The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 15, 2013

Ryan Richardson: Dash to dog park ends in records search

JOPLIN, Mo. — I can't believe that we are approaching the halfway point of summer and we haven't dealt with the brutal heat that we had last summer. I love it, and, more importantly, my dog loves it, too.

My dog loves it so much that we are running out of outdoor stuff to do. We've hit several of the trails in the area, and we've explored some of the wooded areas. If you haven't already taken a run on them, I suggest the trails on North St. Louis Ave. There is plenty of flat area and a nice winding part into the woods.

I've been told that the trails at Wildcat Glades are an adventure waiting to happen, but I avoid them because of allergies. I've covered a few stories that led me to venture into that area, and I've been impressed with its gorgeous nature.

However, the crown jewel of all things outdoor and pet-related opened up last week.

The long-awaited Parr Hill dog park has finally opened. For a registration fee of $8, plus $4 for each additional dog, you can have a blast outdoors with your dog. That was my plan all week, and I was looking forward to getting a review written. ... Until I went to register Cami at the Parks and Recreation office.

The stated requirements from the city are that your dog must be neutered and that it must have current vaccinations against rabies, parvovirus and distemper.

When I lived in Springfield, my veterinarian was the Banfield Hospital at our local Petsmart. The office is pretty great when it comes to keeping records and will easily put a copy in your hands once you show proof of ownership.

My problem is that I have had to settle for a few different vets that were accessible to me after I left that area. I know that I kept up on my shots, but I don't have the proper documentation. Also, my Banfield records didn't have an indication on the reproductive status of my dog.

So, if you were expecting a dog park review here, this isn't it. I held off on even attempting to register Cami until my ducks are in a row. Instead, I did a bit of research on what vaccines I might be able to repeat without posing a danger to my dog.

If you are in my situation and are unsure of where your pets stand on their vaccines, call a vet and set up an appointment to get this settled. Besides the obvious danger to your pet, you are missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the new dog park.

Many of the vets that I spoke to are aware of the guidelines for the new dog park and will work with you to make sure your pet is up to date. If you are in a situation like I am, let them know that you are unsure of your pet's history, and they will research your dog's size and probable history. Then go from there.

Once I get this settled, I promise you that I will have a review of the park, which will include a discussion of the rules that the city has set.

Until then, if you have already made it there, let me know how it is. I always love hearing from readers on new experiences, and I'm sure this park will inspiration for lots of stories.

Contact Ryan Richardson about this column or other topic suggestions at rrichardson@joplinglobe.com or 417-627-7363.

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