Category Archives: volunteering

Great Night Out

National Night Out and Reducing Neighborhood Crime

Not to toot our own horn, but our National Night Out party was awesome! Big thanks to all of our neighbors (and new friends!) who came out and participated. In case you missed it, we were on the parking lot side of the Lakeview Library. We would have had it in the park, but we wanted it to be family- and dog-friendly. Dogs at this little, empty lawn are canis non grata; it’s completely off-limits to dogs and their humans, just like every other park near here. Over at the spot we would have liked to have been, it was empty for most of the night.

But, we had a great time regardless. What could be more fun than hearing the laughter and joy of kids and dogs together? While we were setting up we were mobbed by kids from “Astro Park” (the tot lot), who were anxious to pet our dogs and get some swag. A very nice officer from Oakland Police stopped by to thank us for participating and offer us encouragement. Almost everyone who dropped by walked over from Cleveland Heights and Grand Lake.

For those who haven’t participated before, National Night Out started in 1984 as a way to increase community awareness of police and neighborhood crime prevention programs. The underlying thought is that if you get people out of their houses, and get neighbors to actually know one another you can prevent crime. Our volunteer team couldn’t agree more! Communities across the nation (and world) are recognizing the fact that taking a mostly unused plot of land and allowing dog owners to socialize there will reduce crime.

Boston Police agree: “It’s an effective tool,’’ said Boston Police Superintendent William B. Evans. “People with dogs who are out in the neighborhood – that’s more eyes and ears for us.’’

“This is considered a crime hot spot …’’ said Paige Davis, who lives near Boston’s Ronan Park where a new dog park is being proposed. “People who are out walking their dogs are going to meet everyone using the park. If you want to know what’s going on in the neighborhood, it’s the dog owners who know everything.’’

At this little spot in Oakland in the past two weeks, there have been three serious aggravated assaults, several car break-ins, and two robberies. Throughout the year, there’s dozens of cars stolen on the streets bordering this park. The “Save Astro Park” folks claim that building a dog park would aggravate the neighborhood parking situation and put local stores and restaurants out of business. Won’t cars being stolen and people getting beaten and robbed deter more people from dining here than the possibility of it taking five extra minutes to park? Most customers would feel safer after eating at Sidebar or Cana walking past a lively park filled with neighbors and their dogs, than a deserted lawn. It would be nice if we were able to facilitate a “night out” every night. With upwards of 40% of households in Oakland having dogs, that’s exactly what will happen once this dog park is built.

> Find us at the ODOG fundraiser, August 13 and 14.

> Look for our future events, coming soon!

> Join us on Facebook.

PFX Fundraiser 8/13 & 8/14, Natl Nite Out 8/2

Pet Food Express has generously allowed ODOG to fundraise at five of their East Bay locations! There will be a bake sale, and all proceeds from sales of dog wash tokens will benefit dogs and parks in Oakland! You can also donate whatever amount you like directly at the register. Come on down! For more details, click here.

Also, we hope to see you for our National Night Out party on Tuesday, August 2, 7-9 pm at Lakeview Park. There will be food, games, prizes, kids and dog safety information and more. Everyone is welcome! We’ll be by the library parking lot.

> Find us on Facebook!

Volunteering

It’s what we do!

Some have described our plan to have volunteers maintain this proposed dog park as being “not sustainable” and “dubious.” But, what they fail to mention is that currently all of the parklands around Lake Merritt are beautifully maintained by volunteers. We were out there on Earth Day, and we’ll be out there on July 30th, too. You see, we’re part of a project called “Paws to Prune.”

Volunteers also maintain the Morcom Rose Garden, have restored the Cleveland Cascades, and have a hand in maintaining most other Oakland parks, including the existing five dog parks. With the case of the dog parks at Joaquin Miller Park, we share the space with Woodminster Theater. Over several weekends during the summer and fall, the dog park reverts back into parking for Woodminster. Volunteers clean the park, make sure the surface is even, and take down the gates. Then, when it’s over, they put the gates back up. This has happened consistently for over five years now.

During planning, the people connected with Woodminster were concerned that a volunteer maintenance program would not be sustainable. But, earlier this year the president of the group putting on shows at Woodminster said in a letter, “the dog parks in Joaquin Miller Park have been kept clean and odorless by the users … the users have been responsible and cooperative people.”

But, will this transfer over to Lakeview? Well, an entire group of volunteers have spent literally thousands of hours designing this park, drafting proposals, going to meetings, and making the rounds at City Hall. And, since that small group of well-connected opponents surfaced 11 years into this process, a new group of volunteers has had to spend thousands more hours volunteering to hand out flyers, prepare reports, make speeches, build websites, write emails. Honestly, we’d all rather be doing voluntary gardening and cleaning than all this other stuff.

Our volunteers will be out in force on Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 at five Pet Food Express locations in the East Bay. We’re working on some very cool surprises at these locations, so please stay tuned.