This week – HOUSEKEEPING before fun stuff – but we hope you will read the event updates towards the end of this communiqué, too.

Giardia Alert

We have a report that one of our 4-Legged members is being treated for Giardia. Being responsible members, the humans will keep the dog away from the dog park while under treatment and until recovery. If you suspect your dog has Giardia – please go to the Vet and refrain from coming to the dog park until cleared by your Vet.

NOTE: We recommend that current balls & ropes at dog park be thrown away – and – for additional caution, perhaps, scrub the current white drink buckets (brushes, rags, detergent in vertical storage unit to left of Water Station 1 & 2). Hoping a few of our members will take the initiative to get this done.

The pools are already put away for the year. White drink buckets will be changed this coming weekend; black buckets will be ready for winter use by Sunday. Members may bring new balls or tug ropes, as needed.

No need to panic or change your plans for visiting the dog park or attending our annual event on November 2. This alert is just for informational purposes. SWCDP had a report of Giardia last Fall as well – so we thought it timely to review again.

Understanding Giardia:
Giardia is a parasite that infects the intestinal tract. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and lethargy and usually occur within 4-10 days after being infected – although many of those infected show no signs at all. It is easily diagnosed with a fecal sample and quickly cleared up with antibiotics. If left untreated, symptoms usually clear up in a couple of months but we can’t stress enough the importance of taking your pup to the Vet. By leaving this parasite untreated – you run the risk of infecting other SWCDP members. And yes, it can be passed to humans. If your pup is infected, make sure you are very careful to wash your hands after handling your dog or dog supplies. It’s even a good idea to give your dog a bath after they have finished their antibiotic treatment in case some parasites have hung onto their hair.

Since our pups put everything in their mouths, please know that Giardia can be spread by eating grass, eating dirt, picking up a ball, licking their paws, or licking themselves after they have rolled in the grass. Giardia can also be spread by drinking contaminated water. Many of our pups have jumped in the pools after running around the park – and then drink the water.

Our members do a decent job with picking up the poop but we are definitely not at 100%. And, even if we were, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, etc., drop feces as they move around in the park – and any of them can also spread Giardia. Since the contaminated feces is the source of the parasite – if you are hanging around any park – there is really no way to completely get away from it. We can, however, do a better job of picking up the poop we do see.

Good news. Freezing weather will kill the parasites in the ground. Bad news. New parasites can be deposited by ongoing wildlife visitors. The possibility of Giardia being with us is always there.

Foster Dogs

We have had a couple recent situations that suggest we should review the adding a dog process, and in particular, including a foster dog.

Adding a foster dog to your existing SWCDP Membership is easy. The process is basically the same as if you were adding a new 4-Legged member to your household. You must present current vaccination records and photo of the dog – but because it is a “foster” dog, you should contact Joan directly to let her know the “foster” status. Since you have already paid the base fee for your season membership, you will pay $10 for the additional dog fee. Although a foster parent does not technically own the foster dog – as it relates to using SWCDP facilities – such foster parent will be considered the “owner” as it relates to responsibility of the foster dog while on the dog park grounds.

When the foster dog leaves your care, you may coordinate with SWCDP to apply the “foster tag” to your next foster dog, if there is one; just repeat the process. There are no refunds for the foster dog – and the tag may not be transferred to another household. It is understood that the $10 “foster dog” fee is for an uncertain time period within the SWCDP season. Consider it a placeholder, if you will…so that those who choose to be an ongoing foster home may use the foster dog tag when a new foster dog temporarily moves into the household.

ALL dogs visiting the dog park must have registered properly and wear the SWCDP dog tag on their collar. There is an honor system in place and we trust our members to do the right thing.

NEVER bring a dog into the dog park that has not been approved through the SWCDP registration process. This applies to adding a new member to your family or serving as a foster home. No dog – regardless of origin or ownership – may be on the SWCDP grounds without proper SWCDP vetting and membership approval.

Qualifying Statement
If a new member joins the dog park specifically to exercise and socialize their foster dog – the base fee will be required. There is ALWAYS a base fee for the first dog, whether it is the members own dog or foster dog. Then we offer the household the courtesy of $10 for additional dog (s); with limits.

Safety & Security Review

SWCDP’s membership management and security features include a two-part check list. Members must understand the importance of the two-level security – and we need everyone to help us monitor the dog park for breach of process on a daily basis in order for this to work to the fullest extent.

First, each dog must wear a current season SWCDP tag on the dog’s collar. The DOG TAG signifies that the vaccine records are current and have been verified and we have a photo of the dog on file.

Second, the primary human bringing the dog into the dog park must have a FOB for entry. The FOB signifies that the adult bringing the dog into the dog park has read and agreed with all SWCDP rules and has signed the St Louis City required waiver. When the FOB is used, it is logged into our security system; the daily gate entry log shows who has accessed the dog park and time of entry.

Please take turns coming through the gate – one household at a time – and never allow anyone in using your FOB. Remember . . .

** No Tag, No Admittance, No Exception **

Qualifying Statement
As always, SWCDP is a “use at your own risk” entity. Everything described above regarding membership processing, security, etc., is the outline for our management principals. However – it must be recognized at all times that Southwest City Dog Park is managed by its members – ALL volunteers – and we have no management on site on a daily basis. This means YOU, the members, must assist, as best you can in helping us ensure that the rules are followed and process respected. We cannot fully guarantee that trespassers and non-member dogs will not from time to time be on the SWCDP grounds. It is up to all of us to monitor this.

Poop Bags Needed

Our bag bin in entry area is almost empty – we need more used grocery bags to be used for poop pick up. Please do not bring oversized or tiny bags – they do not work for our system. We want the typical grocery store size plastic bag.

Also – we noticed the bag holders are getting emptied and not always refilled. While you are standing around watching your dog play – it’s a great time to be stuffing some of the bag holders. Simply pick up a supply from the bag bin when you enter the dog park and disperse where needed. All bag holders have been upgraded – and we have an abundance of holders to make it easy for our members to quickly grab a bag when their dog poops. But, if holders are empty – it defeats the point of having them strategically placed.

Amenity Update

Does anyone know of a vendor where we can a decent discount on straw bales – since we order a large volume of straw and pay for delivery as well – we really need to find a better source. ???

We added larger flagstone at Water Station 1 to the existing stones which were donated by Sara & Adam (Koda) at the beginning of the season – thanks all. The flagstones will prep the area for water bucket filling during the cold weather – giving the dogs and humans flat areas to stand on as opposed to direct gravel.

Delivery for new table for Alternate Dog Park was refused last week – they sent us an ugly purple table in error. So, now, after shopping for two years and waiting over 3 months for production/delivery – we have to wait again for the manufacturer to process the correct order. Hoping we have it before end of season but doubt before year end.

We plan to store the donated table umbrellas for the winter as we wait for the table. Thanks, Deb L (Sunny) and Kay J (Gus, Cinnamon) and the other unidentified member who all donated crank-style umbrellas. Eager to enjoy them!

Fall Celebration and Halloween Contest

Watch for upcoming event flyers – mark your calendars for Nov 2 now!

VOLUNTEERS Needed for Halloween Event

The Halloween event is multi-faceted and has so much activity packed into five hours – that it is our greatest volunteer need of the year. We simply cannot produce this event without a solid volunteer base.

Please volunteer for a two hour volunteer slot. There will still be plenty of time to enjoy the party with your family and 2-Leggeds either before or after your work session. Or, bring an adult with you to watch your pooch while you volunteer. Check out the volunteer link to review the types of tasks and give us as many time slots as you are available – and you will be assigned your 2 hour slot when we create the Master Volunteer Schedule.

Volunteer Sign Up – now open
We only have 3 people signed up – come on folks, help us out.  Click Here to Sign Up

DONATIONS Needed for Halloween Event

We had a great response last week – thanks to those who have offered a variety of donations – we are firming up details on several donations now – more details forthcoming.

We still need a few gifts, especially a sponsor for our Cupcake Contest, as well as general prizes. Please contact us right away if you or anyone you know might be in a position to either sponsor one of the contests or provide general prizes.

Attendance Prize (s) 
    • First Place (Retail Value: $50-100)
    • All other drawings may be within a wide retail value range ($10-50)
*Dog Costume Contest (Range: $85-175) 
    • First Place (Retail Value: $50-100)
    • Second Place (Retail Value: $25-50)
    • Third Place (Retail Value: $10-25)

*Biggies will sponsor the costume contest again this year

*Human Cupcake Contest (Range: $85-175)
    • First Place (Retail Value: $50-100)
    • Second Place (Retail Value: $25-50)
    • Third Place (Retail Value: $10-25)

*If possible, we prefer one entity to supply all three gifts for Costume contest winners and one entity to supply all three gifts for Cupcake contest winners – so they will be the “sponsor” for those contests.

Suggested Gifts: specific items or gift certificates for goods and services – appeal to the broadest membership, such as dog supplies and services, gas cards, restaurants, wine or specialty shops, home improvement stores, sports or other entertainment events, etc – or even a SWCDP membership for next year.

And, variety of small giveaways ($1-25)…sometimes we use a bunch of small items for a Swag Bag to give as thanks to key volunteers or to add to our Prize Box for the Peanut Butter Licking Contest winners (ongoing)

Stay tuned, lots going on . . .

Arf, Arf