By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterJuly 31, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 31, 2014) -- Military Families come in all shapes and sizes, and some members even have fur.
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 six 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."
Most Families think that Corvias is doing a good job in offering amenities that people want. Brandi Buhl, Army spouse, said she brings her boxer, Zeus, to the dog park weekly so he can expel all his energy so her house is more peaceful.
"By keeping my dog mentally and physically fit, it helps my Family, and my husband, stay mentally and physically fit, as well," she said. "If the dog has too much energy, the house is more stressed. Its so hard to find places that are dog friendly and he is a member of our Family. It makes me feel good that he is welcome and there is a place just for him."
And though the park is for the enjoyment of dogs, human parents enjoy it just as much.
"The dog park is a great place for my two Italian greyhounds, Piper and Maggie, to play with other dogs and it has plenty of room to run without being on a leash," said Eden Keene, veteran. "It's great for socialization for me and them."
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," he said.
The Bark Park is located in the Bowden Terrace neighborhood on Artillery Road near the Fort Rucker Primary School.
It is open from sun up to sun down and was constructed with recycled materials. It was recently resodded to help keep it maintained for everyone's enjoyment, said the communications manager.
"The Barking Lot is made from crushed foundations from old homes. We made the pavilions from materials 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 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. 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 to Families for when they visit the park.
Let the dog off leash as soon as they enter the fenced area so the dog feels comfortable when other dogs greet 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.