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Dog Owners Look Forward to Getting Dog Park

Meetings and doggie socials scheduled.

Grist Mill is going to the dogs, at least a portion of it is. As part of the Grist Mill Park Master Plan Revision, dog advocates are hoping that they will finally get an off-leash dog area in this part of the county.

Karl Moody, president of Mount Vernon Area Dog Opportunity Group (DOG), couldn't be happier. Moody presided over a meeting held at the South County Government Center recently.

Mimi Pollow, treasurer and webmaster, said that the group currently has 26 percent of the $15,000 it needs to raise to make the park a reality. Moody showed a video on dog parks that described in detail some of the things that have made them successful; one of those was close to home in Arlington.

Moody was part of the group that started an initiative to create a dog park at Muddy Hole Farm in another part of the county. The group shifted gears when it was told that the Muddy Hole Farm location would not work but that space for a dog park had been approved at Grist Mill Park.

Members of DOG were told by the Park Authority that if they raised $15,000, the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) would grant the matching funds. Since then, Moody and his group have been out trying to raise money and make people aware of this new venture. Pollow said, "We expect to raise the money by next summer and then work on the county to start building the OLDA [off-leash dog area] at that time)."

TO DATE, they've had one doggie social at Grist Mill Park and hope to have another one later this summer. The social was an opportunity to visit the site where the park will be located and meet with other dog owners. The owner of Petco came with free samples of dog food and other treats. One of the attendees won a certificate for a grooming session from Pretty Pets.

Janina Plinsky has been doing the marketing and publication for the group and said, "We really wanted to have a dog park in the south part of the county."

CURRENTLY, THERE are five off-leash dog areas in Fairfax County: Baron Cameron, Blake Lane, Chandon, Mason District and South Run. These dog parks are fenced areas designed to provide an area for unleashed dogs to have free play. They are all public/private partnerships and are developed in cooperation with sponsoring pet owners.

An off-leash dog area at Grist Mill Park would give Mount Vernon dog owners a closer place to take their dogs.

Plinsky said that they need seven sponsors, including a licensed veterinarian. Currently serving as sponsors are the officers of the Mount Vernon Area DOG: Karl Moody, Mimi Pollow, Janina Plinsky, Monique Plinsky, Renee Priore and Ann Stewart. Meredith Borakove, D.V.M., Hollin Hall Animal Hospital, is the sponsoring veterinarian.

For more information about Mount Vernon Area DOG, call 703-360-6305 or visit the Web site at www.pollow.com/dogpark.