Forty-six million households in the United States have dogs. If history repeats itself, over 4 million dogs will be surrendered to shelters this year. The man power and resources needed to respond to the massive number of pets that are surrendered to shelters is emotionally, physically and financially exhausting. It’s a disheartening fact that the 2nd most common reason that dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescues is due to behavioral issues.
Dog parks provide the venue and opportunity for dogs to get vital exercise and socialization they need, which are two major factors in reducing behavior issues. Also, people tend to meet other dog owners, trainers and pet professionals at dog parks and are able to exchange information and resources that can further encourage responsible dog ownership.
However, few communities are able to pull from their current budgets to find the funds to build dog parks. The PetSafe® brand is helping communities turn their dog park dreams into a reality through the Bark for Your Park contest.
Behavior-based surrenders are an issue that PetSafe has been tackling through their behavior and lifestyle products since 1991. After supporting the construction of their local dog parks, the company saw an opportunity to make an even bigger impact in the pet community by offering other communities a way to earn the dollars to build their very own dog park.
In 2011, PetSafe developed and launched the nationwide Bark for Your Park contest. The goal was to structure a contest that would ensure the community’s civic leaders, community members and pet owners would truly love, use and support a dog park for years to come.
For PetSafe, the contest is all about finding enthusiastic, pet-loving communities that support allocating green space, invest time and energy in improving their community and encourage responsible pet ownership. For the right community, a dog park will help to increase pet adoptions and help to reduce the number of pets euthanized due to behavior. That’s the legacy that PetSafe wants to leave in communities across the U.S.
After three years of hosting the contest, PetSafe has seen strangers in communities unite to build a dog park. People find they can create positive change for their communities when they work together towards a common goal that many can relate to and enjoy for years to come. That’s what our dogs do for us – they bring us together. Just ask Huntington, WV, Texarkana, AR or Texarkana, TX the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Top Dog winners.
It just takes one person that believes their community would benefit from a having a public dog park to nominate their community. Critical to the execution of a dog park project, contestants are asked to provide a letter for support from a civic leader and allocate the land for the park. PetSafe chooses 15 finalists – five small, five medium and five large cities. Then the fun begins! Each community’s members are encouraged to “bark” (a.k.a vote) every day. Popular vote determines the winners. PetSafe partners with each community to help ensure their parks will be well visited and loved by their community of dog-lovers.
If your community needs a dog park, or simply needs something pure to get behind, nominate your community today!
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