A canine trio comes in for a break at the Standish Community Dog Park. A fundraising event for lighting and a shade shelter will be held at the park Sept. 16. Contributed / Standish Community Dog Park

Next Saturday is a day for dogs – and their owners – with a Pups in the Park event to support the Standish Community Dog Park.

Food, games, raffles, demonstrations and a dog show will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 16 to raise money for solar lights and a shelter for shade at the year-old park, which is located at Memorial Park off Route 25.

The lack of shade at the park this summer has been challenging for dogs and their owners, spurring many of them to visit the park in the evenings, said Sandra Boutin, who was integral in the effort to bring a dog park to Standish. That creates its own challenges, however, because although the park is open until 10 p.m., it is not lighted.

Money raised at Pups in the Park will go toward making a safer park for dogs and owners.

“It’s a free, community event for anyone and everyone. We welcome all well-behaved dogs on a leash,” Boutin said.

A happy dog park visitor. Contributed / Standish Community Dog Park

The afternoon will also include a K-9 demonstration, a photo booth, free nail trimming and special appearances by Sparky the Fire Dog and Bill Dodge’s Otto the Moose. A “fun” dog show with awards given in categories like “fluffiest” and “longest tail” will open to all with a $10 entry fee, and a game of “musical sit” for dogs is also planned.


“We’re hoping to make it an annual thing and do a fundraiser once a year,” Boutin said. “This event brings the community together, and it’s a lot of fun.”

She doesn’t have a fundraising goal for the event, but she hopes that by next summer the solar lights can be installed and the shade shelter built.

The 1-acre park with a double-gated entry initially opened with a $25,000 “Bark for your Park” grant from the state and has since been maintained by community volunteers, she said.

April Allen got involved with the dog park when the idea was first presented in a petition five years ago.

“It’s important for the community because it provides a safe space for the dogs to socialize and people to socialize,” Allen said. “I have a deaf beagle who likes to sniff and wander, and she’s able to be off leash” at the park without Allen worrying that she’ll get lost.

In addition, many older residents who can’t walk their dogs as much as they’d like bring their dogs to the park to get their exercise. Benches and picnic tables are available for owners while their dogs play.

She’s hopeful Pups in the Park will bring greater awareness to the park.

“Hopefully it will spark interest, so when we have events, people will want to get involved,” Allen said.

Community members can donate to the park at any time or register with its Clynk account and donate that way. More information can be found on the Standish Parks and Recreation website and the Standish Community Dog Park’s Facebook group.

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