FRAMINGHAM – They say dogs are a person’s best friend. They bring joy to our days and comfort when times are tough. They can annoy us with every sock chewed or fur left on the rug after we vacuum. But above all, they are an endless source of unconditional love.
In return we give dogs our love, food and a comfy place to sleep on the couch. But in order for dogs to live healthy, happy lives, they also require exercise and companionship. Chasing balls, running free in open spaces, daily walks all help dogs maintain a healthy weight, burn energy
and socialize with other dogs and people.
As dog owners, we do our best to give all of that to our furry companions. This is why we have worked for five years to bring a dog park to Framingham. Dog parks are found in communities around Massachusetts, it is time our city provides such a space.
There are 4,491 licensed dogs in Framingham, and that number is increasing.
Many people in Framingham consider Callahan State Park as the dog park. Callahan is state-owned land which has granted dogs off leash privileges. Unfortunately, the number and severity of injuries, even deaths, has increased over the years. We need a safe, enclosed space for off-leash activities.
A dog park is more than a fenced off patch of land for a dog to run around. Parks enable interaction with other dogs and people, and a place to get physical and mental exercise, lessening destructive and annoying behaviors. It is a location for organized programs and activities for dogs and owners alike.
Parks for dogs lessen instances of dogs off-leash in on- leash parks, which is an ongoing issue in Callahan State Park.
We formed FramBARK five years ago to collaborate with Framingham. We have spoken to our elected officials and municipal department leaders. We have put together a comprehensive plan on possible site locations, potential budgets and features of the park.
We have found a private grant that would pay for 90% of the project costs.
With all of our research and effort, FramBARK has yet to achieve its goals.
Meanwhile, the enthusiasm among dog owners has grown.
When we announced FramBark was finishing its work in December, we were overwhelmed by the support and encouragement to keep going.
So, we are going to give this one more try. FramBark is collecting 100 signatures for a citizens’ petition to present to the Mayor and City Council.
In our petition, we request the Council establish a group of stakeholders, like the group who worked on the new skatepark. It is our hope that this group, made up of dog owners, Parks and Recreation, Conservation Commission, City Council, will assess our work, explore park options and make a decision.
Dog parks are a welcomed addition in communities around Massachusetts. It is time for Framingham’s dogs to have their own space to run, play, socialize and learn.
Framingham is a great place to live. Building a dog park here will only increase the quality of life for humans and their four-legged friends.
Shannon Stevens, Caelli Craig, Jessica Helgeson, Linda Webster, and Mike Henry are members of FramBark and can be reached at FramBARK@gmail.com.