Dog park opening goes swimmingly - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Dog park opening goes swimmingly

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Posted: Sunday, July 30, 2006 6:52 am | Updated: 4:35 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

To say Saturday’s grand opening of Cosmo Dog Park in Gilbert was a success seems pretty pointless. Let’s face it, unless you were a cat, you couldn’t help but be impressed with the park.

An hour before the official opening, there were already about 50 dogs romping happily through the plush park or splashing through the pond, which is the feature that makes Cosmo Park unique among dog parks in the Valley.

Town officials said they expected hundreds of dogs to turn out for Saturday’s event. I strongly suspect the turnout vastly exceeded expectations. It was impossible to count the canine population at its height. Suffice it to say that I haven’t seen that many dogs in one place since the Cardinals’ alumni picnic.

A conservative estimate would be about 1,000 dogs, and after spending 90 minutes there, I’m pretty sure I encountered every conceivable breed, including some I didn’t even know about.

In that latter category was Koko, a lanky 18-month-old who was the most enthusiastic of any of the dogs when it came to the park’s pond. “He’s a golden retriever-poodle breed,’’ said Koko’s owner, David Cook of Gilbert. “They call them Golden Doodles. The cross-breeding creates a dog that has a great temperament and high intelligence. The poodle is No. 2 in intelligence, and the golden retriever is No. 4 in intelligence.’’

Great, I thought, a dog that can help you with your taxes.

A little while later, I bumped into — literally — Tony Fox and his wife, Carolyn, and their two large dogs.

“What are they?” I asked.

Tony said they were Bernese mountain dogs, which I found particularly interesting. Before going to the park, I went online to a site where you can find out what breed of dog you would be, based on your answers to 19 questions. Well, wouldn’t you know it, my answers revealed that I would be a Bernese mountain dog.

So I asked Tony and Carolyn to tell me what I’m like.

“They are very amiable,’’ Tony said.

“They’re definitely not guard dogs,’’ Carolyn offered.

Tony figures that the dog would protect you, when it got right down to it, most likely after a very careful risk assessment. He also said they are lazy and like to eat.

I’m kinda sorry I ran into the Foxes, now that I think about it.

Aside from the mutual butt-sniffing, which reminded a little of the nightclub Axis/Radius on a Saturday night, the biggest diversion for the dogs was the pond, which really came about by accident. The pond was originally a water retention basin built for the freeway. When designers looked at the property, the idea of making it part of the dog park seemed like a no-brainer. They even built a little beach area, perhaps for sunbathing dogs.

I met dog owners from all over the East Valley. There was even a group of people from Gold Canyon who have organized to raise funds to build a park in their community.

The park, incidentally, was named in honor of Cosmo, Gilbert’s first police dog, who retired several years ago, probably to open a private security firm, I’m guessing.

Cosmo died in 2000, but I’m guessing he would have loved the park. I mean, who doesn’t love a good butt-sniffing, right?

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