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Dog park supporters garner members, plan fund-raisers

Date: 4/17/2012

April 18, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

AGAWAM — The Agawam Dog Owners Group (ADOG), the non-profit organization advocating for a dog park in town, is slowly seeing its membership grow.

"We are close to 150 people on our email list, and 130 on Facebook," ADOG Chairperson Scott Milliken told Reminder Publications during the group's April 4 meeting. "I've started going to all my friends and suggest they 'like' us [on Facebook] to keep it going."

ADOG member Debbi Sanches said the group has been encouraged by the positive feedback it received through a recent dog park survey conducted with the help of Planning and Community Development Director Deborah Dachos.

"Sixty-seven percent [of respondents] were in favor of a dog park in town," Sanches said, adding that, despite the survey's availability on the town website and in hard copy form at the public library, senior center and Town Hall, the group was aware the responses did not represent a full sampling of the population.

"We did get some backlash from people saying it was not representative of the town, but people did have opportunities to voice their opinion," she said.

Miliken said the group is "still trying to get the word out to people in town that we are looking for volunteers [and] are open to feedback on how to move forward."

Miliken said a potential site for the proposed dog park has been selected adjacent to Shay Field in Feeding Hills. "The thing that makes Shay so desirable is that it's a blank canvas for us and for the town. We would be an anchor and the rest [of the park] can go around us. It can be whatever the town wants."

He said there had been some talk originally of siting a dog park at School Street Park, but with the proposed development of additional ball fields, a spray park and other amenities, the group felt there would be too much conflict at that location.

"When we started this group I said 'I don't want this to be dogs verses kids'," Miliken said. He added that ADOG has plans to fund the construction of the proposed dog park, and pay for its continued upkeep.

"This will be a privately maintained park. Not a private park [for only ADOG members], but it will be run by our group," he said

Sanches said right now ADOG has approximately $2,000 in its coffers and is actively fund-raising for the dog park project. Among the three upcoming events the group has slated are a June 3 bus trip to the Bronx Zoo, an ongoing sale of ADOG T-shirts and paw-shaped magnets, and a dog wash was planned at Landlocked Dog in Feeding Hills in June.

Melliken said the group should have pricing and design for the T-shirts finalized shortly, and anticipates sales of the items to begin in about 30 days.

"We're hoping to see a lot of ADOG T-shirts on the bus to the Bronx Zoo," he said.

For more information on ADOG, contact Milliken by email at or by phone at 575-2084.

The Agawam Dog Park can also be found on Facebook at

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