Watch for it . . .

Recently, we had a photographer on our Main playground taking photos for an upcoming Show Me St Louis piece on the amenities at St Louis City Parks. Greg Hayes, Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, highly recommended they check out Southwest City Dog Park, saying it was one of the best dog parks in the area. Go SWCDP!

Agility – Free Demo – coming!

September agility in the works – hands on experience and great trainer tips. Watch for email with registration link – Sign ups will begin after Labor Day weekend, first come, first serve. Targeted Demo Dates: 9/21 and 9/22. 

Round Picnic Table with Chairs – coming!

You may have noticed this year – our patio table in Alternate Dog Park is missing. Well, not missing – it finally died after much use – it was donated, it was plastic. We have a new, round table with attached chairs (6) made of same materials as existing tables and benches. Should arrive in a few weeks.

Umbrella Donations Needed

We always ask members to donate their used umbrellas. We only want the crank-style so that it is easier for our shorter members to open and close without having to climb up on the table for pop up mechanism. If you have one that is still in good shape but that you no longer have a need (maybe you got a new one this season) – please let us know. Given that life is harder at the dog park than in our own backyards – we usually like to have a couple umbrellas on hand to get us through the year.

Front Gate Issues

We have a new Kant Slam closer for the front gate but we needed to figure out how to adapt it to the new gate. Top of To Do List – hope to have this resolved soon, certainly before the end of August.

In meantime – everyone, please – make sure the gate is closed as you go in and out. We have had way too many situations in which members have arrived only to find the gate open. This welcomes non-members to come in – or our member dogs to “escape” if it is open and departing members do not realize it until their dog has bolted out.

SWCDP Capacity

The question of capacity was brought up recently as well as general comments ranging from “it’s too crowded” to “nobody there”. Let’s clarify.

Capacity is defined as how many dogs are allowed inside the dog park at any given time. The official capacity count is 100. This was voted by members at a GMM (General Membership Meeting) several years ago. However, the real life count is much different. SWCDP self manages this. In other words, members tend to leave when dog count gets to 30-40 dogs, depending on energy level, play styles, etc. 

Membership Limitation has no ceiling currently. Because the dog park generally self-manages with regards to paws on the ground coupled with the fact that a lot of members come only sporadically – we feel it not necessary at this point to limit membership. Given we are experiencing a phenomenal growth spurt – we may consider a limit in future years.

Try different days and time slots – we have so many wonderful 2 and 4 Legged members – you will want to meet as many as possible while you seek out the best playmates for your dog. There is a constant ebb and flow, dynamics change every 20-30 minutes. Most robust, hardest play on the Main playground is during that after work session (4:00-7:00pm) – probably not the best time for the faint of heart.

Common Sense – Common Courtesy

Come on, people! It only takes one or two to ruin it for everyone else. Are you guilty?

Disregard for members – if your dog causes concern by a human member – you must oblige their request. Don’t blow it off or ignore. We have varying levels of experience, energy, patience, understanding. It is incumbent upon each member to find the right balance. And if your eyeballs are on your device – your eyeballs are not on your dog.

  • Kids at dog park – this is a problem, folks. Our dogs come first – it is their playground. Children 8 years and older are allowed – but this is a special privilege. It is required that children stay close to the adult supervisor, and not run, scream, flail arms and legs, climb on trees, equipment, furniture – or in any way tease or excite the dogs. Not all dog members are good with kids – it is not a membership requirement. It is also not fair to dump this burden on members who are trying to enjoy the dog park. Watch your children – or do not bring them!
  • Hostile exchanges, threats, curse words – really, is this necessary?

Because we have had reports lately of dogs being in the dog park without SWCDP tags, and concerned members express doubt about how to handle it….we are providing a recap to help our members do the right thing.
When possible, team up with one or two other members before approaching owners of dogs with no SWCDP tags. However, alone or with others – remain calm – YOU are in the right. Our experience shows most responses will be to plead ignorant of SWCDP rules and they will acquiesce to your request. If someone becomes hostile, advise them SWCDP protocol is to contact the police to report a trespasser – and then, walk away and call Rangers.

SWCDP Members should keep this number in their cell phone: Park Rangers/Police 314/289-5350

Before you approach them

Try to discreetly get a photo of the dog (s).  Then, casually, in a friendly way, chat with the owner – inquire about the dog’s name and a little about the dog. Only after you have gathered this important info, should you inquire about their SWCDP membership status. Do not start off with an inquisition – keep it casual until you glean some info. Then, only then, mention that you notice no SWCDP tag (s). Ask them point blank if they are a member. They must be able to show you their membership tag, if it is not on the dog. 

If you discover they are not members, explain membership requirements, per City Ordinance 66595 and SWCDP Membership Rules. Tell them how to apply, and escort them to the gate – as they cannot remain on the grounds without proper vetting. Give them a handout located in the clear plastic box hanging at the entrance, outside the gate. This provides all membership info and SWCDP rules. Conclude on a happy note – tell them you hope they will consider SWCDP membership.

Taking it a step further

In 2015, we made arrangements with St Louis Police, Station 2 (Sergeant John Vogt) for assistance, when needed. In most situations – this will not be necessary. But, if you can get the trespassers car license plate number, the police will send them a warning letter along with instructions on how to apply for SWCDP membership. And, then, if they come into the dog park illegally a second time, they will receive a summons.

If you suspect longer term trouble, as in someone coming in repeatedly or arguing that they should be able to come in free – then it would be great to write down their car license number. Only get a license plate number, if you can do this without causing a ruckus – always stay safe first. Perhaps, another member can go to the parking lot discreetly, and wait for the non-member to get into the car. Use your own judgment on this aspect.

Send all info (and photo, if you get one) to the SAIC – and we will handle it from that point forward.

Trespasser List

Dog Names and/or Dog Description will be posted on message board to assist members in identifying repeat offenders.

Turf Updates  — Coming soon!

No question, SWCDP 2019-2020 Season will be known as the season of large-scale upgrades. The introduction of our FOB entry system, our new front fence/gate and enlarged front garden, background updates for computer and administrative tasks – and still to come….a new front overhang and community message board – and – a comprehensive turf maintenance plan. 

No news does not mean the turf issue has been forgotten. We are working on it. After months of planning – and days from signing a maintenance contract – our original plans fell through. In the end – the owner of GreenEnvy decided taking on the responsibilities of a dog park presented too many risks and unknown factors. They pulled out.

We have recently had an onsite meeting with a turf management professional who has extensive athletic field and golf course experience. Yes – we know – this is a dog park not a golf course. But – our plan is to benefit from years experience with turf management for high traffic areas and customize treatment for the additional requirements unique to dog park issues. More details will be forthcoming as we are looking at options for a year-round maintenance action plan – and have many variables to address before a program is finalized.  

Thanks, Volunteers, For Garden Adoptions
Garden 1-A – Nena G (Rosie, Finn)
Garden 1-B – Annette C (Jake, Penny)
Garden 2 – Deb T (RomRom, Cici)
Garden 3 – Cait M (Punter)
Garden 4 – Elizabeth D (Sammy)
Garden 5 – Volunteer Needed
Garden 6 – Volunteer Needed


Thanks, Volunteers, For Agility Equipment Care
Monday Evening Crew (put away equipment)
Brittany and Paul P (Bella, Cooper)
Deb L (Sunny)
Alex M (Ellie)
Mary K (Mellie, Quincy)
Tuesday Afternoon/Evening Crew (set up equipment)
Elizabeth V (Marley)
Jane R (Remy, Bella)

We still need 3-4 helpers on Tuesday. An equipment layout will be provided, so you will not have to make any decisions – just place equipment where designated. 

**If you are not on this list but offered to help, please resend your email.