2016 is a banner year for small dogs and their owners lucky enough to visit the Dogwood Acres Small Dog Park. What’s better than seeing your dog playing happily, chasing balls and enjoying a new, spacious covered shelter with comfortable benches?
There would be no shelter at all if it weren’t for the persistent efforts of Carol Becklund, unofficial doyenne of the small dog park. Since 2011, when Carol moved to North Carolina from Florida, she has spearheaded efforts to make a visit to the Dogwood Acres Park happy and safe for both owners and their pups.
Although she is not the founder of the Small Dog Meetup Group, for the past four years Carol has headed an online message board to keep owners up-to-date on special events and biweekly dog “play dates” which meet year-round on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Response has been tremendous. If you are looking for a place for your small pup to run and dog wrestle, come see for yourself!
Carol also takes photos of dogs, edits and prints them at home, and kindly gifts them to the owners. So many owners have brought dogs that two years ago she decided to create a large composite photo of all of them. The first collection featured 50 dogs. The latest version is a gallery of more than 150 small dogs!
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Arguably her greatest task, the construction of a dog park pavilion, has left no doubt that Carol gets things done. The idea of a dog park shelter began over three years ago when small dog owners noticed the pavilion in the adjacent Big Dog Park. They talked about the need for a similar shelter for very hot or rainy days. Carol listened, and then she planned …
Then last summer she called Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation and began an informal partnership with Bill Webster, planning and development manager. Together they looked for plans for a suitable, affordable structure. After waiting weeks for an answer, Carol learned the estimated cost would be thousands of dollars. She initiated a campaign to solicit funds from small dog patrons for the new shelter. Her call to donate raised over $3,000. The town, impressed by the generous response, funded the rest of the money and broke ground on the project that fall.
On March 9, 2016, Carol invited Mr. Webster to the park during one of the Wednesday meet-ups. She surprised him with a small ceremony in the new shelter, and with several owners in attendance, presented him a giant thank-you card: a giant composite of more than 100 dogs.
We small dog owners feel fortunate to have a leader like Carol Becklund, a great dog advocate and outstanding Chapel Hill citizen.