For years the Boston Common Frog Pond has been the place for ice skaters twirling, toddlers splashing, parents picnicking, yogis posing and families watching movies.
And next week, for the first time, the Frog Pond has set aside a special time for another growing group of park users: dogs playing.
This Saturday, June 6, from 8:00 to 10:30 am, the Boston Common Frog Pond will sponsor the first annual Barks & Bagels, a special event for dog owners and their furry friends at the Frog Pond. There will be treats for the four-legged guests, coffee and bagels for the rest, training and educational programs, dog licensing, microchip service, giveaways and a lot more.
But why dogs at – not in – the Frog Pond?
“Our mission extends beyond the Pond itself,” said Doug Zeghibe, executive director of The Skating Club of Boston that manages the Frog Pond. “We offer free programming for citizens and tourists. We are dog lovers ourselves and want to be a good community neighbor by introducing the Frog Pond to the Common Canine, the beneficiary of the event.”
The Common Canine, a subcommittee of the Friends of the Public Garden (FOPG), raises funds for the maintenance and restoration of the parcels of land in the Common now used for the rotating off-leash dog areas. An estimated $10,000 is needed to restore each parcel, and the 2015 budget has been set at $25,000, according to the FOPG.
“Dogs do wear out the turf and we want to keep it green and available for their use. It’s a community effort that enhances the area and provides a better environment for our dogs,” said Susana Lopez, a Common Canine member who with another dog owner, Katherine O’Keeffe, raises funds for the restorations. “Barks & Bagels is a wonderful opportunity for the Frog Pond and other partners to come together to support our program.”
And there are plenty more partners, including the Boston Parks & Recreation, Boston’s City Hall To Go, Animal Rescue League of Boston MSPCA-Angell, Kurgo and Fishbone. MSPCA-Angell representatives, for example, will be available to insert microchips in the pet dogs.
“Microchips are truly the best way to reunite lost pets with their owners quickly,” said Lauren Grilli Glidden of the medical center. The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the skin in the area between the shoulder blades. When scanned, it shows up as a series of numbers that tells the shelter, animal control office or vet office who to call to get the owner contact information.
Those who have their pets micro chipped at the event will be responsible for filling out the paperwork and registering them with the database, added Glidden. Half of the $10 charge for the service will go directly to the FOPG.
Boston’s City Hall To Go truck, which visits Boston’s neighborhoods throughout the year and offers a select menu of city services, will be on hand to accept applications for dog licenses, required annually by the city. Interested dog owners are asked to bring a copy of their pets’ rabies information with them.
Trainers from Zen Dog Training of Boston will offer training tips and demonstrations using time-tested methods approved by veterinarians and animal trainers. They’ll be glad to answer questions, too.
There will be lots of giveaways from Fish & Bone of Newbury Street and others. Dog owners can enter to win travel products offered by Kurgo, gift certificates for dog accessories and dog walking…perhaps even an overnight stay.
As for the Skating Club of Boston, Zeghibe encourages dog owners not only to help keep the park clean by using the poop bags his organization provides in holders around the Common, but also to come back often to the pavilion for a cup of coffee and a chat with friends. “The Frog Pond Café is a good place to meet others with dogs,” he said. “All we ask is that owners keep their dogs out of the water.”