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New sign points to Happy Dogs

WAILUA — Donna Pickard of Wailua said the sign now makes it “officially official.”

Pickard was one of several dog enthusiasts gathered Friday for the dedication of a new sign touting the Eastside Happy Dog Playground at Wailua Homesteads Park. The playground opened in February.

“This facility allows people who leave on trips to know their routines can continue,” said Pickard, a pet care specialist. “We can come and walk their dogs in the park.”

One of her clients, Kaos, whose lineage includes retired police dogs, eagerly took to the “Large Dogs” play area, bounding down the slope as Rene Tokuda, who helped spearhead the park, looked on.

“We have an acre and a half,” Tokuda said. “This is a private and county partnership. The county comes in to cut the grass and every morning Tommy (Tokuda) comes over to tend to the play area. We rely on contribution from users of the play area and citizens to make this work. These contributions are used to purchase the doggy bags and other supplies needed to keep the playground operational.”

Pickard said the pools and hoses in the “Small Dog” area were contributed by people in the area.

“I’ve come more often now that they’ve opened up the playground,” said Jan Rentz. “The dog loves the pool, especially on days when it’s been hot. Now that the days are getting cooler, we’ll probably come even more.”

Rene Tokuda said there is a group which meets daily around 4:30 p.m., and often by sundown, there is a good crowd of people and animals gathered to enjoy the playground.

“Amber has opened up since coming to the park,” said Anne Pecoff. “She was attacked once before and this is good for the dogs socially. It’s also good for the owners, too, since I’ve made some good friends by coming here.”

Marge Akana said she has a half-acre parcel nearby, but never let her dogs run free there.

“We used to walk them,” Akana said. “Now, with the playground open, we come here daily.”

Pickard said she asked the county for the old sign. She plans to make a bench from it for her two dogs who passed away while the park was being built.

Tommy Tokuda reminded users to have their dogs licensed before bringing them to the Eastside Happy Dog Playground.

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