Fort Rucker goes to dogs with Bark Park
Butter, a golden retriever, and Tanner, a lab mix, take a moment to rest in the shade after playing at the Fort Rucker Bark Park July 12.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 18, 2013) -- Soldiers are not the only citizens on post who have to keep up their figure and release pent up energy, and Fort Rucker offers a way for those citizens to bark 'til dark.

There are around 700 dogs living in the three Corvias Military Living neighborhoods on post, and the Bark Park that was set up for them five years ago is still one of the best places parents and their four-legged children can go to stretch their legs, said Brandon Masters, CML communications manager.

"We are limited to how much yard space we can provide for each house," said Masters, "so it is a great place where people and dogs can run around and meet other dogs and neighbors."

Though there were a few comments on how to improve the park for dogs and fur parents, most thought that Corvias is doing a good job in offering amenities that people want.

And though the park is for the enjoyment of dogs, human parents enjoy it just as much.

"This is good for both me and my dog. I get to meet nice people here, and I know she is learning how to behave better and get the exercise she can't get at home," said Mijung Kim, Army spouse, who has a husky. "I also like coming because it is a great way to exchange information about dog topics such as rescues and vets."

"Keeping a dog physically and mentally active by taking them to the park can help their behavior while at home," said Masters. "If a dog barks while in the back yard, getting some exercise may curb that."

The Bark Park is located in the Bowden Terrace neighborhood on Artillery Road near the Fort Rucker Primary School.

The park, which is open from sun up to sun down, was constructed with recycled materials, said the communications manager.

"The Barking Lot is made from crushed foundations from old homes, and we made the pavilion from materiels from an Allen Heights patio," he said. "We also were able to locate the park on a lot where there was previously a home, so we were able to put in a water spout so dogs can get a drink and be cleaned off."

The central location of the park on the installation was one of the best features for one Army spouse, Jennifer Kerwin.

"It's a great way for my dogs to socialize and play ball," she said. "It is good for dogs to be exposed to new people and new dog friends.

"All animals need that interaction with other animals and other people. Those who don't get that exposure are the ones who are more timid, afraid or aggressive," she continued.

The park is broken up into three sections for dog safety -- an entry area, an area for small dogs less than 20 pounds and a large area for dogs over 20 pounds.

For the health and safety of everyone who utilizes the park, Corvias asks that dogs less than four months old be kept out of the park because they have not received all of their vaccines at that age.

Dogs in season are not allowed to play in the park as well, and all dogs must wear a collar and identification tag.

For those who have never used the park before, Masters suggests visiting the park at non-peak times, which are weekdays from late afternoon to sundown.

Masters also offered tips for bringing a four-legged friend to the park.

Let the dog off leash as soon as they enter the fenced area so the dog feels comfortable when other dogs great them.

Be aware that dogs have different play styles and be educated on dog behavior.

Don't smoke or eat while at the park because cigarette butts and food wrappers are tempting for dogs to eat.

Mischief can happen quickly, so always be aware of what your dog is doing.

For problems, suggestions or concerns about the Bark Park, call a CML neighborhood center.

Page last updated Thu July 18th, 2013 at 12:20