On a sunny night after work, you’ll find Westerville residents and visitors walking their dogs up the hill on Park Meadow Road to the Brooksedge Bark Park. Wagging tails and all, excitement emanates from the dogs as they approach the gate. And if you look closely, the dogs aren’t the only ones happy to be there; the owners themselves are cracking a smile too.
For 10 years, Brooksedge Bark Park has been home to countless games of fetch, tricks and treats. To many dog park patrons, the park has become much more than just a place for their canine companions to run off some extra energy.
“There is this natural community at the dog park. It is great to see familiar faces and dogs here everyday. It is not only the dogs developing friendships, we are to,” said Diedra Meysembourg.
Meysembourg moved to central Ohio a few months ago from Georgia with her Labrador puppy, Savannah. “Living in an apartment, I knew I needed to find a space for Savannah to exercise,” she said. “I found the Brooksedge Bark Park and never felt the need to go anywhere else.”
Savannah’s favorite playmate is two-year-old Charlie, a Great Pyrenees. Both Meysembourg and Alex Weinberg, Charlie’s owner, agree that this type of socialization is important for the dogs.
“A big part of having a dog is socialization; and the dog park gives them that opportunity. It teaches dogs how to be together and it helps them learn better behaviors. It also gives your pet the chance to feel comfortable around other people and even kids,” said Weinberg.
So while the dogs wrestle, Weinberg and Meysembourg get to share laughs, stories and training tips.
Weinberg says, “It is nice to have others like Diedra around who care about their dog and my dog. It really is a supportive environment. Just recently, I was able to find a place to board Charlie by talking with people here.”
Late this summer, Mosaic Artist Vicki Murphy experienced this welcoming community firsthand as well. She was commissioned by the Westerville Parks Foundation to design and install a mosaic near the entryway of the bark park.
“I received so many encouraging words and dog kisses throughout the creative process. Before starting my own mosaic business, I was a teacher for many years so I enjoyed being able to talk with everyone especially the kids about the project,” said Murphy. “I hope the new mosaic will stem continued conversations about the park, the people and art itself.”
During one trip to the dog park, the Iyer family learned about the inspiration for the mosaic design and first-grader Gaia even helped put a piece of stained glass on the rock.
“Gaia loves the dog park and now she has had her hand in making it more beautiful. It is another reason this park feels like part of our yard,” said Anusha Iyer, Gaia’s mother.
The family’s strong love of the bark park prompted Anusha’s husband, Santosh Iyer, to create an online social group for other dog parents to connect. Regulars at the dog park use the outlet to coordinate times to meet up, share photos and advice.
The Iyers, Meysembourg and Weinberg all hope to see more people explore the Bark Park and take part in this niche in the canine community.
“If you’ve thought about visiting the dog park, be confident and come check it. There is a very high chance you and your pup are going to have a lot of fun,” said Meysembourg.
As the sun sets and dog park patrons pack up and wave goodbye, there is no doubt this special part of the Parks and Recreation Department is place for both canines and people to enjoy.
To learn more about the Brooksedge Bark Park and its amenities, visit the City website here.