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…