At the end of a path and to the left of a pond in Horsham’s Kohler Park is where our story takes place. It was Oct. 25, 2008, and following the completion of several improvement projects there, all was set for the big day.
It was the much-anticipated opening of Horsham Dog Park, one of only a few such parks in the region. And this one was great. A 1.5- acre shaded spot in Kohler with running water and separate fenced areas for small and large dogs to run and play unleashed. For dog owners, too, it had a big plus: no membership or fees, and your hometown didn’t matter.
Over the next decade, the park flourished in popularity, had ample volunteer help to run it, and aptly called itself “the park your dog loves best.” All was terrific at Horsham Dog Park, its land owned by the township but run as a free dog park by volunteers. All was great, until …
“The park board president moved to Florida and two other important figures were sick and couldn’t do it anymore,” said Jennifer Cresina, a Southampton resident who frequently made the half-hour trip to Horsham with her dog “Barkley,” a Skorkie.
Horsham Dog Park, 1018 Horsham Rd., now was destabilized by the loss of the volunteers, and though it remained open, desperately was in need of help. Because she and Barkley often were at the park “and kind of taking care of things anyway,’ Cresina was asked to run the site.
Her first step was to post a help-wanted notice on the township’s website that declared, “Horsham Dog Park Looking for New Board Members!” She also planned a fundraiser.
“I was kind of stressed because it was only me,” she said of the vacant park board. “But the post went up and we had 10 people turn out at a meeting. It was great because usually no one came out. Now, at a March 11 meeting, I’ll name a vice president and secretary.”
Additional support came at a Feb. 13 fundraiser at MaGerks Pub & Grill in Horsham, where $217 was donated by patrons, and more aid is being sought at volunteer session 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. the third Saturday every month at the park.
“We’re always looking for help,” said the new board president. “We’ll clean up both sides of the park, pick up any old or broken toys, and if there’s a hole in the ground we can take a picture, send it to the township and they’ll fix it.”
Barkley and friends now will find a vigorous Horsham Dog Park.
“Things are much better now,” said Cresina. “There are more people involved, and a younger generation with dogs.”