Tag Archives: dog park

On dogs and the proposed City of Worcester dog park/s

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    Rosalie’s Lilac!!! pic:R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

I’ve owned dogs – four to be exact! – for years – 23 years to be exact! What has surprised me about me and dogs: I LOVE THEM – THEY ARE AND HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE MOST JOYFUL PARTS OF MY LIFE! They bring the natural world  into your life so deeply; they are uncannily intuitive; they are great, fun loving companions. My two dogs, Jett and Lilac, go everywhere with me. I mean EVERYWHERE! They jump into the jalopy with me and are my extra layer of skin all day – the buffer that makes it easier to glide through life. They are my exclamation point at the end of a happy moment!  They pull me out of funks. Everyone should own a dog. They are life changers – like raising  kids, like taking care of an elderly/sick parent, like birth/death….What they teach you, allow you to experience, runs deep!

They love to run! Or walk or trot or … prance. Get a dog and walk him or her every day and you’ll lose 10, 15 pounds EASY. I WILL HAVE A DOG – EVEN IF IT’S A TINY TEA CUP POODLE IN MY DOTTY OLD AGE – UNTIL THE DAY I DIE. Most dog owners feel the same way.

I have friends who are dog crazy too and have shared their dog stories with me through the years.

Here are some of my personal pup ideas/tips – mostly learned from experience (plus a few gleaned from  my pals’ pup “tales” ). They are for our esteemed Worcester City Council to “chew on” as it comes up with a dog park plan – in earnest this time around. For the city. For the dogs – especially those without a fenced-in back yard, our canine heroes who adjust to cramped, concrete-filled inner-city life with a wag of their tails because they love their masters so much and because dogs, if raised with love, are naturally ebullient, optimistic souls!

It’s only taken the City of Worcester 10 years to get serious about building dog parks. And believe me: build them and dogs and their owners will come! Wiggle your bums everyone, wag your tails everybody!!! Be like a pup!


1. Build 2, 3 or even 4 municipal dog parks:

one for toy/small dogs

another for our average mutts

another for our senior/older dogs or dogs with disabilities/cancer

and another for big/or very athletic/ very strong dogs

Dogs follow pack rules and spend much of their lives negotiating and renegotiating their rank in the pack. Usually, the strongest and biggest and smartest dog is #1. He or she is in their physical  and mental prime: they’re around 3 years old  – wicked healthy, fast, and strong  and, mentally, they’ve lost their puppy naivete/inexperience but haven’t entered old fart grumpiness. Any dog who meets another dog will immediately work to figure out who’s top dog. If the dogs are well socialized by their owners, this usually involves smelling butts and playing, sometimes a bit rough. Poorly socialized dogs will fight. That’s why the City of Worcester must create fairly level playing fields for the dogs and to “expell” the combative dogs from the dog parks until they are properly socialized.

Greyounds and Huskies have very high prey drive. But they are friendly, nice dogs a la my Jett. HOWEVER, if you mix them with tiny toy dogs, they may think the teeny toy dogs are little, tail-less squirels and give chase, savoring the exhilarating hunt, and kill the little guy or gal. Dogs hunt efficiently. It will be a blood bath but it will be over quick. People will be traumatized; they will be begin calling their lawyers IMMEDIATELY.

Jett!!!!! Most Huskies love the hunt!

My first dog Grace was the sweetest dog in the world. But when I took her to parks, meadows or fields, Grace, in her prime, stopped being my gentle loving companion and became GRACE QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE, huntress extraordinaire. It was like she was in a kind of spell … She ran down and killed: squirrels, chipmunks, mice, woodchucks, skunks!!!, huge crows. She once came back running to me, blood dripping from her muzzle, with what looked to be a big joint…from the pelvis area…I went to the vet. Stop this blood lust! I cried! He said: Impossible, Rose. Gracie has a high high high high prey drive. Walk her on a leash. Which I did. For the next 8 years.

2. All Worcester dog parks dogs MUST HAVE ALL THEIR VACCINES, plus the shot to prevent kennel cough. Dogs, like my friend’s puppy, can die from parvo if they are not vaccinated and run into a dog that has the disease. Kennel cough is catching and painful! The dogs hack and hack and their coughs are deep and painful. One year I didn’t vaccinate Jett against kennel cough – it’s not mandatory unless you board your dog. He caught this doggy flu and was miserable. The vet fixed him up with antibiotics, etc. When Jett felt stronger I got him  kc vaccinated.

Spaying or  neutering is good, too. Unneutered male dogs are more aggressive – especially with other dogs. Also, two unfixed dogs = a litter of puppies! Ooops! You’re a granny or grandpa!

* The dogs should be walked before entering a dog park – exercised, otherwise they are gonna explode with energy at the park. Ideally, a dog park is for dogs to socialize and have fun with each other.

* Dog owners, be aware! Don’t flirt or gab your way to oblivious-ness. Dog owners are usually as friendly as their dogs – and have fun dog stories to tell. People may even fall in love with each other –  or at the very least hook up – at Worcester dog parks! I know years ago, at Institute Park, walking Grace I met a tall handsome guy walking his tall handsome dog and fell head over heels in infatuation – with the guy! Needless to say, for the next two years I walked Grace (off lead) in Institute Park every day looking as cute as I could muster while running after my dog who had a screaming squirrel in his clenched teeth, she had just broken it’s neck! – me screaming DROP THE SQUIRREL GRACE! OH GOD! DROP THE SQUIRREL GRACE!!! A  love affair is great, but always keep at least one eye on your dog.  She – like you! – works fast and can get herself into trouble! Like you. Fast. Like you.

* Bring water…

… And poop bags. Always clean up after your dog!  Sorry to say this writer is  sometimes remiss. It is just that I have so much other “shit” in life to deal with!  Exhausting. Jett and Lilac are little poop factories, too! Plop. Plop. Icky. BUT I WILL BE GOOD. I WILL BRING SHAWS AND PRICE CHOPPER PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS to pick up the poo. Promise.

That’s it for now!

Go, Worcester dogs, go!!!

Looks like the Green Hill Park folks are shitting all over the proposed dog park …

CAM01032Jett would love – and could definitely benefit from –  a Worcester dog park! (He needs to lose his pot belly!)

… so, let’s move on to the grittier parts of the city ….



Wednesday, November 12

5:30 p.m.

 Worcester City Hall (Main Street) –  Esther Howland Chamber 

Discussion of feasibility of putting a fenced-in, off-leash dog park on the Mann Street side of Beaver Brook Park. In and around the spacious area once occupied by the swimming pool.

To use this dog park, Worcester residents would require a permit that would be issued only after their dog was licensed and vaccinated against rabies.  (#12j CC August 19, 2014)


The Wyman-Gordon site is a sight!

By Rosalie Tirella

The old Wyman Gordon factory site. Once a testament to Worcester’s industrial muscle. Now a shadow of it and its city’s former, greater!, working-class self! Now it is ugly, dirty, closed off from the neighborhood – no longer economic life blood for the residents of the hood. It sits at the edge of the Canal District under-used, under-loved. You drive past it down Lamartine Street and your heart grows heavy …

Through the years, there have been plans and dreams for this Woo inner-city eyesore – some more mundane than others. Like the Wal-Mart that was maybe gonna go in (nope, said the company, not enough potential customers), a Price Chopper (ditto for the supermarket chain), etc.

The summer before last it really looked like a slots casino, hotel, spa, pub-style restaurant were all heading for the Wyman Gordon site. But then-City Manager Mike O’Brien and pals pushed for the hotel to be built downtown,  restaurant types felt uneasy about the casino’s pub taking business away, other folks wanted MILLIONS AND MILILIONS of dollars in mitigation funds – bribes, don’t you know. So Worcester, as usual, shot itself in the groin.

I myself was against the whole thing! But I reconsidered once neighborhood folks told me LOUD AND CLEAR that THEY REALLY WANTED – NEEDED! – ALL THE JOBS that the casino was going to create.

In hindsight, the classy, fun playground, with a concert venue!, that the casino guys proposed might have been a good thing. I know this for sure: All the jobs for the semi-skilled in the neighborhood and city would have been a GREAT THING!

Just getting some trees planted along Lamartine Street – this gal’s modest proposal for the WG site two summers ago! – proved to be too controversial!

So now we’ve got shit! The Wyman Gordon site is one big shit sandwich on Kelley Square, leading to the Historic Canal District.

Maybe it’s all the Halloween candy I wolfed down doing the talkin’ … but the Wyman Gordon site looks especially foreboding this time of year!

But today I have a new, INEXPENSIVE, INCLUSIVE, DOABLE, TEMPORARY SOLUTION to the problem:  an inner-city mini-park, with or without a dog park.

Let’s all work together to get some soil trucked into this now fairly cleaned up and detoxified brownfield! Let’s put in trees, bushes, flower gardens, benches, picnic tables, some art …

If the liability issue can get worked out, let’s fence in some greenery, bolt in some fuckin’ benches, install doggy poop bags dispensing machines and get a little urban dog park going! It may work! It would be away from tons of homes with homeowners who don’t want to live by a dog park. Away from all the anal naysayers who will NEVER allow a dog park to be constructed in Green Hill Park. (Let’s not kid ourselves!)

If Allen Fletcher can have his fake canal, the Canal District should – through volunteerism? and donations? – create a fake city park that can be disassembled once the Wyman Gordon folks sell the property, which will never happen because the owners  are demanding WAY TOO MUCH $$$$.

We’ve got stabbings, prostitution, murders, garbage dumping in/near the historic Canal District.  Maybe if the hood’s RESIDENTS get something they can truly feel part of, make their own, there would be more pride in the neighborhood coming from people who live here 24/7.

The real neighborhood.

The real neighborhood people who need a CVS, bank, supermarket, maybe even a health center or public library branch, in their neighborhood. The very  stuff the neighborhood’ s movers and shakers all have and take for granted.

Now that would be historic!

More thoughts on Worcester’s dog park … and a song

By Edith Morgan

I confess: I am a cat person. The last and only time I had a dog was in 1943, a small brown and white fox terrier. Since then, I have had a series of cats, who usually lived indoors, had a litter box, and of course never had to be walked or put on a leash (cats do not readily submit to such indignities!). More and more, I feel that cats are the ideal city furry pets – but my neighborhood, like the rest of the city, is full of dogs of all sizes and breeds. I see them being dutifully being walked on sidewalks, occasionally stopping to “take care of business”, usually on a nearby lawn, with their owners picking up after them (ideally, not always!). But of course, they can pick up only solids, so the liquid deposits remain and in the summer become ever more potently fragrant.

Since Worcester is a city of tripledeckers, condos, small unfenced yards, or no yards at all, there is nowhere to let the many dogs run free and play and romp and socialize, as so many of the larger breeds have done for centuries.

So it should come as no surprise that many dog owners try to find open spaces where they can give their dogs a chance to enjoy the wonderful freedom that so many of us enjoy in our parks. But we have an ordinance that dogs, even on leashes, are not allowed in public parks (an ordinance that is generally ignored all over the city). So, in fairness to dogs and their owners, many people want dogs to have their own “parks”, as so many other cities do. There are 0over 600 real dog parks in the U.S., and many places that are used as such informally (If you take a drive around Worcester any day you can see dogs romping around in Elm Park, GreenHill, Lake Park, and many others.

So our time seems to have come to confront the need – we are certainly not pioneers in recognizing the problem: the first U.S. dog park was established n 1979, and we have learned much about how to establish and run a successful dog park.

When we begin the hearings (February 26th) we will hear from many groups : the predictable NIMBY crowd, the dog owners, the animal lovers, and many others. I would hope that before any decisions are made, we all get much better informed about how a successful dog park is run, how the advocates can finance and maintain such parks, and what rules and regulations must be in place. We have to address the questions of location, size, maintenance, and requirements of owners that they have their pets vaccinated, neutered, healthy, and friendly. Other dog park groups have addressed these problems successfully – after several years of efforts. As all those of us who have made changes know, it takes YEARS to bring about changes, but at least we have great models around the country to help us.

I do not have a dog, but can commiserate with those who do and want a place to legally bring their pet, sit down on a bench, watch him/haer play , compare notes with other owners, or maybe even chat with visitors who just enjoy seeing all sorts of dogs play together….

Go to DogChannel.com and other resources and find out how to do this successfully.
I was gonna post Elvis singing “Hound Dog,” but I decided to go with the lady who first sang it true: The fabulous Big Mama Thornton. (Bonus! More music!) – R. T.

The Worcester dog park public hearing

By Edith Morgan

Finally, after nearly two decades of talking about it, Worcester is poised to create a dog park!! After a hearing at City Hall on Wednesday, February 26, with a very detailed presentation by Rob Antonelli who has been working on this problem for a decade or more, many dog owners and neighbors testified. It seems there is consensus that such a park is badly needed. With well over 10,000 properly licensed dogs in the city , and who knows how many more that are not, it is clear that there is a large garoup of residents for whom such a park would be a real boon.

Since dogs have to be “walked” at least twice a day, just to “take care of business,” and for many dog owners there is not a big, fenced-in yard available, our sidewalks and neighborhood lawns are all that is available to them. Many are very conscientious about carrying bags and picking up after their pets – but there is something missing.

Like their owners, many dogs greatly enjoy romping about freely, playing with other dogs, having “friends” in their own world. And many need an open space where they can run off the energy that builds up when they are cooped up all day inside.

So … once all the arguments in favor of a dog park were made, we had to address the details; the big question was LOCATION. We all know about NIMBY (not in my back yard), which is very understandable: fears of traffic, odors, parking problems, maintenance, were all voiced. And I am confident that in the next few months these will be addressed. We were told that it is unlikely that much will get done before next spring – so there is time to seek solutions to these problems before then.

A number of speakers at the hearing volunteered to give of their time in the park – and many also volunteered to become members of a “Friends of the Dog Park”, similar to several successful such organizations that already exist in our city: we have “The Friends of the Senior Center”, “Friends of Newton Hill” ( whose founder Rick Miller has just been recognized for his many years of devotion to that area), “The Green Hill Park Coalition”, and “Park Spirit, Inc.” (which has been advocating for our parks and raising funds for the Elm Park Summer concerts, etc… ) – to mention a few of the groups that are made up of citizen volunteers.

So it seems there are already many people ready to step up and help to make this park a success. They gave their names to the Committee, and I am certain they will be called upon soon . I know that a well-run dog park will cost to construct properly, and then will require regular maintenance and supervision and perhaps improvements as we experience its use. But as with so many other successful projects in our great city, once we decide to accomplish something, we always find help among our citizens, our businesses, and our elected officials.

Sky blue Jett

By Rosalie Tirella

I named him after “JETT,” a Paul McCartney and Wings tune. Cuz my little husky mix (my vet said he had a smidgen of coyote in him!) was fast and streamlined, like a jet airplane. Cuz he had non-stop energy on our walks. Cuz when I’m with him, which is 90% of the time!, I feel kinda … high. Dogs can make you feel that way: pull you out of your safe human routine and plop you into in-the-moment fun, joyfulness, high-spirited high jinks. If they are young, they are ready for all sorts of tail thumping adventures. Every day is truly a new day, a rebirth, for young dogs. Young turks, even the girls, but especially the boys, so full of themselves, they are!

Then our dogs get older, all of a sudden, just hits you from behind! Like my beloved Jett. As I write this post, he’s by my side, lying down, but with his Husky head errect, at attention. I see, for the first time, my older Jett. My older dog. I want to cry.

He looks serious! And purposeful, like the middle aged fella he is. His teeth are good and strong but his canines are not their pearly white of yesteryears! He has no grey whiskers around his muzzle, but a few will pop out soon enough. And then his snout will become snowy gray, and I will caress the back of his ears and kiss the top of his head and call him my “sweet old boy.”

Jett’s my third dog. I’ve been down this wistful road before. I once cried to the Old Injun Fighter, as I watched my old retriever Bailey fight his cancer: WHY CAN’T DOGS LIVE AS LONG AS WE DO? WHY DO THEY HAVE TO LEAVE US SO SOON?! The OIF understood. He’s had 10 or so German Shepherds in his life. When they die, he has them cremated and put into an urn, which goes on his bedroom bureau, along with the other urns that contain the ashes of his other beloved German Shepherds. Somewhere amidst the dusty containers sits a small white vase with plastic flowers in it. He retires his late dogs’ collars, too, and never ever forgets the day on which they died, a solemn anniversary during which he stays subdued, quiet.

Looking at my calendar I see April is almost here. I adopted Jett from the rescue league four years ago, in April. He was a frisky eight months old when he entered my life. Now he is almost five. Five years old, for most dogs, is middle age. You notice the difference! They don’t run as fast. Their walks don’t need to be as long. They like sleeping by your side, little naps by their mommy or daddy! They don’t have the forgiving ways of puppies. They get set in their routines.

But here comes the great part: If you have even been a half-decent owner, THEY LOVE THEIR LIVES WITH YOU. You have become the loopy planet around which their pure, pure canine hearts revolve. They sing their doggie love song only to you. A love song sung to you in yips, yaps, laps, licks, snorts, snarls and farts. HEAVEN!!!!!

And then there are their eyes. They too will start to fade, even grow cloudly with cataracts, just the way it happens with us humans. But, if you look deeply into their gaze, the way I am looking into Jett’s eyes now – not too long cuz dogs interpret this as a power grab – you see the pup, or the memory of your young dog in his or her eyes. I look into Jett’s eyes – one is sky blue, the other chestnut brown. Two different colored eyes; it’s a fairly typical Siberian Husky trait and does not mean he is blind. I fell in love with Jett’s blue eye and brown eye almost four years ago! To me then – and to me now – they were so unique, so strange, so mysterious. Like a coyote slipping along the edge of the woods, just when the sky grows dark blue. A most beautiful blue …

Joellen …

… loves her dog Shayla. She and Shayla live in Worcester’s inner-city where Joellen doesn’t have a big fenced-in yard to exercise Shayla. Still, Shayla is well cared for. Joellen’s got a sweater on her best bud this raw winter day (Monday, March 3) and she walks Shayla every day.

There are so many responsible dog owners in Worcester! So many good folks who don’t have fenced-in yards and want the best for their pooches. So many people who could, like their dogs, use a little TLC – and yes, lots of them live in the ‘hood. The proposed dog park should be happening! Especially for inner-city folks! It should be shiny and new and built by the City of Worcester and paid for by the City of Worcester – just the way tax dollars fund our inner-city swimming pools and our inner-city schools. We have folks who say: Who will pay for this new dog park? Well, the city, of course. We dog owners will pick up after our dogs, but the grass will need to be mowed, the  benches repaired now and then – City DPW and Parks regular maintenance stuff. No biggie. Let’s not kill a great idea, people. A concept whose time has come!      – Rosalie Tirella

Worcester’s pups need a dog park!

Rosalie Tirella

InCity Times owner/editor/publisher Rosalie Tirella and her Husky mix Jett pose for a pic two and 1/2 years ago. Even though Rose walks Jett every day, Jett would love an enclosed space in which to run super fast! (That’s why he’s called “Jett”!) The bottom of McKeon Road in Quinsig Village would make a super dog park!

By Deb Young

Every dog has his day, but does he also need a park? I think so.

Let’s face it – although we are wonderful companions for our dogs, sometimes there’s nothing like a “hound’s day out.” Taking your dog to a dog park allows them to enjoy the company of other dogs while requiring them to mind their social manners.

A great playground for your pal, dog parks also offer you a way to makeover your dog and your town. Helping to create better behaved pets, a more pet-friendly city and shelters that can work more efficiently it’s time for this community to open a dog park.

For many people (particularly the elderly, singles and those with disabilities), the dogs really are their only companions. If they can go to a dog park, it gives them a reason to get dressed, go out, socialize, play with their dog, and strengthen that bond between them and their community. Dog parks provide the elderly and disabled owners with an accessible place to exercise their companions or get their animal fix. Also promoting physical fitness and improve the mental state of owners.

A dog park would provide opportunities for people to socialize and share valuable, responsible pet ownership information because of the common bond shared by dog owners. Dog parks can bring people together and create a greater sense of community. Dogs help shy people “break the ice”. It would also promote responsible pet ownership in our community because the park would require some form of licensing and proof of vaccinations before dogs would be allowed to use it. A dog park would help increase dog ownership registration in the town and may also make the local animal control’s job a little easier.

In increasing frequency, research has shown that more and more potential home-owners consider the availability of a dog park when considering moving to a community. A dog park increases the desirability of a community to potential newcomers.

A valuable benefit of a dog park is what is does for the dogs themselves. It gives them the space and freedom to run with other members of their species, all while being safely supervised. In order for dogs to be healthy and well socialized, they need time to exercise and play with other dogs. “A well-exercised (a.k.a. tired) dog is a happy, healthy, quiet dog and a better neighbor”

Well-socialized dogs are less likely to develop behavior problems such as aggression and excessive barking. An outdoor “club for canines” may help reduce associated neighborhood conflicts. Puppies and dogs that get enough exercise by playing are less likely to create a nuisance, bark excessively, destroy property, jump on passers-by, etc.

There are more than 700 dog parks in the United States, and overwhelmingly they work. Dog fights and dog bites happen, but are rare. A more pervasive problem is people not always picking up after their pet, but even that can be addressed with peer pressure and self-policing among park users.