News

Merrimack dog park could win $100K from PetSafe contest

Friday, May 30, 2014

By LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

Merrimack dog lovers looking to share some quality time with their pooches are looking forward to a sojourn in Wasserman Park’s dog park, a site they hope to finish developing with much needed funding. The dog park area is alongside the driveway on the exit side of the park, located at 116 Naticook Road.

The dog park, which to date has been cleared of brush and trees, was made a reality through endless hours of volunteer work by the Friends of the Merrimack Dog Park and the sanction in December of Town Council. It will be established once the remaining fundraising is completed.

Now, the dog park is in the running to win $100K or one of four additional prizes of $25,000 in the third annual “Bark for Your Park” contest, a national event sponsored by PetSafe, a leader in the fields of pet behavior, products and lifestyle. The presence of more than 4,000 dogs in town and the support shown by citizens backing the park project make the timing of the contest perfect for making the park a reality.

The PetSafe website, petsafe.net, and the company’s Facebook page are the places to go to cast free votes every day before the deadline of June 7. The votes cast there will determine 15 finalists, announced on June 13. The finalists will be requested to make a video that will continue to promote their dog park. The finalist with the highest number of votes will be declared the winner of the $100K.

Four runners-up with the highest percentage of votes related to the towns’ populations will see the awarding of the lesser prizes of $25,000. The grand winner, announced Aug. 7, will receive the $100K.

Merrimack’s dog park needs additional funding to finish it, preferably by fall, a season when autumn colors and cooler temps make for added outdoor enjoyment. Merrimack’s victory in the Bark for Your Park contest could raise funds that might make the space an additional jewel among the park’s attractions, ball courts, tennis courts, a swimming beach, walking trails, picnic areas and more.

The winners declared on Aug. 7, surely will be busy building a dog park with amenities, perhaps including fencing, doors, fountains, feeders, benches and other doggie delights.

Christine Lavoie, of the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Committee, is a member of the Friends of the Merrimack Dog Park. She is asking that everybody cast two votes daily. Lavoie is the owner of a Jack Russell terrier – Molly.

Lavoie said the contest offers everyone a chance to log in and vote for a great cause. Participation is free and voting is easy. Go to the Petsafe website and Facebook pages to vote twice, once at each online site. She asks readers to spread the word and alert friends and family members to support Merrimack in the contest.

“It’s a wonderful little contest,” Lavoie said. “Voting is free. You’re voting for a great cause. You don’t even need to be a dog owner to vote. You can vote to show support for someone you know who has a dog. In fact, you don’t even have to be from Merrimack to vote. The voting is open to everyone, so please – vote twice daily through June 7th.”

Lavoie said there currently are more than 1,000 votes that have been cast on behalf of Merrimack’s dog park and more are needed to secure funding that would take the dog park into the next phase of construction.

She said the area needs a safe, public dog park where people can let their dogs loose in an enclosed area where pets can socialize and play. She commends Wasserman Park as a great place for a dog park as it also has hiking trails that lead to the Horse Hill Conservation area.

“We just crossed over 1,000 votes but we need a lot more to compete with other towns,” Lavoie said. “Everybody gets two votes a day, one through the PetSafe.net website and one through the Petsafe Facebook page Bark for Your Park. Please log in and vote.”

Donations for the dog park are always welcome, Lavoie added. Those wishing to send a donation may direct it to this address: Town of Merrimack, Finance Dept./Dog Park Fund, 6 Baboosic Lake Road, Merrimack, NH, 03054.

For more information, visit Facebook and the page for the Friends of the Merrimack Dog Park.

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