Dog parks improve canine behavior

Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention that there is a group of local dog owners raising funds to establish a dog park in the city of Rockford. I was part of a group of Lowell area citizens that raised funds for a free, public dog park. Since opening four years ago, our dog park has been found to be a large asset to the community and has been widely welcomed by local dog owners into Lowell’s city parks system. I wanted to pass along some of the positive affects our “off leash” facility has had on our community and some ways it may be a positive addition to yours.

One of the most notable and widely reported effects of our dog park is that of improved dog behavior. Park users report that the simple activity of running, sniffing and interacting with other dogs a couple times a week has contributed to the improved health of their dogs, both mentally and physically. Regular visits to a dog park can help a dog become socialized to other dogs, making them less likely to act out when coming within sight of other dogs outside the dog park. Watching dogs run, romp and play together can make for some entertaining moments for owners and visitors at a dog park. People enjoy watching theirs, and other dogs, interact and play together.

Rockford is in an enviable position by having a strong reputation of commerce, a well-maintained downtown, and much natural beauty to draw shoppers, tourists and visitors. When traveling, many people bring their dogs along, and a well-run public dog park might be another reason for a dog owner to stop, spend time and get to know the area as a destination or place to shop and do business.

Although the emphasis of a dog park is about dogs, they are very pleasant environments for people. My dogs and I have been to many in several states and find them to be friendly environments where people meet and share their common love for dogs. Our local dog park has added a true element of community and has been the basis for many friendships and bonds. We have found that people feel good about themselves when they do good things for their pets.

It appears, and has been our experience, that with a relatively small investment and minimal annual cost, a free public dog park would be a true benefit to Rockford and the surrounding area.

Jeff Eckstrom, Lowell resident

Happy Hounds organizers thrilled with community support

To the residents of Rockford:

I cannot adequately express my appreciation to the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and walkers who turned out today to make the first annual Happy Hounds Dog Walk such a success. The Rockford community really turned out to show its support by people registering to walk, sponsors donating money, and local businesses donating items to raffle off.

I would personally like to send my thanks to all of the volunteers. This group from high school students to retirees showed up early and stayed late to make sure that everyone had a good time today and that everything ran smoothly. We couldn’t have done it without them. Shannon and Brittany rocked the popcorn stand while Dawn, Sara and Linda cut my clean-up time in half by volunteering to pack everything from pumpkins, to signs, to tables in their trucks and help deliver them to my home. And, of course, my wonderful neighbor Shannon, who jumped in doing anything and everything I asked her to do.

A special thanks to Jerry Douthett for lending his spunky spirit and sense of humor (along with his PA system) to keep everyone informed, entertained, and to keep each activity on track.

To the local press, thank you for getting the word out with wonderful articles and pictures that helped bring in walkers who may have missed our advertising posters around town. Including our dogs in the pictures was particularly a lot of fun.

Thank you to Cathy Schaefer for the wonderful donation of pumpkins, hay bales, and cornstalks that helped put those final touches on the event.

To our sponsors, Hyer Luv Groomers and Kennels, Rockford Animal Hospital, Chow Hound, Chase’s Corner Kennel, Invisible Fence, and Well Pet: you have shown how much this community truly cares about its canine residents and that you want the same things for them that we do as owners. We want our pets to have a safe environment for them to play, exercise and socialize in, thereby making their lives happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.

In closing, we want this walk to be an annual event and to make it everything that the Rockford community is looking for, so we need your feedback. If you have a comment about the walk that would be helpful in having us prepare for next year, please send it to jetchison@att.net. Positive or constructive criticisms are both welcome. This event is for you, Rockford, so tell us what you would like. Thanks again to everyone, and I look forward to seeing you all next year.

Jennifer Etchison on behalf of the Happy Hounds Team

 Our team of volunteers: Kathy Weeks, Sara Lefers, Shannon Bobbitt, Emily Noordeloos, Lora Gleghorn, Jarod Bowling, Brittany Bussing, Laura Ruster, Trisha and Ben Taylor, Sally Nelson, Laura Kulak, Rachel Alberta, Shannon Gibbons, Lucy Koch, Amanda Avella, Dawn Smith-Korcal, Maddie Ek, Linda Koivisto, Shalond Mitchell, and Jenna (I didn’t get her last name)

Taking a stand on global warming

Dear Editor,

Thank you, Derek Shiels, for taking a stand (Oct. 13 Letter to the Editor) regarding climate change and global warming, and putting the spotlight on the locally respected and beloved meteorologist, Mr. Craig James. His one-sided articles in the Squire have been aggravating me for some time, so when I read your well-written, informed comments, I decided to respond.

Maybe what is going on with our climate: extreme weather, droughts, etc. is cyclical, but I am of the opinion that steps could be taken globally to slow down the global-warming process.

The deniers (including Mr. James) don’t want to take any personal responsibility for their actions and just wait out the perceived cycle. Well, good luck with that! Remember, the younger generation will have to live with your denial.

R.F. Lane, Rockford resident

County great, Parmeter beautiful

Dear Editor,

We have lived on the east side of Parmeter for 34 years and have had tons of dust over everything. We have never been able to sit on our front porch or even open our door or windows. No dust, no car noise from the rough road.

Paul Murphy and crew did a wonderful job.

Thanks to Courtland Township and Supervisor Chuck Porter.

Chuck and Patti Batt, Rockford residents

More comment on safety of redevelopment 

Dear Editor,

In response to R. Winegar’s letter on October 13, using your premise why stop there. What if a dog barks, could be home invasion, or a child cries, could be abuse, right?

If dust came from a house and you’re that concerned, stop driving, your tailpipe is poisoning us. The dusty home wasn’t making a buck. Ten minutes of dust against decades of possible pollution. Taking Wolverine Worldwide’s word for it is not good enough.

Don’t you want to know? I guess in your world big companies never do bad things in the name of profit.

Douglas Vander Werp, Rockford resident


About Squire News 6221 Articles
The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.