Dogs get their day at new park

Two years ago, Clyde Wiseman was walking his chihuahua/Jack Russell terrier mix, Lila Jane, on a city sidewalk when a loose pit bull attacked her.

Wiseman managed to get a hold of the pit bull, and it dragged him about eight feet. The pit bull finally ran off, but Lila Jane suffered some injuries.

“It has affected her some, but not as much as I thought it was going to,” Wiseman said of his 18-year-old dog, which he rescued from the Ripley County Humane Society. “I’m glad that she recovered.”

Now that the Canine Crossroads Dog Park is open at the Pet Supplies Plus Distribution Center at 1510 E. Fourth St. Road in Seymour, Wiseman has a safe place to take Lila Jane.

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“This is one of the greatest things ever to happen in Seymour,” he said. “I know because I’m 70 years old, and I’ve lived here in Seymour all my life. Seymour has always needed a place where the animals could go and run free.”

The ribbon-cutting was conducted Friday with Pet Supplies Plus and Seymour city officials on hand. Then Saturday, a grand opening consisted of food, giveaways, pets available for adoption and a chance for dogs and their owners to get their pictures taken together and check out the city’s newest offering.

Wiseman said he read about the event in the newspaper and decided to check it out.

“I just wanted to bring her out and let her have some fun with other dogs,” he said. “We have a fenced-in yard at home, but she doesn’t get the companionship of other animals, so I wanted to bring her out for that.”

The dog park has one area for small dogs and a separate area for large dogs. Each side has a two-tiered water fountain — a higher area for owners to get a drink and a ground-level bowl for dogs.

Wiseman said he likes everything about the park.

“There are so many people I know that have animals that they can’t get out in their own yards because they are not fenced-in, so their dogs either stay in the house or are constantly on a leash,” he said. “This gives people a chance to get out and get acquainted with each other. It gives the dogs a chance to get out and socialize with other dogs.”

During Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jim Jelinek, vice president of distribution operations for Pet Supplies Plus, said discussion about creating a dog park in Seymour started two-and-a-half years ago.

Chris Rowland, the Livonia, Michigan-based company’s chief executive officer, said the opening of the park is exciting.

“Not only is it going to help us give back to the community, but given the business that we’re in and the emotional attachment that we have to our pets, I’m absolutely positive this is going to be a great benefit for the city and a great opportunity for the folks to get together with a common love of their pets,” he said.

Pet Supplies Plus worked closely with Seymour city officials to make it happen.

“It has been the consensus of the city to have a dog park for many years,” Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said. “We kept fighting over where we were going to put it, what we were going to do, and when Jim and his team came forward and said, ‘Why don’t you just put it right here?’ it was perfect. It just fell right into place.”

Pet Supplies Plus has more than 300 retail locations in 25 states, and Rowland said the plan is to create dog parks at other locations across the country.

Ivan Rohde was among the people checking out the Seymour park Saturday. He has worked at Pet Supplies Plus since 2012.

He said his American pit bull, Bentley, hasn’t ever been around many other dogs, so the park allows him a chance to do so.

“I’ve got three acres at home, but he doesn’t get a chance to get out and socialize with other dogs,” Rohde said. “We have a few dogs at the house, but they are all a lot older than he is.”

Rohde said he was glad to see a lot of people attending Saturday’s event.

“You think about it, there’s really not I guess what you would call a safe place to really just take your dogs and let them run,” he said. “We’ve got parks across town, but you can’t just let your dog run around. Something like this is good for the area.”

Tracey Curtis made the trip from Scottsburg to let her chihuahua, Stella, check out the new park. She said she heard about the event on the radio.

“She’s an only dog, and we thought it would be fun for her to get outside because we don’t have a fence and we live close to the road, so we can’t let her outside,” Curtis said. “We thought she would have some fun getting up here and getting to play with some other dogs and see what it’s like because we don’t have (a dog park) around Scottsburg anywhere.”

Curtis said the park is a good addition to the area.

“They’ve even got a place where they can get water. You don’t have to bring a bowl or anything to get a drink. And it’s fenced off,” she said.

Curtis said she plans to make a monthly trip to the park.

“If you’re up here for a while, you can run through a drive-thru, and it will be good for Seymour’s tourism dollars, get some money for them. You have to get a treat for the dog,” she said with a smile. “It will be good for everybody. I think it’s fantastic.”

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Canine Crossroads Dog Park is on the grounds of the Pet Supplies Plus Distribution Center at 1510 E. Fourth St. Road in Seymour.

The park is divided into two areas, one for big dogs and the other for smaller dogs. Each side has a two-tiered water fountain for dogs and their owners to use.

It’s open from dawn to dusk every day.