Having spent nearly 20 years working in greyhound rescue, Port Washington business owner Ellen Paulus is ready for the opportunity to provide responsible yet fun exercise options for area dog owners.
"We have a lot of experience with handling large groups of dogs due to (our work in greyhound rescue)," she said. Ellen and her husband, Bob, of Paulus Printing, 1270 Mineral Springs Dr., have long offered what they called "playdates" for other greyhounds to run at their business — sometimes with 20 or 30 dogs. "The biggest thing for me is that I want to provide an area where dogs can exercise and run around, but in a safe environment."
Ellen and Bob will present their idea for a private dog park to the Port Washington Plan Commission at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. The commission will then make a recommendation to the Common Council, and that body will likely take up the issue in March.
"My hope is that it will be well received and that it will go to the council in march … if they approve us, then we would get going right away," Ellen said.
The space where they plan to launch the park is just over an acre in size; upon approval, they would add fencing around the yard. Dog owner's interested in coming with their pets would have to provide certain information to become a member, such as proof of vaccinations, as well as pay a fee.
Ellen said the fee structure isn't set in stone, but they are basing it on other area private parks; monthly, annual and daily passes will likely be options.
"I want to try to make there be opportunities for all dog owners and their families to come have fun in a safe place, and not have it that people are some place with their dogs, where their dog’s not appreciated or wanted," she said.
The park will be open from dawn to dusk, with either Bob or Ellen present during those hours to begin with. Ellen said they will guage the interest, and are debating adding an indoor park for winter exercise.
"Just like a horse arena basically, that would have probably a sand floor," for the dogs to run indoors, Ellen said. The couple is also interested in having themed events, such as "beagle day" or other breed specific play time, or family-oriented themes.
Though the space is smaller than the roughly 7-acres Ellen said she believes Muttland Meadows of Grafton is — the private park would offer different advantages, such as agility equipment and wading pools.
"It’ll be kind of like a doggie athletic club, basically," she said.
Though they are still in the process of getting formal approval for the park's name, they are thinking about calling it "Lucky Dog Park."