by Laura Kocum
on Sunday, April 26th, 2015 at 4:50am.
Changing homes can mean so much more than adjusting to a new commute, improving a floor plan or selecting the right schools. Many buyers are also bringing Fido along for the transition. And considering four legged family members means considering recreational areas that are pet friendly.
The Dane County Parks Department is on the forefront of dog park implementation and design. In 1994 it was the first county in the nation to create a dog park program. Since then, it has expanded to include 7 county parks allowing off-leash areas. Dogs are also welcome at all county parks with a leash. "We found out over time, it's not only a benefit for dogs, but for the community as well. Everyone gets exercise and enjoys the outdoors," says Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks Director. The usage fees have allowed the parks to be self-sustaining. Other states have taken notice, and have used Dane County as a model for creating dog parks across the nation, and even in other parts of the world. The Parks Department has led workshops and developed resources to guide other communities as they create dog parks.
The county's success attracted the attention of several municipalities, including Sun Prairie, Middleton and Madison. Sun Prairie and Middleton both offer an off-leash park. The City of Madison now has 8 off-leash parks, and another 10 that allow leashed pets. Due to demand, the city is investigating adding 10-20 more areas that will welcome leashed pets. A survey to find the best locations is available online.
Dog parks are just part of the story. Several pet daycare businesses have opened in and around Madison. Numerous kennels provide overnight stays, and businesses providing supplies, health and wellness services make Fido a valued member of the community. Organized recreational activities are designed to include and support pets. The Cinco De Fido Dog Jog welcomes runners and walkers to bring their dogs, enjoy a race, and raise funds for the Dane County Humane Society. Scheduled for May 5, registrations are due by May 3. Additional events are scheduled throughout the year.
In Dane County, it's good to have 4 legs!
Looking for a dog-friendly condominium in the Madison area?