmo Cruz, Novartis Animal Health, Schering-Plough Animal Health, Merial Animal Health, Margaret Adkins, Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Remax Realty, Personal Pet Pals, LLC, Modern Foods Inc., Timbral Pet Services, Aloha Pet Resort, Rome Pet Cemetery & Monuments, Boyd County Ford, Kimbleton, Hampton & Meenach, P.S.C., Insurance Solutions of Kentucky Inc., Pets Unlimited, Serenity Hills Shiloh, Mr., and Mrs. Jordan Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Sparkman, Linda John, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Fried, Dr. and Mrs. Jack Borders, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Pitt, Mary's Pampered Pets Boutique, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Sandifer, Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Flannery, Patti Sanford, Burns Veterinary Supply, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Hernandez and Pfizer Animal Health.

Tanya L. Meadows, Ashland


May 11, 2006

Pooches Prepare for Annual Spring Fling at Dog Park
Staff reports

ASHLAND - Saturday in the park means leashes, treats and a lot of barking this week.

The ABC Dog Park will have its third annual Spring Fling from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The special guest will be Jay Stutz, host of Animal Planet’s “Good Dog U.” Stutz will do problem solving from the stage with dog owners at 12:30 and 4 p.m. He will also be available to answer questions one on one.

Stutz is a nationally acclaimed animal trainer and one of America’s newest “animal” personalities. In addition to hosting “Good Dog U,” Stutz appears on television, stage and radio providing people with a fresh perspective on how to exist happily with all animals, especially the ones in our homes.

On the other side of the camera, Stutz has trained and interacted with the animal stars from movies like “Ace Ventura Pet Detective,” “Dr. Doolittle,” “George of the Jungle,” “Homeward Bound” and “101 Dalmatians.” He has experience with a wide variety of animal species, including cats, exotic birds, birds of prey, apes, monkeys, dolphins, seals, sea lions, hoofed-stock, reptiles, fish and other exotic mammals. His expertise in the areas of animal management, behavior, and training has provided him the opportunity to coordinate animal services for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Ocean Park Hong Kong, MGM Studios, Nickelodeon, Taronga Zoo Australia, Busch Gardens, and USA Networks.

Rob Donta, a representative of the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department, will be present with Roxie of the K-9 Unit at noon for a demonstration.

At 12:45, contestants for King and Queen of the Fling will begin to assemble for the contest, which begins at 1 p.m.

Various canine contests get under way at 2:30 p.m., including biggest, smallest, most spirited tail wag, pet/owner look-alike, weiner dog race, best kisser, best trick and fluffiest dog.

In addition at 2 p.m., a microchip clinic will be offered at $30 per dog. Nail clipping service will be $5. There is a silent auction that will conclude at 4:30 p.m.

The park is off U.S. 60 on West Summit Road behind Fannin Toyota dealership and Boyd County Middle School.

ABC Dog Park’s third annual Spring Fling will be from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the dog park. For more information, call (606) 329-9164 or visit www.abcdogpark.com on the Web.
 
 

May 18, 2006

King, Queen of the Fling Chosen

A wide variety of canine was represented by the King and Queen of the Fling, chosen Saturday during the ABC Dog Park’s Spring Fling. Crowed King of the Fling was Charlie, the dog in residence at Community Hospice Care Center. He is a year old golden retriever. Crowned Queen of the Fling was Cubby, owned by Sally McGill of Huntington. Cubby visits hospitals and participates in the R.E.A.D. program at Cabell County Public Library. Cubby is a  year old toy poodle. The dogs were chosen based on an essay submitted to a panel of judges, who were Miss Ashland Erin Jones, country music singer Larry Pancake and Tim Childers of Timbral Pet Services of Barboursville. The dog park’s Spring Fling is a fund-raiser to help maintain the park and replenish the funds in the Pet Betterment Fund at the Foundation for the Tri-State Community.


 

May 20, 2006

With Thanks!

On May 13, hundreds of pet owners and animal health care professionals gathered for the Ashland Boyd County Dog Park’s 3rd Annual Spring Fling. Jay Stutz from Animal Planet was there to discuss animal training and handling. “Roxie” and “Cane” from the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department demonstrated their talents, and “Charlie” from Community Hospice was crowned “King of the Fling.”

The event supports the dog park and replenishes the Pet Betterment Fund held by the Foundation for the Tri-State Community. We thank all who donated.

We thank our sponsors: A-1 Cleaning & Restoration, Boyd County Ford, Butler Animal Health, John W. Clark Oil, Community Trust Bank, Dog Watch Hidden Fence System, Merial Animal Health, Novartis Animal Health, Pawn Shop Express, Personal Pet Pals LLC, Real Team Realty and Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Space does not allow us to list all those who helped with this event. They are greatly appreciated

Tanya Meadows and Terri Tomondi, Ashland

 

 

October 2, 2006

Preparing Pets
Owners Fetch Emergency Tips at Boyd Event
by Carrie Kirschner of The Independent
 
Summit — It was all fun and games at Pet Preparedness Day at the Ashland/Boyd County Dog Park on Saturday, but the message was serious.

Organizers of the event used activities to educate pet owners about the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency.

Cassie Montgomery, the training coordinator for the Greenup County Health Department and a member of the Northeast Kentucky Citizen Corps Council, said the event was to get people thinking about ways to become prepared.

“The idea is if something happens, of course we’re going to take care of people, but the pets, too,” she said.

September was National Preparedness Month and Homeland Security groups worked to coordinate events to help people become more prepared in case of emergency. Pet prepardness is being stressed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after many pets were abandoned or injured in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.

Students involved in Student Technical Leadership Programs at Russell-McDowell Intermediate School and Oakview Elementary School helped during the event, operating games and staffing booths.

Susie Daniel, library media specialist and STLP coordinator at Russell-McDowell, said the activity was chosen for a community outreach project because “we thought it was an important project. Everyone should be prepared for an emergency.

“We were wanting our children to be involved in a community service project and we wanted to collaborate between two school districts.”

Kim Clayton, guidance counselor and STLP coordinator at Oakview, said she chose to participate in the event because she knew the students would relate to the project.

“Kids as well as adults love pets,” she said. “It seems a lot of time kids are more tender-hearted toward pets. We knew they would be excited.”

“We wanted them as children, as they become pet owners, to be responsible pet owners,” Daniel added.

In addition to educating the public, the students also used the event to broaden their technology skills.

Students from both schools used the event as a story for their closed-circuit news broadcasts, Daniel said. “This is a newsworthy event in the real world. It ties what they’re learning in school to the real world.”

Andrea Lewis of Gallipolis said she often brings her two cocker spaniels, Chanel and Jennings, to the dog park. She said making sure she had a prepardness plan for her pets in case of an emergency is not something she had thought about before.

“I think after being here I will go home and put a first-aid kit together,” she said.

Kathy Rhoden of Greenup said she’s already taken steps to make sure her pets are taken care of in an emergency.

“We’ve tried to put stickers in the windows for the firemen so they know we have pets inside,” she said. “It’s the same with your kids. You want to make sure they are safe. My kids and my pet, everything else can be replaced.”

But Rhoden said the event made her realize she needed to do more

“I think building the kit would be a good idea. If you have to leave right now you can grab that little container,” she said.

October 7, 2006

With Thanks!
 
I thank everyone who attended Pet Preparedness Day at Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Rainy skies that morning had many of us casting a worried eye upwards, but the clouds cleared and a beautiful day was enjoyed as participants learned about pet disaster preparedness measures, had pictures taken with their pet, and competed in contests like pumpkin races and a pet costume contest.

Special thanks go to the Student Technical Leadership Program at Russell-McDowell Intermediate and Oakview Elementary Schools. Without their help manning display booths, assisting with games and being extra eyes and ears, this event would not have been possible.

Thanks are also extended to Tanya Meadows and Terri Tomondi for all the help, advice and experience they provided in preparing for this event.

Space does not allow to thank all of the people who offered encouraging words and support. They are greatly appreciated.

Cassie Montgomery,
Public Health Training Coordinator,
Greenup County Health Department

October 15, 2006

Paws-atively Delightful
Art project to beautify, benefit organizations
by Mike James of The Independent
 
Ashland — Art lovers and animal lovers mingled Saturday night at Ashland’s Pendleton Art Center to draw attention to a new joint public art project.

Paws Across the River will decorate the streets of Ashland with dog and cat sculptures decorated by local artists, and the effort will benefit both the Arts Council of Northeastern Kentucky and the Pet Betterment Fund.

The project is seeking patrons to sponsor entries at levels ascending from $1,000 to $3,000 to $5,000. Artists submit designs and prospective patrons select one from a portfolio.

The animals will go on display from April to September 2007; at the end of that period sponsors at the two higher levels will keep their animals and the remaining ones will be auctioned.

“This is a really neat way to get the whole community thinking about what art can bring to them,” said Trish Hall, director of the arts council. The public displays will add to the already burgeoning arts district downtown, where the Pendleton and other galleries are located.

Art and animals make a good team, said Terri Tomondi, an Ashland dog lover and who was active in establishing the Ashland/Boyd County Dog Park. The concept has been proven in other cities that have taken on similar challenges, she said. “They fit together well.”

The challenge for artists is coming up with an eye-pleasing design that will stand up to weather and handling, since the pieces are to be displayed in public spaces.

For Ashland artist Debbie Eoff, that could be particularly demanding, since her medium of preference is stained glass. “Glass is flat so it’s going to be taking a flat thing and putting it on a curved surface,” she said.

A dog lover at heart, Eoff is nonetheless intrigued by the cat figure. “He’s just talking to me. He’s got a fun face and he’s strong and sturdy.”

There is more information on the project at the council’s web site, www.artscouncil-neky.com.
 

May 5, 2007

Paws Exhibit Draws a Crowd
by Sarah Lynch of The Independent
 

Will Lavender, Brigit Nilles, Beth Anne Niles, and Jacob Lavender check out the Kentucky Tomcat during opening of Paws Along the River display Friday. Photo by Kevin Goldy, The Independent

 

"Opening Night at the Paramount" dog painted by Maureen Dosier, in the 1500 block of Winchester Avenue. Photo by Kevin Goldy, The Independent

 
Ashland — They kissed them goodbye and told them to “stay,” Tanya Meadows said.

It’s not likely they’ll go anywhere.

Fourteen cats and dogs were placed on the streets of Ashland, kicking off the public art project “Paws Along the River.” The event was in conjunction with the First Friday Art Walk.

Meadows and Terri Tomondi, cofounders of the Pet Betterment Fund, approached the Arts Council of Northeastern Kentucky with the idea for “Paws” about two years ago. Their hope was to expand the fund, giving it the ability to spay and neuter more than one animal a month and therefore reduce the population of unwanted pets in Ashland and Boyd County.

“We also hope ‘Paws’ draws people to the downtown area,” Meadows said. “So many people have yet to explore all of the stores and galleries here.”

“It’s a source of pride for the city,” Tomondi added. “And if it raises money for the arts and animals, then even better.”

Tomondi and Meadows, both who work at Ashland Animal Clinic, went from business to business asking for donations or to have a dog or cat placed at their door.

“There were more businesses who wanted animals than we had animals to go around,” Tomondi said.

Trish Hall, director of the arts council and Paws committee member, said initial plans were to commission 30 to 40 animals instead of 14.

“The project is a great addition to Ashland,” Hall said. “We’ve been working on this so long that the cat and dog art has become like pets to their creators.”

The decorated ceramic animals were commissioned by area businesses and other sponsors and created by local artists.

“I love the art community spirit around here. There’s always something new and exciting going on like the opening of a new art show, a play or live music.” Carter Seaton of Huntington said after walking around Winchester Avenue. “The whole ‘Paws on the River’ project is very clever. It’s such a great idea.”

The animals, which will be on display through mid-September, can be found at the following locations:

The Pink Pineapple, 335 15th St.; Stump’s Hallmark, 1613 Winchester Ave.; the Paramount Arts Center, 1300 Winchester Ave.; The Frame Up Gallery, 1436 Winchester Ave.; Aladdin’s Art Gallery, 13th and Lexington Avenue; two at Pollock’s Jewelers, 913 Winchester Ave.; Chimney Corner Café, 1624 Carter Ave.; Traditional Creations/Iris Boutique, 1510 Winchester Ave.; CJ Maggie’s Restaurant, 1442 Winchester Ave.; Don’s Men’s Shop, 1501 Winchester Ave.; Home Federal Savings & Loan, 1500 Carter Ave.; Crawford Hairdressers, 208 16th St.; and Parsons Furniture, 1638 Winchester Ave.
 

May 11, 2007

Spring Fling May Feature World's Smallest Canine
Events Saturday at dog park
by Sarah Lynch of The Independent
 
SUMMIT — Lana Elswick hopes her long coat Chihuahua Boo Boo will stand still long enough to get her measurements during the fourth annual Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park Spring Fling on Saturday.

If Boo Boo proves to be less than 4 inches tall, she could be the smallest dog in terms of height, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

“The last dog to hold this title, which died, was 5.4 inches tall,” Elswick said. “I just hope we can get some accurate measurements on Saturday. She’s a little wiggle worm.”

The little dog was fed by an eye dropper every two hours for a week when she was born, Elswick said.

“I think that’s one reason why people started raising such big Chihuahuas; it’s very tedious to raise them small like Boo Boo, the way they are supposed to be,” she said.

Elswick, who has owned and raised Chihuahuas for 19 years, said she’s already filled out appropriate world record paperwork sent to her by Guinness Book.

“This will just be an official measuring,” she explained. “I need to have two unrelated witnesses measure her and then I send the information in to see if she gets the title.”

But Boo Boo has some competition in Lake County, Fla., where the owner of another long-haired Chihuahua is vying for the world’s smallest title for her dog, Dancer, who is 4.1 inches tall.

“To get this title, the dog has to be a year old so that it’s at adult size,” Elswick said. “Boo Boo turned a year old in April and the dog in Florida doesn’t turn a year old until June.”

One witness to the official measurement will be Jay Stutz, a nationally acclaimed animal trainer and host of “Good Dog U” on Animal Planet. He is scheduled to attend the event to discuss animal behavior and training.

This year’s Spring Fling will be kicked off by the Ashland Area Diabetes Coalition Dog Walk starting at 9 a.m. at Boyd County Middle School, just down the hill from the dog park. Registration will begin at 9 a.m.

Proceeds from this event will fund Ashland area diabetes education. Free diabetes testing will also be offered.

After the dog walk, other events at the park will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Funds raised at the Spring Fling will be used to maintain the dog park and to continue to spay and neuter dogs at local animal shelters.

Dog owners can still enter their beloved pooches in the King and Queen of the Fling contest. To do so, the owner must write an essay stating why the dog is their best friend and provide a picture of him or her interacting with family members.

“Last year we picked just a king and queen,” Terri Tomondi said. “This year we are choosing an entire court.”

Tomondi, who was instrumental along with Tanya Meadows in opening the dog park in 2003, said there are some great gifts for winners of this competition and others.

“We’ve got leashes, bowls, balls, treats. We’ll even be giving away a six-month supply of Frontline,” she said. “And we’re doing all of this in an effort to promote responsible pet ownership.”

The agenda also includes a demonstration by the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department Canine Unit, the King and Queen of the Fling pageant and other fun contests for dogs and their owners.

Goodie bags for the first 100 in attendance will be given away and a silent auction will be conducted. For more information, call (606) 329-9164.

ABC Dog Park’s Dog Walk and Spring Fling Schedule

—8 a.m. — Registration for dog walk at Boyd County Middle School; $10 for each walker, includes T-shirt.
—9 a.m. — Dog walk for Ashland Area Diabetes Coalition at BCMS.
—10:15 a.m. — Demonstration by Boyd County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit featuring Rob Donta and dogs, Roxie and Cane, and James Liebee and Frisbee dog.
—10:30 a.m. — Jay Stutz, the host of Animal Planet’s Good Dog U, will present Problem Solving from the stage.
—11 a.m. — Call to contestants of King and Queen of the Fling contest (pre-registration required).
—11:15 a.m. — King and Queen pageant.
—12:30 p.m. — Introduction of Boo Boo, the Chihuahua vying for the Guinness Book of Records’ world’s smallest dog.
—12:45 p.m. — Jay Stutz presents Problem Solving from the stage.
—1:30 p.m. — K-9 contests: biggest/smallest dog; most spirited tail wag; pet owner look-a-like; wiener dog race; best kisser; best trick; and fluffiest dog. Cost is $5 per dog per contest. Prizes will be awarded for each.
—2:30 p.m. — Jay Stutz presents Problem Solving from the stage.
—3 p.m. — Close of silent auction.

Photos will be taken all day and canine glucose testing will be available. The first 100 people at the park will receive a goody bag. There is no admission cost.
 

May 12, 2007

Another Successful Dog Park Spring Fling
by Sarah Lynch of The Independent
 
Ashland — From the world’s smallest to the world’s largest, dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds attended the fourth annual Ashland-Boyd County Dog Park Spring Fling with their owners on Saturday.

“We’ve had lots of people out today,” event coordinator Tanya Meadows said. “I think the heat is the only thing making people leave.”

Events began at 9 a.m. at Boyd County Middle School with the Ashland Area Diabetes Coalition Dog Walk where Sharon Halla and her daughter, Sarah, were participates.

“We wanted to give our support to the purpose of the walk, and it was something Sarah could do with her dog,” Halla said.

Sarah’s dog, Buddy, also won the “best trick” contest.

“He jumped through a hoop,” she said admiring the blue first-place ribbon in her hand. “We worked on (the trick) for about a month.”

Kelly Jackson’s dog, Maggie, won “best kisser.”

“A little girl came up to me and asked if Maggie could kiss her for the contest,” Jackson said. “I said ‘sure,’ and Maggie won. She is the sweetest dog. She loves giving kisses and she loves kids so it was just meant to be.”

Boo Boo the long-haired Chihuahua, was measured at the Spring Fling to determine if she is, indeed, the world’s smallest dog, according to height. Those measurements will be sent to the Guinness Book of Records to determine if Boo Boo is awarded the title.

Animal Planet’s Jay Stutz, host of “Good Dog U,” helped measure the tiny dog. This was Stutz’s second year in a row to attend the Spring Fling.

“I talked about dog park etiquette and fielded questions from audience members,” he said. “A dog park is only as good as the responsibility of those using it. You need to know what is expected of you and your dog.”

Stutz, who lives in Florida, said this is his 10th dog park event this year.

“I love going to dog parks,” he said. “I always learn something new or hear about a behavior issue I’d never heard about before.”

The world’s biggest dog, according to weight, also attended the Fling. Upon his last visit to the Ashland Animal Clinic, Bear, a Mastiff, weighed in at 285 pounds.

“Guinness Book doesn’t officially recognize the world’s smallest or largest by weight anymore because people might not feed or may over feed their dog to get that title,” said the dog’s owner, Julie Flannery.

Most Mastiffs grow until they are 3 years old. Bear is about two and a half, his owners said.

Despite his size, Bear sleeps in the bed at night.

“It’s not comfortable,” Flannery said. “We just hope he is finished growing.”

 

July 23, 2007

Saving Grace for Pets
AFD receives oxygen masks made for man’s best friend, cats
by Carrie Kirschner of The Independent
 
 
Ashland — Firefighters received a gift last week that will help them to save more lives.

On behalf of the pet-loving community, animal activists Terri Tomondi and Tanya Meadows presented the Ashland Fire Department with oxygen masks specifically designed for animals at Thursday’s city commission meeting.

The reusable masks come in three sizes, to fit cats and large and small dogs. The department received just one set of masks, but Tomondi and Meadows pledged to provide additional sets so each of Ashland’s three fire stations will be equipped with the pet-saving devices.

Meadows said she got the idea from a Huntington organization, River Cities Dog Stars, which purchased masks for its first responders earlier this year.

“We thought it would be a beneficial thing to present to our fire departments,” Meadows said.

The masks were purchased with funds the pair received from the American Red Cross to teach an animal first aid clinic later this summer at the Summit Branch of the Boyd County Public Library.

“We’re teaching that class and we didn’t really want to get paid for teaching that class so we’re turning around and giving that money back to the community,” she said. “We just want to make sure the pets in the community are taken care of.”

Ashland Fire Department Battalion Chief John Pennington said the fire department is excited to receive the equipment. He said he knows it will be well used.

“We pull animals out all the time. They are just as important (as people),” Pennington said. “They are people’s property and people love them and their animals love them back. You don’t want to lose them.”

Firefighter equipment is designed to save human lives, he said, but firefighters have been improvising for years to save animals that inhale too much smoke in fires. In many cases, he said, firefighters have to stop people from returning to burning buildings to save their animals.

He gave two recent examples of fires were firefighters revived cats by giving them the lifesaving gas.

“We want to do good things for people. If you pull out an animal and you’ve got the equipment to care for them, you can do your job better,” Pennington added.

He spent part of Friday writing up procedures for firefighters to follow when using the masks so they can begin using them immediately. The masks fit the department’s standard oxygen cylinders so no other special equipment will be needed, he said.
 
 

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