The longer the COVID-19 quarantine drags on for, the crazier families feel. Being cooped up inside every day is enough to make anyone lose their mind. With parks closed to the public, there aren’t very many places for families to visit, especially with dogs. For dog parents that don’t have their own yard, giving their dog quality exercise is even more difficult.
Diane Neffendorf from Oregon recognized this problem almost instantly. She noticed that many of her neighbors didn’t have a big yard for their dogs to play in, so she came up with a solution.
The Social-Distancing Dog Park
Neffendorf decided to use some of the space at her farm to create a social-distancing dog park for the people and dogs who need it most. She fenced off a 1/2 acre space for dogs to run around in.
First, she invited her neighbor Robin Brown over to try out the park. Brown, her three sons, and their dog named Gunnison were sick of staying inside all day. They didn’t have space at their own home to run around and they were getting sick of just walking in the neighborhood over and over again. So, they came to Neffendorf’s social-distancing dog park to get some well-deserved playtime.
After seeing how much fun Brown’s family had and how excited Gunnison was to run around, Neffendorf knew she had to open the park for more people. She knew there had to be other families out there that needed this too. So, she posted in a community Facebook page to reach out to others in her area.
For $15 per family, and an addition $5 per extra dog, families can rent out this dog park space for an hour. They can text or call Neffendorf to reserve a time, and then pay her through PayPal or Venmo. Then, she sends them her address and they get to spend some quality time at the special dog park.
A Safe Space for Dogs
Neffendorf takes extra precautions to make sure her dog park is safe for both humans and dogs. Only one family visits at a time so they can continue to practice social distancing as they play. Neffendorf also opens the gate for them and sanitizes all the tables and chairs before each visit. That way, they don’t even have to touch anything. Guests should also bring their own toys too.
In only two weeks, Neffendorf had 32 reservations! Everyone loved the idea of getting their dogs and children out of the house. It was the perfect getaway time during this pandemic.
“There are only so many times you can walk the neighborhood. With parks and dog runs closed, this was perfect to spend time in the open,” said visitor Marissa Voskuil.
Neffendorf and her husband have lived on the farm for about 22 years now. So, they’ve had plenty of time to work on it and keep it in good shape. The dog park isn’t the only part that families can enjoy. There are also beautiful murals throughout the farm, and families can feed the cows as well.
Even with the quarantine in place, dogs still need to play and exercise just like usual. Neffendorf’s special dog park is the perfect way to social distance while still having fun. Sometimes being creative is the best way to stay entertained during this difficult time.