By M. Dennis Taylor
With a strong focus on recreation, the Village of Wellington is home to many parks. Some parks are designed for organized sports, some for more passive activities. Most of them are designed for Wellington’s human residents. That is, except the Wellington Dog Park.
The Wellington Dog Park, located in Greenbriar Park at 2975 Greenbriar Blvd., near the intersection of Greenbriar Blvd. and Aero Club Drive, is a place where canine friends and their human companions come together for some much-needed recreation and socialization.
“Wellington has always recognized the importance of our dogs,” Parks & Recreation Director Eric Juckett explained. “Our facility is divided into three sizes for large dogs, medium dogs and small dogs.”
This division makes sure that little ones aren’t endangered by their rambunctious big cousins, who may outweigh them exponentially.
Since the facility opened more than 15 years ago, Dr. Marc Pinkwasser of the Courtyard Animal Hospital has been a key sponsor of the park, supporting both special events at the park and items needed for its general maintenance.
Juckett noted that Pinkwasser sponsors the pit crew items that allow visitors to pick up all of their pet’s waste materials. Failure to “scoop the poop” is strictly forbidden. In fact, the park’s community of users work hard to self-police this policy and others that make the whole concept work.
Pinkwasser tells patients of the importance of exercise for every stage of the dogs’ life and knows the value of getting out in an open space for that exercise. He practices what he preaches with his two golden retrievers named Ella “Fly Me to the Moon” Fitzgerald and Satchmo “High Society” Armstrong.
“Dr. Pinkwasser gives us a donation every year to help out,” Juckett said, adding that a team of dedicated maintenance staff cleans the facility daily to the highest premium condition residents would expect and utilizes regular pest control maintenance procedures. “We have a dedicated day each week on Thursdays when the park is closed in the morning until 3 p.m. to allow for a more extensive cleanup.”
While the park is not a fully staffed recreation location, Wellington crews keep a close eye on the facility.
“It is not supervised, but our staff checks in on the facility during the course of the day,” Juckett said.
Proud of the 6.5 acres reserved for canine residents, Juckett said the village receives many compliments from its users. Prime time for the Wellington Dog Park crowd is between 4 and 6 p.m. daily.
“That’s when people are getting home from work and when we have the largest number of people throughout the day,” he said.
Juckett added that the facility is popular with seasonal visitors. “Equestrian and polo season from October to April is when we get the most use,” he explained.
Open from dawn to dusk, for an early morning stretch of the legs to a final run at the end of the day, the facility requires visitors to follow current Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines and village protocols.
All three sections of the Wellington Dog Park feature a large fenced-in, off-leash area with pet wash and waste disposal stations located throughout the facility. There are water fountains for dogs and people, and restrooms for the pet’s parents are on site. In addition, there are walking paths and pavilions for shade. People accompanying a dog must have a hand leash with them and be at least 16 years old.
The rules are common sense and fair. Only dogs and people are allowed, no other animals and no personal items or toys are permitted to avoid jealousy. There is, of course, a risk any time a pet owner allows their dog to come into contact with another dog, and the village is not liable for any incidents, but aggressive or excessively barking dogs are not allowed, and any dog displaying aggressive behavior is required to be immediately removed.
Problematic incidents at the dog park are rare, and a trip to the Wellington Dog Park is sure to be your best friend’s favorite part of the day.
The Wellington Dog Park is part of the village’s award-winning recreation system that aims to make sure that Wellington’s recreation amenities are among the best available. Keeping them that way is a key component of Wellington’s recently approved comprehensive plan for recreational amenities for the next 10 to 20 years, which continues to put a heavy focus on high-quality park amenities.
That recreational blueprint addresses amenities for residents of all ages, in groups from children to seniors, and yes, also mentioning dogs of all shapes and sizes.
All dogs visiting the Wellington Dog Park must be legally licensed and vaccinated and wear a visible dog license. They must be at least four months of age, and female dogs in heat are not permitted. Other rules apply and can be found at www.wellingtonfl.gov.