By Gregg Hennigan
IOWA CITY – The city’s second off-leash dog park will open at 9:30 a.m. July 25.
Known as Rita’s Ranch, it is a three-acre area within Scott Park on the City’s east side. The park is named after JCDogPAC founding member Anne Burnside’s dog Rita.
The city’s first dog park, the 12-acre Thornberry Park, opened three years ago on the northeast side of town.
My wife and I find the dog park to be a pretty entertaining place, although with a baby at home, we haven’t been this year.
The last time we were at Thornberry our dog Bill – we have two Boston terriers, Bill and Pete – nearly drowned in the pond. We coaxed him into the water by throwing a ball in there. (If you’ve ever seen an excitable, athletic Boston at the park who’s psychotically possessive of balls and Frisbees, you’ve likely met Bill.) He swam several feet from the shore to get the ball and then turned around. As he paddled back, he quickly started getting more vertical in the water. Then his head started going lower. I was preparing to go in after him when he was able to touch and get back to land – and safety. We joke that he believes we tried to kill him.
Another time, Pete (whom our vet recently declared one of the biggest Bostons she’s ever seen at 38 pounds) took off after a greyhound that probably was the fastest animal I have ever seen in person. They really are graceful dogs. Greyhounds, that is. Pete, not so much. He was running so fast (for him) and awkwardly that I thought for sure he was going to break a leg. Needless to say, he didn’t catch the greyhound.
One more quick story. I was actually offered this job while I was at the dog park. Lyle Muller, now The Gazette’s editor, called me on my cell phone. I later accepted, and this month marks my third year at The Gazette.
Feel free to share your dog stories in the comment section.
In the photo below, Pete is in the foreground, with Bill behind him.