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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cloverdale Comments - July 2011

Are Making It Happen!

Cloverdale’s often been called “a city of volunteers”. And with good reason. When it comes to giving time, talent, devotion and donations to community causes, the track record of my neighbors and friends clearly shows what a remarkable, inspiring force for good they are.

So, when I say that the dynamic little team a number of us have come to think of admiringly as our “Dog Park Ladies” is a particularly fine example of Cloverdalian resourcefulness and dedication – well – you can be assured I don’t say it lightly.

How Their Project Began
Every dog needs a safe place to frolic, exercise and make friends, while their humans need to get them there without wasting time and gas.

However, despite being very pet-friendly (Cloverdale dogs may not rule but they sure act like it!) certain necessary rules about leashes and scooping poop, not to mention hazards like traffic and unsocialized dogs, present challenges.

That’s why in 2007 Stephanie Kruzse and Kassie Wall decided to tackle our growing need for a local park where local dogs, along with those of tourists and visitors, could play safely and socialize freely.

Luckily For Fido & Fifi
While they acknowledged the task wouldn’t be easy, Stephanie and Kassie  also believed that a Dog Park project would succeed if a community-wide effort could be both generated and sustained.

So, not only did they vow to have a presence at every community event, better still, whether obtaining their 501(c)3 non-profit status, setting up a record keeping system and a website, searching for a suitable location (hopeful hint: there’s an ideal spot in a certain local regional park named for a local river) or when communicating with potential allies (including County and City staffers and officials, like me) every action our “Dog Park Ladies” take is business-like yet personalized and positive – even when their progress is temporarily slowed by the miserable economy or some obligatory bureaucracy.  

Their Fundraising Is Cool, Too...
At local events, whether summertime’s “Friday Night Live” or fall’s “Car & Motorcycle Show”, you’ll always find a Dog Park booth featuring a professional display and selling a variety of quality, competitively priced doggie/pet products such as wholesome treats and chic, on-collar baggie holders for all that scooped poop.

Those holders, by the way, come in mighty handy during the popular “Walk With Your Dog” fundraisers on our main Boulevard.

You’ll also find our “Dog Park Ladies” – now including Patty Frendo who joined about a year ago – personally staffing every booth so it’s always ultra-easy to learn all about the project or even how to become an official Sponsor.

Speaking of which, rather than expecting to get 100% of raffle item contributions when other worthy causes also need them, our Dog Park Ladies manage the monies we give them so prudently that they can have a policy of paying for half of all sponsored prizes. 

I also appreciate how they adapt to fast-changing tastes and conditions. For example, tote bags once sold well but they’re now available for little or no cost as non-profits and retailers get with the anti-plastic trend. Nonetheless, our Dog Park Ladies are still well-prepared to appeal to every donor, sponsor and pocketbook thanks to other items like personalized commemorative bricks (Roz and I bought one to honor our three departed pets) or adorable, good quality logo tee shirts (got those, too) or a big garage sale July 23rd at Stephanie’s, 201 N. Washington (definitely going!) 

A Golf Tournament & A Raffle
This newest event happens 8/20/11 at Healdsburg Municipal and features a range (b-a-d pun) of great prizes including a 2-night stay for 2 at Little River Inn on the Mendocino coast plus a Tri-tip BBQ. Entry deadline is 8/15. For those of us who can’t play that day, there’s a Raffle for another 2-night stay for 2 at LRI ($10 and you don’t have to be present to win!). For info on everything, including the Garage Sale, call Kassie, 894-3022 or Stephanie, 894-5692 or check