Member Blog March 29, 2020

SAFETY and Covid-19
Error on the Side of Caution

Many area dog parks are closed. Some indefinitely, some until mid-late April, some open but requesting no more than 10 on site at a time with social distancing. SWCDP currently plans to re-open June 1 but we will make a final re-opening decision when we assess the conditions and recommendations at that time. Aside from the Covid-19 situation, SWCDP is also closed for our annual turf renovation.
If you want to stay current with how, if at all, Covid-19 impacts the canine-human relationship – check in with the updates from the American Veterinary Medical Association

What if an infected person pets my dog?

While we currently believe the primary transference of Covid-19 is via a person’s bodily secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze – secondary transmission has not been ruled out. Most highly suspect are smooth surfaces (countertops, door knobs) and less likely are more porous surfaces. Pet hair is considered both porous and fibrous – absorbing contaminants, trapping pathogen (virus), making it harder to contract through simple touch.

But still – Covid-19 is a relatively unknown and while new info comes forth daily – we recommend you error on the side of caution.

And speaking of touching stuff  

In case you have not yet seen this – great ways to prevent bringing Covid-19 into your home, via grocery items such as slick packaging, cardboard, etc. – Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen shares tips on how to use sterile techniques for daily home activities. We encourage you to share this video link within your circle of family and friends, too.

Sterile Techniques, Groceries, Take-Out

Going Bonkers Yet?

The upside of this tragic pandemic – more time to spend with your beloved 4-Legged (s). More snuggle time, more ball time….or take your pooch for a short ride in the car just to break the monotony. And, for sure, go for a walk. Your dog loves your attention – but also needs physical exercise and mental stimulation. Get outside, no matter how small your yard or personal space may be. Practice a few simple agility tasks – homemade things like jumping on a low bench or table and stay until called; jumping over a series of low obstacles on command. Or, practice some basic obedience commands – how about “Sit – Stay – Come”….all of which can be life saving commands when out in the world.

Hide and Seek

You can play this indoors or outdoors. Have your dog stay in one room/area, while you either hide yourself holding a treat – or simply hide the treat. Then call your dog. “Fido, come” and when he comes “Find the treat”. Not only is this fun for your dog – you are re-enforcing the “come” command and your dog is using his brain while strengthening your bond.

Get creative and find some new stuff to do together….we may be in this self-containment for awhile…make the best of it.

And, please take a few minutes to update yourself with regard to your dog park. We may be closed but there is a lot of operational and prep work being done at this time . . .

Turf Updates

March 22 – Hydro Dynamics turned on the underground irrigation system and 3 water stations. Some repair to various sprinkler heads and controls is required. Repairs will be done after the excavation and reseeding work, in April.

March 23 – Hilltop Landscape raked/blew straw into piles. Due to on and off rain – the grounds have been too wet – prohibiting entry of the required heavy equipment needed for excavation and re-seeding. The coming week looks good so we are hopeful the turf renovation work will be completed by the weekend.

A Word from St Louis City Parks

This is not our first recognition but it is the most recent – and we want to share with all of our members. In late February, we sent a thank you to the City Parks Department, recognizing the recent new monument sign at Willmore Park’s entrance, as well as many of the other upgrades to the park over the last few years. In response, as a thank you for the comments, Kim Haegele, Parks Commissioner and her boss, Greg Hayes, Director St Louis City Parks, Recreation & Forestry, sent kudos back to SWCDP.

A snippet of Greg’s SWCDP support:

“Please give yourself extensive credit for the great work you do at the dog park. That partnership commenced before I started in my position but I drive it often. I don’t want to hex us but I don’t recall ever receiving a single complaint about the dog park during my tenure! You do an outstanding job and the area is another park amenity enjoyed by all…”

While the email came to Judi, SWCDP President, the reference to “outstanding job” can only be appreciated if ALL of our volunteers are included. Thanks to all who have lent a hand.  We also thank ALL of our members who have followed the SWCDP rules to help us ensure we have a fantastic and thriving dog park community.

So, kudos to us – let’s have another great year, starting 2020 Summer (hopefully!)


Our annual We Luv Our Volunteers celebration, WLOV2020, was a huge success. More photos and details of the event posted on the SWCDP Blog. Click Here

We Have Lost Some SWCDP Friends

Casey Lange


Many of you know Casey, one of our SWCDP Senior canines – and one of Joan’s (SWCDP Secretary/Membership Manager) pack. At 15 years old, Casey passed to the Rainbow Bridge on March 27. Casey was one of SWCDP early members – joining SWCDP in 2006. She enjoyed our dog park to the fullest as a youngster and through her “golden years” as well – making many friends along the way. Oh, could Casey tell some dog park stories!  Over the next few weeks, Casey’s memorial article will be written and posted in our Rainbow Bridge section in our upcoming new website.

The Lehr’s

Bob Lehr

Carole Lehr’s husband, Bob, passed away on March 3. Bob and Carole were in the first wave of members in 2006, saw the vision of SWCDP founders, were Labrador Level donors to support the dog park start-up funds, and donated $1,500 to our fund raising efforts in 2012 to help us install our beloved Dog Wash area. Bob and Carole have enthusiastically supported our dog park; Carole often bringing Cynders, their current 4-Legged to our dog park. If you wish to send a note to Carole, send to and we will forward to Carole. Or, you can make a donation in Bob’s name to Lutheran Holy Cross Church Foundation, Bob was a Lay Minister at their church.

Dog Friendly Venues

Our new website will launch just prior to our new season opening – and we are doing some upgrading of info at this time. The “Resources” feature will list places in which our 4-Leggeds are welcome. If you are aware of any Dog Friendly Venues, such as restaurants, bars, etc, or cabins, hotels, or other venues – either locally or within a short drive from the Metro area – please send us the info (website, details as you know them). We will include on the Resource Page with appropriate links.
We fully support the safety precautions regarding Covid-19 – and realize no one is going to restaurants or social gatherings right now. We are simply getting our website updated – so it will be ready when life gets back to normal.

Volunteer Help / Special Projects

While we are quite away from putting many of our upgrades into action – we need to spend the next 6-12 months in planning mode. The best way to work on a design, plan a project, and above all – share the vision and tell the story – is via visuals. And, visuals will play an important role as we develop proposals to gain approval from the City of St Louis Parks Department or various grants or fund raising venues.

We seek a couple volunteers to take our notes & ideas and make a visual design. Folks with engineering, architectural, construction software, etc (or others with similar skills sets and software capabilities). First two projects: 1) build out 2-3 versions of a Climbing Maze design from our collected ideas 2) build out 2-3 versions of a master layout for the overall park (placement of amenities, fence tweaks, etc on our Wish List). Work closely with Judi to develop the visuals.

Hey Gardeners

The dog park has some extra steel wiring (on a roll) – and Bob (King) is making tomato cages for some of our members. They are very sturdy and do a great job supporting the weight of tomatoes or other hearty plants. Diameter is 24 inches and approximate height is 4 ½ feet. They stake into the ground for extra support.  First come, first serve. You will pay for materials; each cage will cost $8. Payment to be made to Southwest City Dog Park.

FOBs – You Know What To Do!

Whether you have decided to return for the 2020-2021 season or not – hold on to your FOB – until you are absolutely certain. A $25 fee will be charged for any replacement FOBs. The FOB assigned to your household last season is intended to be your FOB for ongoing seasons.
After you read all the coming changes (especially the new Turf Maintenance Plan) – will be your best time to decide about renewing membership. A maintenance and product/activity calendar will be published to members before we make the season registration available. If you decide not to re-join, we appreciate your returning your FOB – just contact Joan for instructions regarding return.

This email is the first in a series of emails forthcoming. Unless other issues take priority – the next email will outline the dog park improvements listed in our SWCDP Five Year Plan as well as the ideas generated by our volunteers during the WLOV2020 event. Following that email will be the new Turf Management Program and the associated calendar, closing time-lines, etc. And then, the registration details for the 2020-2021 Season – and more. Watch your inbox…

Member Blog – March 20, 2020

More Dog Park Updates and Reminders . . .

End of Season – Sunday

SWCDP 2019-2020 Season will end on March 22
Dog Park will close at 10:00pm on Sunday
Tentative SWCDP 2020-2021 Season Opening is June 1

Lost & Found

This is your last chance to retrieve personal items lost at the dog park. Look closely at the above photo – if you see one of your items – please pick it up before 10pm on Sunday. We do not hold items from season to season – so these things will be thrown away next week.

If you know of a member who mentioned losing something – please reach out to them – remind them to look at the photo and claim what is theirs. Eyeglasses, sunglasses, keys, dog tags, collars and more.

NOTE: One of our members lost a beloved earring a week or two ago — so as you hang out on the playground for these last few days — keep a look out. We realize with all the straw it will be hard to see it (if it is even at the dog park, we don’t know for sure). The earrings were purchased a while back while in Italy so they cannot be replaced. Thanks for looking!

Keep Your FOB

Reminding everyone – keep your FOB. Even if you are not yet certain if you will be returning – hang on to it until you make a final decision about renewal (you may want to read all the upcoming news over the next 2-3 months before deciding).

A replacement fee of $25 will be required for any returning members who have lost their FOB – so hold it close to your important things.

2019-2020 Season SWCDP Dog Tag

We do recycle old dog tags – so if you make one last trip to the dog park this weekend – feel free to drop the season dog tag in the black mail box in the entry area. We will collect them and add to our recycle process. If you are not around to do this – you can still hang on to the old season tag and drop it in the box when we re-open for the new season. Our tag recycling is an ongoing project.

Sunday Helpers

We need members to assist in moving dog park furniture on Sunday around 3:00pm We need to ready the grounds for the contractor’s work starting next week. Bob and Mike will also be taking down the winter shelter – and they likely could use one more helper.

If we use a truck on the grounds to assist in moving items – and your dog is on the Main at the time — we ask that you either leash your dog or better yet – go into Alternate while to truck is moving. We never want dogs running lose while a vehicle is moving on the grounds.

Dog Park News – Future Communications

We have a tremendous amount of activity in the works right now – and are preparing a series of emails to keep our members informed. News about next season membership registrations, turf program, General Membership (GMM) update, Five Year Plan (ideas galore!) and much, much more….in the works.

Please keep a close eye on your email inbox so you do not miss out on important news about your dog park.


We are closely watching all the developments, as is everyone. We will keep you posted, and make dog park decisions as conditions change, and hopefully, improve. At this point, we are moving forward with our planned 2020-2021 Season Opening on June 1. If for safety reasons we are required to make adjustments – we will do so as needed.

Everyone, please stay safe. Smart choices are required. Caution is the rule of the day!


Member Blog March 18, 2020

Please watch your email closely – you will be receiving one or two emails with lots of details about our new turf management program and other changes and facts that will impact the upcoming seasons.

Dog Park Closing

But for now, out of an abundance of caution, we are closing Southwest City Dog Park at 10:00pm on Sunday, March 22. We believe it is the right thing to do. With so many new Covid-19 guidelines appearing every day – and considering we were planning a season closing later next week anyway – we have decided to close on Sunday. In addition to safety factors, this will give us additional days to get our new turf going for next season – a very good thing!

We will also have to move the park furniture on Sunday afternoon – say around 3:00pm – so any of you who can drop by to help – much appreciated…we cannot do it alone.

Hydro Dynamics will turn on the irrigation system and flag the sprinkler heads on Monday and Hilltop Landscape crew will pick up and haul away all the straw. We do not need a volunteer crew for straw raking this year, again a cautionary move. Weather permitting, Hilltop should complete the excavation, seeding, etc before the end of next week and then Mother Nature will take over.

Again – keep an eye on your email — we a have a lot to share with you. Coming soon!


Member Blog March 10, 2020

Safety Alert


****** One of SWCDP 4-Legged members is currently under Vet care for dry cough and drippy eyes/nose. The member household will not return to the dog park until Vet says it ok to resume social activities; is currently taking antibiotics, no other symptoms have developed and full recovery expected.*******

We ask SWCDP members to keep a close watch on their dogs – and if you see similar signs – PLEASE refrain from coming to the dog park and take your pooch to the Vet for further evaluation. Also, send us an email with your findings so we can stay abreast of what is happening, if anything.

There is a variety of contagious diseases that pop up at dog-centric venues, such as dog parks, kennels, etc. Not something that should be self-diagnosed; treatable with antibiotics.

Keep those water buckets refilled with FRESH water and wash them out thoroughly in between. There are cleaning detergent, rags and sponges in the tall storage unit in the fenced area next to Water Stations 1 and 2 (River DesPeres side).

Season Wrap Up

2019-2020 Season will be winding down very soon – we will send another email with final dates for closing and for Clean Up Crew needs. Keep an eye on your email . . .

Watching long-term weather forecast, as Mother Nature dictates most decisions. Although we publish close date as March 31 and opening date as June 1 — we reserve the right for 5-10 day “wiggle room”. We are refining our 2020-2021 turf plan and more – will send specifics as they are available.


Remember – hang on to your FOB (s). The FOB you are currently using is YOUR FOB for the length of your membership. If you lose it, there is a $25 replacement fee. Either keep it on your key chain or put with your important papers.

2020-2021 Season Membership

Registration for renewal memberships will be available mid-late April and new membership registrations will be available first week in May. Directions for registration will be sent to you via email.

GMM – May 19

SWCDP General Membership Meeting – annual event held at Buder Elementary School Cafeteria. Details forthcoming closer to meeting but mark your calendars now.
Updates regarding dog park upgrades, projects, budget and funding needs, operational breakdown, and more…. You will be asked to pick up your dog tags for the new season on this date. Watch for details in an early May email.


Our WLOV event on March 3 was a huge success – fantastic turnout, great synergy. Thanks to all who have volunteered this year. We asked WLOV participants to brainstorm dog park improvement ideas by writing on a 4’x 8′ chalkboard.

We will be combining the new ideas (thanks, folks) with what we already have in our Five Year Plan — which is very much still under development.

SWCDP Five Year Plan

The brainstorming chalkboard will be available again on May 19 at GMM for all members to add their ideas. And once the new season begins – we may opt to conduct a final survey for ideas with membership at-large as well. Lots more on this to come.



Member Blog Feb 07, 2020

It’s time for SWCDP annual volunteer thank you event. WLOV2020.


We do not send individual invitations – you know who you are
Please respond to this general invite – an honor system reservation process

If you have volunteered on group projects or solo tasks or donated goods and services (large or small) – YOU are invited to SWCDP WLOV2020. This is a free event for you and a guest (optional) – courtesy of SWCDP. Event details still in the works, more forthcoming.

Space is limited – so – make your reservation now so you do not miss out on the fun evening we have planned for you.


Failoni’s Restaurant
6715 Manchester Avenue
St Louis, MO 63139
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
6:30pm to 9:00pm


 Cupcakes for Event Needed         

Volunteers, if you are coming and you also enjoy baking – would you be able to donate a dozen home-baked cupcakes to serve as dessert for our event? If so, please contact Judi directly to make arrangements. We will have our cupcake stand set up, so you can just bring them with you.

If you are coming –  Click here to make reservation

If you can donate cupcakes – contact Judi for arrangements


Every year members who for a variety of reasons were not able to volunteer have expressed interest in saying thank you to their dog park friends who did pitch in on SWCDP projects. Our WLOV2020 event is a wonderful way to say thank you.

If you want to do any of the following – please contact Judi directly ( ) to make arrangements for drop off of your donation. Our black mail box in the entry way is tamper proof and a great place to drop off donations that will fit in the box.

Swag Bag Inserts
Retail range anything under $5, or any fun free “give-aways”. Think stocking stuffers. Coupons with discount to area stores – or – small gift or trinkets that will fit inside our Swag Bags (bag size 5” wide x 3” deep x 8” high). We need 40-50 items to make sure we have enough for every bag (bag count to be determined by reservation total).

Prizes (random drawings)
We need 6-8 prizes for the drawing – each within the retail range of $10 to $50.
Gift certificates to area stores or restaurants, gas cards, or cash VISA card to be spent anywhere. Or, other items, dog related preferred – make arrangements to drop off items prior to the event.

If you are not a volunteer but would like to share the evening with the SWCDP volunteers so that you may thank them personally, contact Judi or Joan for special arrangements. There is a $25 fee per person, to be paid in advance. Special arrangements must be made no later than 2/21/20.

Looking forward to a wonderful evening and seeing our volunteer friends all together. And, a special thank you to members who donate goodies to support our WOLOV2020 event – much appreciated by all.

Member Blog Jan. 27, 2020

Upcoming Event

We Luv Our Volunteers (WLOV2020)

Thursday, February 20 – 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Watch for event details, coming soon – mark your calendars now!

SWCDP Volunteers – you know who you are

Anyone who has helped with dog park tasks – whether solo or on a work crew – helping out with any ongoing or one-time maintenance or repair, a dog park event or garden care, or special project or administrative function – YOU (and a guest) are invited. Dinner reservations will be required – watch for event details coming later this week.

2019-2020 SWCDP Season

Season Closing
Only 9 more weeks for our dog park season. Tentative closing date: 10:00pm Sunday, March 29. Watch for emails with more info regarding prep for closing and plans for next season.

Your SWCDP FOB — Keep your FOB
Your FOB is intended for use for the life of your membership – you will use your assigned FOB for next season as well as future seasons. This is YOUR FOB. Any returning members who require a new FOB (because they lost it or threw it away) will be charged a $25.00 replacement fee in addition to the regular season fee. At 10pm on the official season closing date, all FOBs will be de-activated. Those who register and pay for the 2020-2021 season, will have their FOB re-activated for the new season.
This is very important – please hang on to your FOB during our two month renovation period.

General Housekeeping

Yeah – you know what is coming…Pick up the poop, please!

We ask that you all – daytime and nighttime folks – make a greater effort to pick up after your canine. Let’s all pitch in…none of us want to drag feces into our cars and homes or have our dogs licking poop paws! Why not plan to pick up a couple piles each time you visit, whether it is your dog’s poop or someone else’s.

If you think you could have missed your dog’s poop – just pick up another pile of poop instead. The back part of the park is especially neglected. We realize there is an additional issue with visiting at night as it is more difficult to see your dog pooping or finding it afterwards when it is dark outside. And we have even longer dark periods during the winter months.

Straw and Mud
We are aware that the grounds are muddy after rainy periods and that our original straw supply has been exhausted in several areas.

Main Playground
A small supply of straw should arrive later this week or early next week. We ask members to help out by scattering it in the most muddy areas.

Alternate Playground
If straw is needed in the Alternate area – we are far enough into the season for us to start taking some of the bales from the climbing maze to scatter in Alternate.

Climbing Maze in Main Playground
Due to complications with large-scale straw purchase we did not put up our beloved climbing maze in the Main this year. Regarding this – winter 2020 was going to be our last year for the maze as we know it regardless of this news. We are looking into a permanent version so that our dogs may enjoy year round instead of only a few months per season. Watch for more info on this topic in future emails.

Member Blog Dec. 17, 2019

Housekeeping Info

Safety Alert
Last week one of our members had her car broken into and purse stolen. This was during the day, her car was parked close to our front gate. No one saw it happen even though several people were at the park. Police came for the report; no one was injured.

Please – do not leave anything visible in your car – ever. And be alert about your surroundings at all times. Generally speaking our park is safe but it is a public space – and in the history of our dog park (13 years) – we have had members experience car break-ins and theft and/or damage 3-4 times.

Dog Park Hours
The Tuesday morning closing has been lifted. Since we do not have weekly grounds maintenance during the cold months – we have lifted the 8am to Noon closing for Tuesdays. So, 7 days per week, our hours are 6:00am to 10:00pm. Special closing circumstances might be applied, as needed. Enjoy!

Halloween Winner Announcements

And the Winners Are
Thank you SWCDP members for helping us select this years costume winners. It took some time to create the ballet and collect the votes – but here we are. Please take a look and give them a congrats paw shake when you see them on the playground. And, kudos to all for participating – members say it was very difficult to cast the votes since we had so many wonderful participants, both the costume contest and the Just for Fun.  Click the link to see all the winners.

Wishing all of our members a safe and joyous Holiday Season.

Member Blog Dec 2, 2019

Let’s try this again, please . . .

After fixing a technical glitch and adding a missing dog – we have the revised ballot and the “fixed” link ready to go. Please take a moment to help us select the contest winners for favorite Halloween Costumes and Just for Fun Poses. We invite EVERYONE to cast a vote. Voting is restricted to SWCDP members – but – you do not have to be an event attendee to vote.

We want to hear from all of you. And, really, these photos are so darling – you owe it to yourself to take a quick break from your daily deadlines and stresses, relax, and enjoy. Treat yourself – you deserve it. You will also get the chance to see dogs you know or have seen on the playground and put a name and breed to the face. Check it out…

Go here to review the photos.

Go here to cast your votes.                             

SWCDP Members
If you have more than one person in your household – we recommend each of you view the photos and then decide within your household how to cast your ballot. Only one ballot per household, please.

A lid was left behind after the Halloween event – we expect it belongs to one of our cupcake contestants or someone who donated goodies to the Food Table… We will place this lid in the blue Lost and Found in dog park entry area – Please claim it.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Please place your household vote today so you will not forget!

Member Blog Nov 27, 2019

Drum Roll Please . . .

The ballot for voting for favorite Halloween Costumes and Just for Fun Poses is ready. We invite EVERYONE to cast a vote. Voting is restricted to SWCDP members – but – you do not have to be an event attendee to vote.

We want to hear from all of you. And, really, these photos are so darling – you owe it to yourself to take a quick break from your daily deadlines and stresses, relax, and enjoy. Treat yourself – you deserve it. You will also get the chance to see dogs you know or have seen on the playground and put a name and breed to the face. Check it out…


Go here to review the photos.


Go here to cast your votes.

SWCDP Members

If you have more than one person in your household – we recommend each of you view the photos and then decide within your household how to cast your ballot. Only one ballot per household, please.

Wishing all of you a very nice Thanksgiving.

Member Blog Nov 18, 2019

Click Below
Halloween Games and Winners


After event activities are a big deal, time consuming – and we think worth the effort. Here are the next phases of the event wrap up.

  • Costume Contest Ballot and Voting – November 26
  • Close of Voting – December 4
  • Announcement and Photos of Winners – December 12
  • Final Event Summary & Photo Gallery – December 12


We still do not have enough photos of the event. Will those of you who attended the party, please send us a few of your favorite shots for our Photo Gallery that will be on SWCDP website? We are looking for great solo and group shots as well as photos that show the various booths, decorations, etc.


More Kennel Cough

Another member reported their dog diagnosed with kennel cough (Bordetella) this week. He also shared that he overheard another member say his dog was coughing then got better…. We do not know the circumstances – but want to remind everyone that if you suspect your dog is infected – you owe it to the health and safety of your canine as well as your dog park friends – to seek Vet treatment and advice. Please do not self diagnose. We do not want an epidemic at Southwest City Dog Park.

(For more info on this topic, see SWCDP member email dated 11/04/19) or go to our Member Blog for 11/04/19 Member Blog

Community Message Board

SWCDP Community Board has been rebuilt and installed over the weekend. This is strictly for member usage. A place to post notes that are dog-centric, like lost dogs, needs for adoption, needs for pet sitters/walkers, etc. Also, posting of general things that might be of interest to our members, items sought or for sale, job leads, event notifications that are dog related, etc.  Please, absolutely, no political, religious, or potentially controversial postings. Postings may stay up for maximum 60 days.

Winter Shelter and Climbing Maze for Main

Coming this week. If you see volunteers working on either – ask if you can lend a hand.

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