Tag Archives: hearings

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!!!

City-budget talk: the good, the bad and the ugly

By Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller

I am writing this after a recent Worcester City Council budget meeting. By the time you read this, changes may have happened because this coming budget is still a work in progress. Here is where we stand now:

The CHALLENGE a week ago: find ways to close a $7,000,000 budget gap.

The STRATEGY: negotiate with our City’s unions on health care reform and wage increases. This is actually 3 pieces: (1.) City Manager O’Brien has developed a local health plan that significantly reduces costs to both employees and the city. (2.) We are asking city employees to pay 25% of the cost of health care. (3.) We are asking employees to take 0% wage increases for this coming year.
The PROMISE: the money saved with each union who agrees to accept these 3 conditions will go back into that same union to save jobs for the union and services for the taxpayers.

(Note: The City Manager moved all non-union city employees to these 3 conditions, including himself and his Administrative staff, earlier this year and preserved jobs and services. The City Council has also accepted these conditions, although there are no job savings that result and not all councilors use the city health coverage.)

The WRINKLE: All unions must agree to all 3 conditions in order to generate enough city-side savings to restore overtime accounts. This means that services that rely on overtime will be cut even if the union that works in those departments accepts the 3 conditions. You will see how this plays out further into this article.

The PROGRESS-to-date:

WORCESTER FIRE DEPARTMENT union has agreed to the conditions. This saves 35 firefighter jobs, 1 Ladder Company, 1 Engine Company, and preserves our present average response time of 5 minutes and 49 seconds (the PROMISE). THANK YOU WFD! It does not, however, restore the overtime account (the WRINKLE) because not all unions have signed on as of now. Because of the overtime loss, brown-outs and temporary closings of companies will be used during periods of summer vacation and the like (NOT GOOD FOR US).

WORCESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT unions have agreed to the conditions. This saves 35 police officers, restores support to Community Policing, the Traffic Division, the School Liaison Program, and prevents demotions and 100 re-assignments (the PROMISE). THANK YOU WPD! Like the WFD, it does not restore the overtime account (the WRINKLE). So we will lose important programs like the Summer Impact, SWAT training (NOT GOOD FOR US). City Council voted, under the leadership of CC Bill Eddy, to hold the WPD budget for a few weeks to see if we could figure out a way to restore the Summer Impact. We all know that this program keeps us safe during highest risk summer months and we are not willing to kill it without a fight. The City Manager tells us that there is nowhere to find the money except by having all the unions agree to the 3 conditions (the STRATEGY).

That was the good news.

PUBLIC WORKS & PARKS: No union (Local 495) agreement yet. This means 19 layoffs, closing 2 yard waste sites (Foley and Clark Street) on Wednesdays and Saturdays, essentially the end of Keep Worcester Clean, no services for litter, overgrowth, trash, bulk items, graffiti. No parking enforcement except for downtown. New signage will only happen if $ can be found on an individual basis. No sweeping, no litter collection on business corridors, including downtown. Downtown trash receptacles will be emptied 3 times a week rather than 6. No park maintenance at 15 sites. No maintenance of veteran’s squares and monuments. THIS IS BOTH BAD AND UGLY FOR US.

INSPECTIONAL SERVICES: No union (Local 495) agreement yet. This means 6 layoffs, longer stretches between inspections, no Canada geese egg addling, neighborhood crime watch attendance reduced to every 3 months, reduced nuisance enforcement, reduced problem property reviews.


PUBLIC LIBRARY: No union (Local 495) agreement yet. This means 4 layoffs, reduced hours at Greendale branch, reduced outreach with WPS, must obtain a waiver to get State aid (if we fail to get the waiver the results will be 7 more layoffs and dramatic reductions at the Main branch), 10 Sunday closings at Main Branch, longer lines at the service desks. Also, fewer purchase of books, DVDs, audio books. All of this while the demands on the WPL are growing. OUCH! We have run out of Band-Aids. City Manager O’Brien tells us that he has groups that are interested in contributing money to the Library but only if the union agreement is in place – they are not willing to fund a system that no longer works.

CLERICAL POSITIONS: No union (Clerical Union) agreement yet. This means 8 layoffs in various departments. This will lengthen response times to housing court, assessment questions, and financial reports.


Like I said at the beginning, the city budget is a work in progress. We need Local 495 and the Clerical Union to stay at the negotiation table and figure out how to stop the dire cuts in jobs and services. Our other unions have found a way to say “yes” and we cannot stop there.

Stay tuned.