To the Editor:
Visitors to the Manchester Dog Park, located in the northeast corner of the Dana Thompson Rec Center, have asked about the addition of some new fencing.

Here's what we did, and why.

The entire dog park area covers about a half-acre of formerly unused land in the Rec Center that the Town leases to the non-profit Manchester Dog Park Association. The space was originally designed so that there would be the large area for dogs to play off leash, as well as a small, separate area for dogs who, due to age (very young or very old), behavior issues (grumpiness, lack of social skills) or health problems (arthritis, etc.), would be happier in a smaller, self-contained area.

Now that the park has been up and running for almost six years, the Board decided to reevaluate the entire space, which is the reason for installing an additional interior fence toward the back of the largest part of the park. Within that new fence are two gates. One is a double-wide gate that can be unlocked by the park's maintenance crew when they need to get their large machinery inside to cut the grass. Also within the new fence is a smaller gate, which will normally be left open, that is wide enough for dogs and their people to access the back area.

The MDP Board envisions several possible uses for the back area. For one, it is available if someone wants to reserve it for a special event, such as a birthday party or other get-together. Another possibility is that the space can be used by dog trainers for a series of, say, obedience lessons or perhaps agility work. (We are thinking about installing some permanent, low-impact agility equipment eventually, as funds permit.) There would be a nominal rental fee for using the back area for these private purposes, whether it be either one-time or on a more frequent basis.

The Manchester Dog Park Board would still like to see water installed in or nearby the park, for human and canine consumption, and we have some other ideas to make the park more interesting and exciting for pets and their people. We welcome any suggestions you may have; just post them on our Facebook page, Manchester VT Dog Park.

Meanwhile, mark you calendars for Saturday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., when the park will host its 5th annual Yappy Birthday party. It's a great way to celebrate and support southwestern Vermont's only off-leash dog park! Watch for more information as the date approaches, either on Facebook or our website, www.manchestervtdogpark.org. If you are interested in participating as a vendor, exhibitor or to represent a non-profit rescue group, call 375-6138.

Nancy Boardman
President, Manchester Dog Park
Manchester