The world’s first dog park was opened in 1979 in Ohlone Park, in Berkley, California. Since then, well over 800 dog parks have been created nationwide. Most dog parks offer fenced areas with security gates, picnic tables and/or benches for the dog owners, shade trees, and water sources for the dogs. Some of the best dog parks offer showers, pools mist cooling stations and playgrounds. There are dog parks that have just one large fenced area for all dogs, while others have one fenced area for large dogs and one for small dogs. Most dog parks are easily accessible for the disabled and elderly.
Dog parks are a great idea for dogs that are confined to apartments or crates during the day or for dogs that get little chance to run due to strict leash laws. Dog parks offer a place for a dog to get much needed exercise and interactive play with other dogs. Dogs act as “ice breakers” by helping people strike up friendly conversation that eventually may lead to new friendships. A dog park is also a good place for those who are disabled or elderly and cannot take their pets for daily walks or give them the exercise they need.
After many years of planning, applying for grants and collecting donations, the borough of Hanover now has a dog park located in West Manheim Township, a small community in the southern part of Hanover just over the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line. The park is near the Sheppard-Myer Reservoir. To get to the dog park, one must follow Impounding Dam Road towards the reservoir and make a right turn onto St Bartholomew Road. The park is on the right side, just down a stone lane.
West Manheim Township purchased the 113 acre Warner Farm nine years ago and made improvements over the years as funds became available. The new park has two sand volley ball courts, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, a pavilion, and hiking and biking trails. The dog park is just beyond a field and is divided into two 2- acre fenced areas ‘” one for large dogs and one for small breeds. Area residents love the new dog park, where they can allow their dogs to run free and get exercise without having to worry about traffic or their dogs running away. It has also become a meeting place for dog lovers to meet and build on their new friendships.
I live in a development where at least 60 dogs live with their owners. Many of my neighbors walk their dogs at least once each day, and they invariably pass by my home. My dog, a cockapoo named Muffin, has become very protective of me and does not like the larger dogs that pass by our home. There are quite a few German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles and a few Pit Bulls that have been added to the neighborhood over the past 2 years. I used to be able to take Muffin for a walk every day when there were fewer dogs living around us. Most of the larger dogs are kept in fenced yards, but there are a few that randomly run through the neighborhood, including a Labradoodle and one Pit Bull. Muffin has already had a few run-ins with the Labradoodle, but I wouldn’t want to think what would happen with the Pit Bull. The new West Manheim dog park is a blessing for both my dog and me.