By Henrietta Wildsmith, Shreveport Times

It’s time for a birthday…or, at the very least, a festive party hat and a thank-you card. Dog lovers all around Shreveport and Bossier have been taking their furry friends to the Shreveport Dog Park at the Stoner Boat Launch for three years now. Dogs run, play, swim, park, tussle, get muddy, get stinky, get muddier, drink sketchy water and poop, and yes, a large time is had by all.

Cynthia Keith was one of the proponents of the park and is currently the Director of the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance, the group that works with the City of Shreveport (SPAR) to maintain the dog park. Here is what Cynthia had to say on the anniversary:

The Shreveport Dog Park Alliance and friends can’t believe it has been 3 years since our very popular dog park opened on the riverfront.  We wanted to reach out to say “Happy Birthday, Dog Park” and to thank the city and parish for sharing the same vision as the local and visiting animal friendly community to help make this park a reality.  It has truly put Shreveport/Caddo on the map. We have enjoyed our partnership with the city and appreciate your efforts to make this the best dog park in the area.  We take pride in our dog park!  As promised, it has helped make Shreveport a more progressive city and has enhanced the quality of life here.  We are a more attractive city to newcomers, businesses, and those passing through that make the stop with their dogs to visit and spend time in our city. Google takes them right to the dog park gates. Our locals love us too! If you spend any time in the dog park, or just stop by and watch the dogs run and play as the owners interact and make new friends, you realize what this amenity has to offer.  Mingling with the patrons you will notice many have moved to area and sought out this dog park to make new friends and feel at home.  Although you see many different ages come to the dog park at different times of the day, it really appeals to millennials and those the city looks to attract and stay here.  It’s a safe and unassuming kind of place where you can talk to a stranger and it’s ok.  It’s a place where, like the show Cheers boasted, “everyone knows your name”…well, at least your dog’s name.  It’s a place for those that don’t have dogs, but can come and watch.  I take my 90 year old mother there and we watch from the car, it’s really entertaining!
Many walk the quarter mile sidewalk inside the large side to get exercise with their dog, or sit at the picnic tables under the pavilion, but the most popular spot is by the watering hole…our beloved pond.  The benches around the pond are a gathering place to watch the dogs as they frolic and cool off in the pond…especially in the

Bella swimming at the dog park

extreme heat we’ve been having.  We are a bit concerned at the mention of filling in this pond and would like to discuss this in a community meeting with some of our dog parkers.  I’m sure the cost would be substantial.
Again, thank you for this beautiful park that enhances our active riverfront! We never realized this would be a flood prone area since before the park was built it hadn’t flooded for 70 years.  But, we are used to it and realize you can’t stop Mother Nature.  Maybe one day we will have more dog parks in our city and parish.”

The Dog Park is open from sunup until dark seven days a week.