By Conrad Dudderar
Oklahoma’s oldest dog park is bustling again in Yukon after a major renovation project.
Pets & People’s community dog park, 701 Inla #B, was established in 1999. The site is directly west of the City of Yukon’s Animal Control Facility.
Featuring a pond and separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, the 3.5-acre property has undergone an impressive transformation since last fall.
Volunteers spent months sprucing up the copious space, now open from dawn to dusk for public use.
“As with many non-profits, there’s never enough money to go around and there’s never enough help,” Pets & People board member Suzanne Cannon said. “Our volunteers are amazing, so we’ve done the best we could, as long as we could.”
Renovations included large debris and trash removal, fence painting and repairs, tree trimming, and drainage ditch clean-up.
The dog park now has portable benches, dog toys, a “poop” station, and water service; along with daily trash pick-up and clean-up, and regular mowing.
Large and small dogs are separated at the park for safety reasons.
“People with small dogs can come out here and feel confident that their babies will be OK,” Cannon noted.
As a non-profit organization, Pets & People Humane Society earned grants to help fund its dog park renovation project – from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, Gaylord Foundation and Raising Cane’s.
R&B Trees offered their equipment and services for tree trimming/chipping and J&R Trash provided trash/debris removal, both at significant discounts.
“Our community partnerships have been phenomenal,” Cannon added. “We have had more people who stepped up to help us.”
Some 22 volunteers came out – along with five trucks and three trailers – for a March 5th clean-up day.
In recent years, Pets & People has striven to become a better community partner. Having this dog park open daily to Yukon residents helps the humane society achieve that goal.
Dog owners from across the metro area are welcome to come, take off the leashes and let their pooches safely roam free and exercise in a secure environment.
“People get to interact with their dogs – and the owners get to interact with each other,” Pets & People board member Robin Knapp said.
The newly renovated dog park has repeat visitors, including one man who comes every day with his two Greyhounds. Friendships have developed among some of the regulars.
The Pets & People dog park promotes tourism for the City of Yukon.
“As a good community partner, we’ve been able to provide a place for people who are traveling through Oklahoma on Interstate 40 and Highway 66 to stop, rest and bring their dogs,” Cannon said.
After stopping at this dog park, out-of-town visitors will dine at Yukon restaurants and stay overnight at local hotels.
One couple driving along I-40 from California to Iowa recently stopped in Yukon late one afternoon – just because of the park.
“They came with their two dogs,” Cannon related. “They said, ‘This is the best dog park we’ve seen anywhere across the country’.
“They decided to spend the night in Yukon so their dogs could run in our dog park before they went to bed that night and after they got up the next morning – before embarking on another long day in the car.”
The spacious Pets & People dog park may be reserved for company events and birthday parties – for both dogs and humans.
The Yukon Corgi Club meets at the park monthly, with Corgi races staged in May. The venue hosts dog training classes and adoption events.
Besides providing a sense of community, the park has created a sense of equality.
“That’s because there are no social barriers out here,” Cannon explained.
Yukon’s community dog park also is home to birds, turtles, deer, and raccoons.
“We’re ‘pollinator-friendly’,” Knapp said. “We have Rudy the red-tail hawk who entertains us. So, we’re very conscious about our natural wildlife.”
FOLLOW THE RULES
There are a set of rules posted at the entrance that Pets & People dog park visitors must follow. For example:
- Dogs must have active flea/tick treatment and be current on vaccinations.
- Dogs over 6 months old must be sprayed or neutered.
- Owners are legally responsible for the behavior of their dogs and children.
- Dogs must be leashed while entering and exiting, and owners must stay in the park supervising their dogs with leash readily available.
- Dog handlers must be at least 16 years old.
- Dogs should be under voice control and aggressive dogs must be removed immediately.
- Human and dog food/treats and glass containers are prohibited.
- Only dogs are allowed in the pond, and there’s no fishing permitted.
The dog park is closed during severe weather or flooding.
Pets & People previously shared space with the Yukon animal shelter at 701 Inla for about 20 years before moving in spring 2021.
The Pets & People Adoption Center is at 9733 N.W. 4th – east of Morgan Road between N.W. 10th and Reno – in eastern Canadian County.
Even after the move, Pets & People still owns and operates the dog park property in Yukon.
“We’re working together with the City of Yukon and have a good relationship,” Cannon emphasized. “We are the community dog park.
“Even though our adoption center is on Morgan Road, we are very much a part of Yukon.”
Besides the dog park, Pets & People has a thrift store business inside Yukon city limits – at Old Mill Plaza near Third and Maple.
Anyone interested in reserving the dog park should call Pets & People at (405) 367-7156 or Cannon at (405) 635-4945.
For more information, visit www.petsandpeople.com