Happy faces and wagging tails were in abundance as the gates to Wags-A-Hachie Dog Park officially opened Saturday morning.

Dogs and their owners came out to the park to not only exercise but create new friends as well.

“Today is our public grand opening of Wags-A-Hachie, which is Waxahachie’s first dog park. It was a communitywide supported project that we started back in March fundraising and developing the idea and design. Here we are a few months later opening up. I am really proud of it,” said Waxahachie Director of Parks and Recreation John Smith.

“A dog park is where a dog can run off leash. If you take your dogs up and down the hike and bike trail or inside Getzendaner Park they must stay leashed. Here they can go off leash so that is the big difference.”

Smith said the advantage of a dog park is that both the dog and their owners can get some exercise and also provides a place where people and dogs can socialize. The park is located off of Howard Road next to the rodeo grounds and is about an acre in size. It can also be accessed off of the hike and bike trail.

One side of the park is for large dogs and the other size is for small dogs. Before entering the park there is a warm up area. This area allows owners to safely unhook their animal before letting them into the park. The park features a water fountain with a hose bib where people can fill up water bowls. There are also several shaded structures that feature seating. Both sides of the park feature utility course equipment that was constructed out of PVC pipe by Girl Scouts Madison Costlow and Holly Ostendorf of Troop 879.   

Outside the park there is a community message board that was created by Boy Scout David Gordon of Troop 232 for his Eagle Scout project. This board allows people to post fliers for lost dogs and pet services. Other features of the park include a baggy depressor to collect pet waste and picnic tables.

“It is exciting to see so many people out here today enjoying the park with their dogs,” Dog Park Committee Chairman Julie Webb said. “The park has turned out great and it is much bigger than I expected.”

The creation of the park was an idea Webb brought to the city’s park board for consideration in March. After the board approved the project Webb and other volunteers led the efforts in raising the $20,000 needed to build the park. No tax dollars were used in its creation. The needed funds were raised from the public’s donations for eight-foot sections of the park’s fence, contributions from local businesses, donations as well as two fundraising events.

Park Board Chairperson Bonney Ramsey said this park is an incredible amenity for the city because there are so many dog lovers that live here. The park will not only be a place people can bring their animals to, but it will give people the chance to form new friendships with others from across the city, Ramsey said.

One of the many people enjoying the cool weather at the park on Saturday morning was Waxahachie resident Mark Harbec, who was there with both his Labrador mixes, Magnus and Trove. Before the creation of the dog park Harbec would take his dogs over to friends houses who have fenced yards or go up to dog parks in Dallas.

“We don’t have a fenced in back yard. So it is great to have a dog park where we can let our dogs off leash. It is great to have something nearby where we can do that with the dogs instead of packing all up into the car,” Harbec said. “ I think that park is great because it gets the community out with each and with their dogs so that you are not trapped behind your own walls and your own fence. It is more inclusive to the whole community at large.”

Fellow resident Catherine Featherston agreed with Harbec that the park provides a place to meet new people and provides a nice place for her dog to come out and play.

To celebrate the parks opening PetSmart was on hand giving away dog treats and toys to visitors attending the park opening. The city was also giving away bottled water and dog treats as well. Origami Owl custom jewelry was also on site showcasing some of its jewelry for people and dogs.

Smith said since the completion of the park a week ago he has received nothing but positive feed back from the public. The park is open from sunrise until 10 p.m. each day. People are advised to make sure their dog is in good health and vaccinated before coming out to the park.

Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.