Why Brookline Needs a “Real” Dog Park
Dogs, like their owners, are an integral part of our community and they need access to open space for social interaction and exercise. In response to their needs, the Town of Brookline created the Green Dog Program. Although this program represents an innovative approach to giving Brookline dogs some freedom, it is by no means the best solution. Parks have limited hours and owners are frequently not able to take advantage of the Green Dog Program. While some dogs are lucky to have daytime care, many live in isolation in their homes.
Brookline has an abundance of parks and many are available for the Green Dog Program. As detailed in the Green Dog Program brochure, most only allow off-leash time from dawn to 9:00 AM. Six parks with varying restrictions allow extended hours to 1 PM. During the winter months, three parks are open to dogs from dawn to dusk, but all parks are all closed in March if there is melting snow.
Even though a park is designated Green Dog friendly, not all areas are available for dogs. Playgrounds, baseball fields, picnic areas, gardens and ponds are off-limit.
There is the question of safety. Dogs in urban areas can get distracted and run out into the hazardous streets. Some parks such as Downes Field and Brookline Avenue Playground have fences to keep the dogs inside. Not everyone is careful with keeping the gates closed, and the dogs can easily escape and risk being injured by automobiles. And finally, there are often conflicts when dogs and people must share the same open space. Not all people are dog lovers and their needs for privacy must be considered.
Brookline has 2295 licensed dogs. Out of that total, 1309 are enrolled in the Green Dog Program. We believe this town needs a real Dog Park: fully fenced with double front gates and an area large enough for tree shading and active play. Water should be available as well as mud-free ground cover, such as wood chips. This Dog Park would be open every day, from dawn to dusk.
Creating a dog park would be a wonderful complement to the Green Dog Program. If you believe Brookline needs a real dog park, please email your name, address and telephone number to [email protected] If there is enough public interest, we will let you know and contact the town to consider creating a dog park.
Editor’s Note: Looking for pet supplies for your furry friend? Check out this great vendor we found to make your pooch the happiest in the park!
By Marjorie Katz and Merrick Cohen