Park for pups

Dog wearing sweater laying down

Manchester Dog Park seeks more members

Samantha McKeon, the Vice President of Development of The Manchester Dog Park Association, a nonprofit organization that relies on the financial support of its members and donors to build and maintain off-leash dog parks in Manchester, spoke about the city’s only park, at 344 Second St. in Manchester, for its furriest residents. Find them on Facebook @ManchesterDogParkAssociation or email them at

Can you give a brief history of the Manchester Dog Park?

I’m a newer board member but the dog park was originally established by a small group of individuals in the city of Manchester. There was no public dog park so they started a nonprofit organization to raise funding and to work with the city to lease the land to create a dog park. The Association has been running it ever since. The land that the dog park is on was originally the blacksmith on Bass Island. Unfortunately, there was a fire there and the land, over time, got overrun by debris and trash. It really wasn’t visually appealing, so the city worked with the Association so that we could build the dog park there.

If I wanted to go to the dog park, what would I need to do?

In order to go to the dog park you do have to be a member. We have the applications to become a member on our Facebook page but we also have a link to our email where you can request an application…. Once that application has been completed, it’s just basic information about you and your dog. We also confirm that your dog is all up to date and registered in order to become a member, and then you’ll receive an email with a PIN for the padlock on the gate and then you use that PIN to enter the park. You’re supposed to go between dawn and dusk.

Will the dog park stay members supported?

I know that a lot of the community has been going to regular meetings to try to get the city to build a public dog park. I don’t know when that is going to happen, to be honest, but there is definitely a community push for it. We as an association are just trying to maintain this until that exists. The more sponsorships and memberships we receive the less we can have that membership fee be. Right now the $5 a month is to cover basic maintenance like insurance, poo poo bags, new sand, maintain the ramps, we’re building a water catchment system, so that’s what that $5 goes to….

What can a new member expect if they show up to the dog park?

Right now we have a small community of members but lots of tennis balls. My girl loves her tennis balls so I always make sure there’s a large volume of tennis balls available, Chuckit sticks, toys, A-frame, tunnel, catwalk, dog house. Right now I personally buy gallons of water to keep in our shelter for dog use, but we just ordered the supplies and are working to construct a water catchment system that will replace the water jugs…. The shelter is a little shed… where dogs and members can sit in there to get out of the sun. It’s like a little shaded area with benches and chairs…. We do have regulations against rope toys or bringing in human food into the dog park because it can lead to aggression behaviors, so that is against our rules.

Why is it important to have a dog park in the city?

I think it’s really imperative for dogs to have a place to play and socialize. Dogs are really social animals and they have a lot of energy and we’re in a really urban area where it’s hard to find a place for dogs to run and play and get that energy out, which is really important for their development. … For me, I have a German Shepherd. She has a lot of energy, so I have to take her to the dog park during my lunch breaks, daily, and I don’t have enough time during my lunch break to drive to Hooksett or Hudson, so it’s a perfect opportunity for me to have that time with my girl, let her run around, get her energy out, her zoomies, so that I can continue on with an undistracted workday.

What are some steps people can take to help out the dog park?

We do accept donations. We do have a sponsorship program for businesses in which businesses can give us a donation and we’ll hang a sign in our dog park to advertise the business. …You can email our nonprofit … —Zachary Lewis

—Zachary Lewis

Featured image: Courtesy photo.

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