Do you need a dog park?


By Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Affairs and Alliances

Jim's dogs are lucky to have several PetSafe dog parks in Knoxville.

Jim, Bodie and Sam love the evenings they spend in Knoxville’s PetSafe dog parks. It’s good for all three of them!

If someone told you there is a place other than a gym where you can get healthier and happier, you would get there as quickly as possible, right? In many communities across our country, there are such places—places where blood pressure and body weight are reduced and where smiles and friendly people abound. These magical places are called dog parks!

Having a safe place to play with your best friend and mix and mingle with other dog lovers can be more than just a dream. It seems dog parks are springing up everywhere, and PetSafe is making sure of it! We’re preparing for the final stages of our second annual Bark For Your Park competition, where one lucky city will be awarded $100,000 to build a PetSafe dog park. This year is even bigger and better! Two additional $25,000 prizes will be awarded to the runner up and the Bark From Your Heart award winner, which will be the city with the highest percentage of votes to its population.

Fresh air and exercise are good for the spirit and good for the body. Dogs, like most people, rarely get enough of either. Most are confined to homes or small yards. They do not get enough opportunities to stretch their legs. A community dog park gives dogs and their human friends a place to spend quality time together strengthening the bond between them. Dog parks promote active, healthier lifestyles for both dogs and people.

Dog parks also present fringe benefits to communities. For example, dog park visitors serve as a sort of neighborhood watch. The mere presence of people and dogs can reduce the rate of crime in the surrounding area. And, by requiring all dogs using a park to be licensed, local animal control agencies have a little help in enforcing regulations. Giving dogs a legal place to run and play off-leash makes it less likely that pet owners will let their dogs run loose in public places where it is not allowed.

Dog parks are even great for a community’s homeless pet population! Offering a safe place to play and socialize encourages pet adoptions. Picture that poor, petless human with his nose pressed against the fence watching all the “cool” kids having fun with their pets – great motivation to go to the nearest shelter to adopt a new best friend and save a life.

If your community already has one or more dog parks, get out there and use them! Think of them as holistic healing centers where you will get a little dose of medicine that will make you feel better almost immediately. If your community needs a dog park, get involved in this grassroots effort to get one built.

You can help the 15 finalists by voting in the PetSafe Bark For Your Park competition twice a day from now until August 1st. All they need to win one of three cash prizes is enthusiasm and support from their communities (including the online community), and someone has to be the head cheerleader getting everyone else motivated and excited! So, get out there and Bark For Your Park!


Jim Tedford serves as PetSafe’s Director of Animal Affairs and Alliances. Working on the front line of animal welfare for over 20 years, Jim has served as CEO for organizations in New York, Louisiana and Tennessee. Prior to joining PetSafe, Jim provided marketing and fundraising services to animal welfare organizations nationwide. Jim holds a degree in animal science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Jim and his wife Ann share their “empty nest” in the Smoky Mountains with adopted dogs Bodie, Sam, and Lila and a formerly homeless macaw, Gipper.


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12 Responses to Do you need a dog park?

  1. Karol Patrick says:

    I have voted on FB and on your website. I got the 1st pop-up with the clue, however when I go to Blog, there is never a pop-up that allows me to get the 7 extra votes.

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Karol, Thank you for participating in Bark for Your Park. We are sorry you had trouble with the 7 Vote Sniff Out this week. If you have any other questions, please email us at Good luck to your community.

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  3. stacey thompson says:

    I have tried to vote for my favorite dog park by Facebook and the pet safe .net website and I am redirected to radio comcast or something. can you please correct this?

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Stacey, Thank you for participating in Bark for Your Park. We are sorry you are experience trouble with our site. Could you please email us at so we can assist you. Thanks. Good luck to your community!

  4. Brenda Booker says:

    Our city (Lynchburg, VA) is really excited about the Bark for your Park contest. I have been faithfully voting every day….twice. But I am not sure all of my votes are being counted. You tell me. This is what happens: I click on the link given on facebook which takes me to the contest page on your website. When the site comes up, I get the message that my vote has been counted for today. So I’ve been assuming that my vote was taken just because I clicked on the link. But today, I decided to play around. I pretended to look for another city. Once that city came up, THEN I changed, and searched for Lynchburg again. This time, when Lynchburg came up, I voted. And guess what! It took my vote! So I guess all those times when I just clicked on the link and the screen came up saying my vote had been counted, I had not actually voted at all. BOO!!! Why does it seem so complicated to reach the 2 spots where I can vote? I wonder if I am the only dummy who has trouble with this? I don’t think I am having trouble with the facebook page for voting. At least, I hope not. Who knows?

    I made the above comment on facebook, and everyone said I should send the question to you. Others remarked they have had the same problem. Would you please send a reply to me via email. I would like to repost it to facebook so all of us will know what is happening.

    Our city, Lynchburg, VA, was one of the cities which lost power because of the recent derecho in our area. Some of us had no power for as long as 10 days. If one depended upon electricity for computer use, then that person could not vote. We lost many votes because of this, so we really can’t afford to lose more votes due to faulty voting problems. We appreciate having the opportunity to try and win for our city, so please don’t consider my remarks as complaints. I want to know if I am doing something wrong or if the link is faulty or what? Thank you.

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Brenda, Thank you for participating in Bark for Your Park. As long as the text you see after you vote is green, your vote has been counted. Please, email us at if you have further questions. Thanks, and good luck to Lynchburg!

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  6. Natalie Lester says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Steve! We are so glad to see a group in Denver working to get a dog park. Be sure to participate in our Bark for Your Park contest starting May 1st! Good luck!

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