March 24, 2018
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Dog park effort part of growing national trend

By Renee Ordway, Special to the BDN

I once had a T-shirt that read, “The more people I meet, the more I like my dog.”

I was 15 years old. It was my dark, sarcastic period.

Nonetheless, there have been times in the 33 years since I purchased that snarky shirt that I have hearkened back to its sentiment — even times when I didn’t have a dog.

There are 77.5 million dogs owned by people in the U.S, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Dogs are everywhere and doing everything from finding illegal drugs and bombs, guiding the blind, detecting seizures, guarding property and now, according to some reports, even sniffing out lung cancer.

My dog doesn’t happen to do any of those things, but probably that’s more my fault than hers and there is no one else who wants to kiss my face all over each time I walk through the door.

And to be truthful there is no one else whom I would allow to do it.

An entire economy has risen around dogs. New dog owners are more apt to take their dogs to behavioral training classes than ever before. Department stores have dog clothing sections.

There are doggy day cares everywhere and doggy yoga classes in more urban places.

More and more hotels are allowing guests to bring along their pets. There are websites and published travel guides dedicated to helping traveling dog owners locate dog-friendly communities to vacation in or stop over at.

In his best-selling book, “The Rise of the Creative Class,” renowned social scientist Richard Florida notes that one housing trend indicates that off-leash areas for dogs can be a crucial factor to people looking to relocate.

Several Maine tourism sites have lists of communities that have off-leash dog parks.

And so for those reasons — that I love dogs and am among the optimistic with regard to the future growth and direction of Bangor — I will sacrifice a small slice of my day on Sunday to eat a lobster.

New arenas and creative eateries, excellent and sustained festivals and more gambling opportunities are big important things — but so are the smaller elements that will help support that growth and nourish the community members and its visitors.

The proposed dog park in Bangor is one of those things.

Like most things around here, the idea for the dog park has been discussed and debated at length. We don’t always move swiftly.

It’s been about a year and half of discussion, actually, but it seems as though the tempo is picking up a bit and some of the organizers hope that the park, which is set to be located along the banks of the Penobscot River behind Geaghan’s Pub, will be open next spring.

The kickoff for the new kicked-up effort is from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday behind Captain Nick’s restaurant on Union Street in Bangor.

A core group of organizers have worked tirelessly to put together the event, which should go a long way toward raising the $50,000 they think is necessary to build the park.

Single lobster dinners with sides and drinks are $15, with $5 for each going straight to the dog park fund. A two-lobster dinner is $25, with $10 going into the fund, and for $35 you can get three lobsters and $15 will go directly to the fund.

Don’t worry. There will be alternative fare for the nonlobster lovers.

The award-winning Wildwood band will be playing and there will be a variety of dog-themed activities.

The Bangor-area community is proving more than ever that it is ready to move forward and make large sustainable changes to keep the city moving forward. This is just a small step in that process, but a good one.

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