“If you take your dog there once, you’ll want to come back again and again.”
This is what junior Ashley LaRock said about Whitewater’s Bark Park, a fully fenced area for dogs to enjoy.
The Bark Park is a located at Technology Drive and Corporate Drive in Whitewater. The park contains three fenced areas for small dogs, large dogs and an agility arena.
To use the park, owners must register at the first floor of the Whitewater Municipal Center.
Proof of a recent rabies vaccination is required to utilize the dog park. The annual fee for residents of the Whitewater School District is $15 and the non-resident annual fee is $25.
About 45 to 50 people use the Bark Park regularly. The business is dependent on the time of day and weather conditions. Despite Wisconsin’s cold winters, users still visit the park during the winter.
After your dog is cooped up in the house all day, the park allows them to have a great time while draining some energy, LaRock said.
“No dog wants to be on a leash all the time,” junior Lauren Fitzgerald said.
Both Fitzgerald and LaRock are regulars at the Bark Park.
Fitzgerald and Buddy, a Jack Russell/rat terrier mix, attend the park about three to four times a week. Fitzgerald said Buddy loves spending time running around the park.
“His ears perk up, and he runs to the door every time I say we’re going to the Bark Park,” Fitzgerald said.
When LaRock is not busy with classes, she and Sophey, a Doberman/lab mix, go to the park every day. Because LaRock and Sophey attend the park frequently, Sophey has memorized the route.
“When we start driving through town she goes crazy, and she starts to run around the car and squeal,” LaRock said.
The dogs that attend regularly are able to form relationships with other dogs. Fitzgerald and LaRock both said they find it enjoyable to see their dogs interacting with other dogs in a natural environment.
If your dog is friendly and loves to interact with other dogs, between 3 and 4 p.m. is the best time of day for interaction, Fitzgerald said.
The dog owners at the park are a mix of students and community members. Fitzgerald and
LaRock said they have had friendly interactions with all the park users, both humans and dogs.
“Everyone there is so friendly that it seems like your own dog park family,” LaRock said.
The convenient location and sense of security is appealing to users. Because the park is secure and secluded, Fitzgerald said she is comfortable taking Buddy off his leash.
Fitzgerald also said she likes the dog park, because it is not time consuming.
“It’s a great way to let your dog socialize with other dogs and get its energy out without having to take a long walk,” Fitzgerald said.
She will often do homework at a nearby picnic table after releasing Buddy in the play area.
LaRock said she usually reads while Sophey is playing with other dogs in the park.
Fitzgerald and LaRock said they both feel the dog park serves as a lesson in socialization for their dogs. LaRock said she believes frequent interaction with other dogs will ultimately improve the behavior of a dog as it matures.
LaRock said the Bark Park is a great local resource that community dog owners could be utilizing more often. The Bark Park is the only enclosed and secluded dog park in the Whitewater area.
For more information, visit the Bark Park page on Facebook.