Plans under way for dog park in Tahoe Vista | SierraSun.com

Plans under way for dog park in Tahoe Vista

Jenell Schwab
Sierra Sun
Photo by Jenell SchwabPam Bergerand#8217;s rescue dog and#8220;Joeyand#8221; may soon participate in a paw-a-thon to raise money to build an off-leash dog park at North Tahoe Regional Park.
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TAHOE VISTA, Calif. and#8212; Dog lovers Pam Berger and Linda Slack-Cruz are howling with delight over plans to allow a large, off-leash dog park to be built at North Tahoe Regional Park.

and#8220;We put the dog at the center of the community,and#8221; said Berger. and#8220;I think our community is ready to rally around something good.and#8221;

Berger and Slack-Cruz are working with Dog Day in the Park, a soon-to-be established 501(c)3 nonprofit. Berger and#8212; inspired by a recent visit to Bend, Ore., where the community offers seven dog parks and#8212; recently went to the North Tahoe Public Utilities District board of directors with a proposal for one here. She and Slack-Cruz were thrilled with the PUDand#8217;s approval of a 1-2 acre park.

and#8220;We feel really lucky,and#8221; said Berger.

The dog parkand#8217;s exact location at North Tahoe Regional Park has not yet been selected, and, for now, the NTPUD board of directors has kicked the scouting process to a sub-committee.

How much the dog park will cost to design, build and maintain is still to be determined considering the exact size, slope and terrain of the site will play a factor. Berger said a large majority of the project will be covered by donated funds.

To get a jump start, she and Slack-Cruz are brainstorming fundraising ideas. The park, they said, will be constructed in phases as volunteer round-ups and fundraising efforts allow.

and#8220;There are people in this community who have a lot and people who have nothing. But here in Tahoe, everyone gives,and#8221; said Berger.

Berger and Slack-Cruz have experienced the giving side of the community first-hand.

Last September, the women were members of a five-person committee that sponsored the inaugural Dog Day in the Park, which attracted an estimated 700-800 people and raised nearly 11,000 and#8220;bonesand#8221; to benefit the Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation, a volunteer-based organization which works with local animal shelters to reduce the number of euthanized animals.

The fundraiser was an admission-free festival which offered low-cost rabies vaccination and microchipping, and featured canine-themed activities such as a smooch-a-pooch booth, a-dogand#8217;s-face face painting, puppy pedicures, bobbing for bones and dunk the dog-catcher and#8212; in which real-life Placer County animal control officers ended up in the tank.

The second Dog Day in the Park is planned for Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this festival will again go to WARF.

Berger and Slack-Cruz also plan use the same enthusiasm and creativity to help fundraising efforts for the new dog park as they do to efforts to raise money for WARF.

and#8220;We are thinking of hosting a paw-a-thon,and#8221; said Berger, and#8220;or maybe having the dogs themselves send out fundraising letters.and#8221;

Slack-Cruz said the dog park will be essential for the safety of the animals and their owners.

and#8220;Not everyone is a hiker,and#8221; said Slack-Cruz, who herself once worked as a guide in the Himalayas. and#8220;Once you get a little way past the pavement, there are bears and bobcats and mountain lions.and#8221;

While both women expressed concern over increased tenacity of coyotes and coydogs and#8212; coyote and dog hybrids and#8212; the philosophy driving the creation of the Tahoe Vista park is not one of fear.

and#8220;Whenever you do something for dogs, the people will come,and#8221; Berger said.

More information can be obtained by emailing dogdayinthepark.tahoe@gmail.com or visiting Dog Day in the Park on Facebook.

Donation checks can be made to Dog Day in the Park and sent to PO Box 183, Tahoe Vista, CA, 96148, or dropped off at the Placer County Animal Shelter on Shelter Road in Tahoe Vista.