Darrell Sparkes plays fetch with Bella, a year-old German short-haired pointer at the Corner Brook dog park. — Star photo by Cory Hurley
The sky darkened and the rain fell. Whimpers resonate from two Corner Brook houses. Paying closer attention to the sounds of disappointment from each home would isolate the cries of both human and canine.
Darrell Sparkes knows he has taken on a great responsibility. Mornings like Wednesday, with the weather undesirable, his responsibility magnifies. His five-month-old black Labrador retriever cocks his head in disgust as well.
Darren Hillier is sharing the disgust just a few streets away. The weather prohibits him from the opportunity to burn off some of the energy oozing from his year-old German short-haired pointer.
There’s a break in the cloud cover. The spirits of four lift with it. By the time they reach the new dog park in Corner Brook, the sun is shining brightly.
Doc and Bella meet. They chase each other. They play fetch, neither minding which of their owners throw the ball. The whimpers are forgotten memories.
Sparkes and Hillier are both feeling better about their day too. Relief may be the appropriate description. It’s not just the weather; having a place to bring their dogs is a weight lifted off.
“It was much needed,” Sparkes said of the park just recently opened on Wellington Street by the City of Corner Brook. “He has lots of energy, so the park is definitely going to help beat him out.”
Hiller feels the same. Before the dog park, he would take Bella for a walk along the pipeline from Three Mile Dam. It was desolate enough to allow her off her leash, but it came with concerns. The park is a much better option as there are no worries of her running away.
“With my dog especially, if she is on a leash she is not getting beat out.”
Both dog owners are grateful to have the park to utilize. Sparkes said it is a better option than a place like Margaret Bowater Park, where he would get complaints if Doc was off the leash or around people there.
The 100-by-100 foot park had a startup cost of about $20,000, and the Humber Rotary Club sponsored $5,000 toward the project. It is constructed on the site of the former B diamond of Fred Basha Memorial Field.
Both dog owners hope the park is widely utilized, proving its value to council in hopes it will exist long-term.
The owners had been to the park before, keeping company with dozens of dogs there on one occasion.
If there was one criticism, Hiller and Sparkes agreed the park is on the small side. They hope the pilot project leads to an expansion of the facility and the addition of a few amenities.
In short order, a couple pull up to the park in their vehicle, and enter with a boxer. The new dog joins in the fun.
More voices add to the conversation. A few minutes later, another boxer joins the party, and an additional perspective fuels the dialogue.
The dogs run and jump on each other, continue to play fetch. The action is fast and appears rough, but there is not one growl or bark exchanged.
The whimpers were long gone too.