This dog park even has a book swap for pet owners
By CHIP DAWSON
Life can’t get much better than in the Preserve Dog Park. Friends are there, everyone gets along (dogs and humans) and there’s plenty to do with balls and Frisbees and books. Yes, books — there’s a lending library for humans. Leave one, pick one up.
The Preserve Dog Park was built in 2004 as part of the St. Alban’s Square neighborhood, off Concord Road. While many of the regulars at the park come from the immediate neighborhood, the park’s reputation routinely draws people from Cornelius, Huntersville, Mooresville and even Statesville. The day we visited, the State of Florida was represented.
The one-acre park is meticulously clean. Rules requiring clean-up are posted at the entry, but the park culture ensures that first-time visitors get a polite orientation upon arrival. Humans can usually be found gathered on or around the two picnic tables—sometimes joined by several dogs.
There is a rain shelter, designed by an architect and built as an Eagle Scout project, along with a small-dog obstacle course and water station. There’s also a memorial board in the shelter for dogs who have died.
At the entrance to the fully fenced park is a set of double gates to keep canine visitors from slipping out when a gate is opened. Guarding the entrance is another Scout project—benches and a covered sign board that has all the rules. Among them are a licensing requirement, prohibition on sick or aggressive dogs and those younger than five months. Perhaps one reason the park works as well as it does is that all dogs must be trained and responsive to voice commands.
Doug Boone developed the neighborhood and the dog park and continues to shepherd progress there. He, in turn, credits the Town of Davidson with financial support for fencing and benches during construction and the neighbors for taking ownership.
The park is “smaller and more intimate,” he says, and an informal code has developed to keep it working. “It’s a social place,” he told us.
He likened it to a gathering of parents on preschool play dates, “we have the same conversations about dogs as others have about children.”
There are birthday parties (for the dogs) and the humans string lights in the trees at Christmas.
WANT TO GO?
Doug Boone maintains a Facebook page for the St. Alban’s dog park and publishes a regular newsletter. His e-mail address (email@example.com) is posted at the park entrance so that people with questions or suggestions can contact him.
The easiest way to reach the dog park is via Grey Road, off Concord Road in Davidson. From Concord Road, turn left on Grey and head down the hill. Look for Wolfe Street on your right, and turn right. Wolfe becomes O Henry and you’ll find park parking a couple of blocks in at 330 O Henry.