A place to bark about

Dog lovers already know this. But if you’re not a dog lover, we’ll say it one more time: Dogs are good for you.

Come home late feeling tired and weary? Little cheers you up like a grinning, tail-wagging dog.

Go for a walk, too, with a canine, and you’ll find you really do enjoy walks.

Just need a friend who will listen and not argue with you? Try the four-legged, furry kind.

And when you get to watch two dogs playing together, racing, chasing after a ball or just pawing each other, it just makes you smile.

That’s why we want to give a shout-out to the folks behind the dog park in the works at Wailua Homesteads Park. Dog parks aren’t just good for dogs. They’re good for us, too.

“After three years of unrelenting efforts of Rene and Tommy Tokuda, they are finally able to see this dream for Kauai’s dogs and their Ohana become a reality!” said a press release.

And naturally, when you talk to these people about the dog park and who should receive some kudos, they have their own list of thank yous to send out:

“We would also like to acknowledge the support of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Lenny Rapozo, director of the County Department of Parks and Recreation, Donna and David Pickard, Rayne Regush and Malama Pono without whom support the dog use park would not be possible.”

Special Thanks to the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and got dirty … Lincoln Ching, Bryan Aiwohi, Bryan Aiwohi Jr., Soane Latuniupulu, Ed Anderson, Rick and Barbara Reynolds.”

Now, I’m going to admit I’m biased when it comes to dogs. I love them. I look back at the dogs we’ve owned — our loyal yellow lab Sandy, our black labs Scar and Lucky, two 80-pound brothers we adopted when they were 10, another black lab, Kelli, kind and sweet, and our border collie Beethoven, crazy but happy, and realize how much love they gave for not much in return. Walk them, toss a stick at that lake for them to chase, take them for car rides, let them sleep on the couch, feed them dinner leftovers, and they were happy. They just wanted to be with us.

But don’t take my word for it.

Donna Pickard, staunch supporter of the dog park in Wailua Homesteads Park, says dogs are the epitome of unconditional love.

Here’s how she put it:

“You can disappear to the mailbox for one minute and you get a ‘I sure missed you’ doggie dance upon your return! This love helps you feel safe, happy and appreciated. Everyone needs to feel needed. Need turns into, ‘I need to take the dog for a walk.’ A walk is getting exercise for a healthier you.

“Out and about with your furry friend enhances your social life, having something in common with others is a sense of belonging. Belonging is a feeling of peace. Feeling at peace equals having obtained the best quality of life one can experience.

“All of this began with that first glance and tug at your heart. This is the beginning of a beautiful, priceless friendship. Now go “be the person your dog thinks you are!”

According to mentalfloss.com, dogs are like medicine in a bottle. They provide:

Better Heart Health!

A Chinese study found that people who own dogs get better sleep at night and are sick less often.

More Exercise!

While other pets have positive effects on your health as well, dogs have the added benefit of needing to be walked and played with numerous times a day. This means most dog owners get the recommended minimum 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Social life!

Polls show people trust others who have dogs more than just random people walking on the street and are more likely to go up and interact with them.

Cancer fighter!

Your dog could save your life one day. It seems that our canine friends have the ability to smell cancer in the human body. Stories abound of owners whose dogs kept sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body so they got it checked out, discovering it was cancerous, according to mentalfloss.com.

OK. By now you’ve heard all you want about dogs. If you don’t own one, I encourage you to visit the Kauai Humane Society. There are many there who would love to go home with you and there’s a dog park coming soon to Wailua Homesteads.

The fenced dog park, under current plans, will be in a vacant 1.5-acre section of Wailua Homesteads Park adjacent to the pavilion, playground and tennis court areas.

The dog use area will also include double-gated entrances for a separated one-acre play area for large dogs and a half-acre section for small dogs under 30 pounds.

And you still have a chance to mingle with some of Kauai’s diehard dog devotees.

David and Donna Pickard are hosting a potluck at 6 p.m. Saturday so dog park supporters can do their own meet and greet – but, ironically, no dogs, please.

“We would like the gathering to be very relaxing so the humans can socialize with each other without any doggie distractions,” says a flier.

If you want to drop in, let Donna know by sending her a note, donna.pickard@gmail.com


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