Town facility a favorite place for canines and their humans
BY REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — The dog park in Niskayuna is as much a social center for people as it is for the dogs who chase each other around the enclosure like kindergartners at recess.
Ever since frequent visitors approached the town to ask for lights, a small shelter and waste cleanup equipment, the park has been a comfortable space for people to chat while their pups expend some energy.
“Everybody has the same interests, the well-being of your dog,” said Ernie Wein, a Niskayuna resident who brings his golden retrievers, trained therapy dogs Gracie and Meekah, to the park nearly every day when he’s not wintering farther south. Wein can describe the personality of just about any dog that saunters through the gate, and said he’s seen many human friendships forged in the fenced-in enclosure.
Even when they can’t stop by the park, human friends keep in touch via a Facebook group, where they plan social events like pizza parties and even group training sessions for their boisterous pets.
Newcomers to the park are welcome, and Wein emphasized that the atmosphere at the park is deliberately drama-free. If two dogs conflict, park etiquette states they can have 15 minutes to work it out themselves before the most recent arrival is asked to leave. But it usually doesn’t come to that.
“The dogs have a way of taking care of things themselves,” he said.
Permits for the Niskayuna dog park, situated in Blatnick park, can be purchased at the Town Clerk’s office. Licenses are $30 for one dog, plus $15 for each additional dog per family, and cover a year starting Aug. 1. Passes are half-price for dog owners 65 years old and over, and can be prorated to half price if purchased after March 1.