Off the chain — Macon Dog Park gives canines chance to run unleashed

lmorris@macon.comSeptember 30, 2012 

Isabella, Bosco and Ollie would likely give Tyler’s Place, Macon Dog Park, a howling chorus of approval.

The canines this weekend were romping in the stream that runs through the park at Adams and Chestnut streets and chasing each other. Bosco was in hot the pursuit of a dragonfly.

The dog park, which opened to the public eight years ago this month, gets anywhere from 35-40 dogs on weekends and 10-15 on weekdays, said Ben Hamrick, business service manager for Macon-Bibb County Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the park. Volunteers with Friends of the Dog Park help keep tabs on the park and lets the Hamrick’s department know when things need to be done there, he said.

Before the park was built, Hamrick said a lot of research was done.

“The first issue was how big to make the dog park and then you’ve got big dogs, small dogs and smaller dogs,” he said. “Was it going to be just one dog park so all dogs could come? We had to research dog parks throughout the country.”

Organizers decided to have a separate fenced in area for small dogs with a larger portion of the property for large dogs.

“I think if we did it again, we would make the small dog area a little bigger,” Hamrick said.

To have a quality dog park, it needs good fencing, secure gates, shade, water and bag dispensers for owners to clean up after their dogs, he said. The park is open from sunrise to sunset or as authorized by the city of Macon. Rules for the park are at

The project started with a city-owned 5.6-acre parcel, a drainage area that cannot be developed for residential use, about a block from Tattnall Square Park. The property was surrounded by a fence and split by Vineville Branch Creek, making it ideal for a place for dogs to romp and run.

Macon Dog Park also got the name Tyler’s Place on its first anniversary in 2005. A soft-coated Wheaton terrier named Tyler was the canine companion of Reva Anne Dame, and she donated about $20,000 to help establish Macon’s first off-leash dog park.

Kelly Wright of Macon said this weekend that her “goofy Great Dane puppy ... loves to play in the water and play with the other dogs.” While Isabella played, Wright sat on a shaded bench and studied for her nurse practitioner course.

“It’s so open and there is a lot of space to let her run,” Wright said. “It gives her a chance to stretch her legs.”

Wright said she and her husband live in a downtown loft and while Great Danes are good apartment dogs, as a puppy she needs some place to run.

They adopted Isabella about three months ago from the All About Animals rescue group.

Belle-Anne Bowen of Meadow and Lee Discher of Macon -- both second year law students in law school at Mercer University -- bring their dogs to the park about once a week.

“I like bringing (Boscoe) here just to have him interact with other dogs, and they can swim and run around,” Bowen said. “I think we’re lucky to have a place to bring them.”

Bosco is a chocolate Labrador retriever, a little more than 5 months old, who already weighs about 60 pounds.

“He’s very much still a puppy,” Bowen said.

Both Discher and Bowen said other dog owners are good about cleaning up after their dogs and that they like that the park is kept neat and clean.

Discher said he also likes to talk to dog owners and to see the different breeds of dogs that come to the park. He’s tried taking Ollie on the obstacle course inside the park, but it’s hard to keep her focused with other dogs playing in the park.

Discher’s dog, Ollie, a year old German shorthaired pointer, is a bug catcher.

“She likes to come here and chase bugs and run up and down the creek here,” he said. “That’s the only down side to the dog park. You have to bathe them afterwards.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223. Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

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