Local dogs ran free as Camp Barkeley celebrated its grand opening Saturday.
Camp Barkeley consists of two fenced-in areas designed for dog owners to come and unleash their pets to have fun, exercise, and socialize with other dogs. Larger dogs have two acres to run around in, while canines less than 30 pounds have one acre.
Bryan and Amanda McDermott have brought their short-hair German pointer, Sube, to the park five times in the last week because of the joy they witness in their pet as she has room to run freely.
“Our yards pretty big, but this is so much better,” Amanda said. “You can tell she’s excited. As soon as we pull up she starts whimpering. For her, its two acres of pure happiness.”
The McDermott’s even went and bought a “Chuckit” ball launcher that allows them to play fetch across nearly the whole two acres.
While Sube likes to play by herself, Mark Christy’s two dogs enjoy playing around with the other dogs there.
“My dogs are supposed to run over twenty miles a day, so this is great. They love hanging out with the other dogs; they’re very social,” Christy said. “I’ve only seen one problem, and it lasted less than thirty seconds. Other than that they all get along very well.”
The dog park was developed with the collaboration of the City of Abilene, the Parks People and Connecting Caring Communities. But Lydia Long, founder of the grass roots group, The Parks People, explained how the whole community came in and supported Camp Barkeley’s construction.
“Over 200 donors contributed that we can name, and that doesn’t include the people who walked up and gave us $20 at the mall,” Long said. “People would show up at and give us cookies and ask us to sell them at the next fundraiser. They didn’t even want a receipt. Everyone just wanted to help.”
Even Abilene’s firefighter association helped out by donating two fire hydrants that were painted like dalmatians.
The dog park has multiple accommodations for dogs and dog owners alike. Stands with plastic bags are stationed around the park for cleaning up after pets, and a water fountain stands in the middle of the fenced-in area. The fountain has a normal stream for water, but can also be set to pour water into a basin on the ground for the animals.
Those naming the park wanted the title to be as creative as Forth Woof in Fort Worth. They eventually decided to name it Camp Barkeley to honor the original Camp Barkeley WWII training camp, as well as Medal of Honor winner David Barkly and all the other troops. And just like the original camp, they even purposefully misspelled the name.