A Fun Time For The Canines

The construction site of the new dog park. The parking lot, new trees, and a sidewalk underdevelopment. (Carlie Peters)
Abigail Coburn’s Shih Tuzu mix, Star. (Abigail Coburn)

   Nixa’s own dog park is under construction near the intersection of Norton Rd. and Rosedale Rd. near South Nixa’s newest water tower. The park will be approximately four acres in total size and have separate sections for large and small breed dogs.

    “At this time we anticipate the park opening in the spring of 2021,” Parks Director Matt Crouse said.

    Dogs will be allowed off the leash. In these areas will be benches and picnic tables for owners to sit at. There will also be dog waste stations and other amenities. Outside the fenced-in areas, there will be shaded picnic tables as well.

   All Nixa residents who wish to use the dog park must register for a pass. Dog owners and their canine friends will only be allowed into the dog park if they have proper shot records.

   “This will be an important aspect of the dog park as we work to ensure that the park is fun and safe for the community, as well as, our four legged friends,” Crouse said.

   Abigail Coburn is a sophomore at NHS who has been fostering dogs for 4 The Love Of K9s for three years. Having started in 2003, 4 The Love Of K9s is a foster based dog rescue based out of Springfield, MO. It works alongside local animal control agencies to offer veterinary care to unwanted dogs and find them safe homes. Almost a year ago, Coburn adopted her Shih Tuzu mix, Star, from the organization.

    “Fostering dogs is a really important part of my life,” said Coburn. “It makes me feel like I’m doing something good in the community.”

    Every month, 4 The Love Of K9s gets at least ten dogs a month and they are immediately placed in a home. Eventually the dogs will be put up for adoption.

   “When you foster a dog they usually come in very shy and scared and they don’t know where they are, but as a foster, you get to see them progress as a dog, and eventually become some of the sweetest, most amazing dogs,” said Coburn. “You could never figure out why the owner didn’t want them.”

    As someone who is passionate about dogs, she believes the dog park could be a good addition to the city.

   “I think this will improve the community,” Coburn said. “It’s a way to bring people together, because people have one thing in common which are the dogs.”

   However, some owners may not know how well their dogs will get along with other dogs. Some dogs are not as social as other dogs. Different dogs may be either too aggressive or too submissive.

   “I also think it could also possibly be a potential bad idea, because owners have pretty clouded judgement when it comes to their dog,” Coburn said. “Not all dogs are friendly with other dogs, so it could potentially be dangerous.”

    Coburn said that if two dogs within the dog park want to be dominant, there could be fighting once they are let off their leashes.

    “Personally, I don’t feel comfortable taking my dogs to the dog park,” said Coburn. “This is because, as a dog owner, I don’t want anything bad to happen to my dogs, and just the idea of them possibly being in danger I can’t do that to my dogs.”

    The Nixa Parks and Recreation Dog Park page currently only says that the dog park is being designed and asks Nixa residents to check back later. Though, Matt Crouse has stated that the dog park is currently in the construction phase. 

   “We are very excited to bring this park into the Nixa Parks and Recreation system and know our community is excited as well,” said Crouse.

    The dog park could open up anywhere from March to late May in the springtime of 2021. The opening date is still subject to change. Though it should be open by the time the weather gets warmer. The park will offer plenty of spaces for dogs to run and for owners to talk.

    “I would just recommend, trust your instincts with this dog park,” said Coburn. “If you don’t feel it’s going to be safe for your dog, don’t go to it, because I’d hate to see something bad happen or hear about something bad happening to one of your dogs.”