Friday, January 19, 2007


Our dog park was in the newspaper! How cool is that? It was even a day that we were THERE because my mom remembers seeing the photographer there. She said if she'd realized it was for a newspaper story she'd have made sure we got into the picture. (It pays to have a media savvy mom!) Anyway, we didn't make it into the story but our friend Lucy did ... she's in the video they had online at the Star-News ... check it out:

And read the article online ... or below!


Canine park a hot spot for pets, social gathering
By Janette Williams,

[Janette Williams: PASADENA] - Fun-seekers spill out of a white stretch limo at one of the hottest spots in town. This crowd is ready to rock - and to roll in the dirt.

Ginger the Great Dane, Oliver the mutt and other Doggie Nannies service regulars arrive in style with their handler, David Shelton. But once through the gates they blend into the social scene at Vina Vieja, the city's first off-leash dog park.

Since it opened last April, the 2.5-acre park in Northeast Pasadena has become a big draw for dogs and owners area-wide. Labradoodles, schneagles, puggles, Chiweenies, purebreds and mixes so exotic no one's coined a name meet and greet in a universal doggy language. Owners socialize throughout the day: moms after they have dropped kids off at school, retirees, the Thursday schnauzer group and the after-work or weekend crowd reputed to create a party atmosphere. And there are rumors of the odd flirtation.

"You mean the dogs or the people?" joked Ron Rosemont, who comes almost every day from Monrovia with his blind miniature poodle, Basso Profundo - "half poodle, half pot-bellied pig, who thinks he's the mayor of the park" - and Reggie Bush, the standard poodle who looks out for him.

"Some people don't pay attention to their dogs; they come here to see each other," Rosemont said, smiling. "People looking for romance are not responsible dog owners."

The park is one way of meeting people with common interests, said Carolyn Keeber, who regularly brings her yellow Lab, Charlie. "I have a boyfriend, but if you're single it's probably a good place to meet casually and talk to people."

It may not have been part of the dog-park plan, but "I've certainly seen some gentle flirtation," said Lisa Mrozek, vice president of POOCH (Pasadenans Organizing Off-leash Canine Habitat), the volunteer group that lobbied the city for a decade to establish the area. Mrozek said the group has been "absolutely thrilled" with the response. "I like to think it's one of the most-used parks," she said. There's no official tally of numbers, she said, but the park is so well-used that the volunteer group plans to have the area re-sodded, in two stages. Mostly things go smoothly at the park, regulars say, but the odd dog fight does break out, much of it posturing, and owners are quick to intervene.

"If there's a bad dog or a bad owner people politely gang up on them," Rosemont said. "There's an internal police force that's gentle but effective."

But, as POOCH volunteers point out when asking for feedback via their Web site: "Police, we're not. And we're as frustrated as you are with some of the unpleasant parts of the dog park: aggressive dogs, smelly trash receptacles, standing water, soggy sod, ill dogs, and inconsiderate owners."

Talking of which, picking up after dogs is a task not everyone performs, the Web site notes: "One person, a Pasadena city councilman, no less, brought his two big white dogs and immediately plunked down on a bench in the far northwest corner of the park. He was busy reading a newspaper and had to be told that two pounds of poop was available for pickup at the other side of the park."

"I don't recall that incident," said Councilman Paul Little, owner of two 115-pound Great Pyrenees named Andy and Amy. "People tend to be very polite, and understand everyone misses the opportunity to do their cleanup duties once in a while."

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