DERRY — Big dogs, little dogs, dogs with gray muzzles, puppies tripping over their paws. All dogs are welcome at the Derry Dog Park and many accpet the invitation.
It’s been almost 12 years since the Derry Dog Park opened and it continues to grow in popularity.
The park made the list of the “603 Reasons” readers believe New Hampshire is special.
The park was built on town property in front of the animal control office off Fordway. It was funded primarily through donations, with a crew of committed supporters and town crews pitching in to help.
A few years later, a team of volunteers formed the Friends of the Derry Dog Park. That group put in more work and held regular fundraising efforts place to make sure the space was kept clean and safe with little cost to the town.
Years later, donations and volunteers are the main source of maintenance work at the park, said Eric Bodenrader, Parks and Recreation director.
Many of the park’s visitors come every day, some even several times a day.
“We’re here twice a week,” said Kristie Sweeney of Manchester.
Her 5-year-old Australian shepherd mix Sasha is a regular.
Sweeney said she adopted Sasha and began bringing her to the park to help her socialize.
“She just loves people,” she said.
Sasha also loves the other dogs at the park.
Foxy, 12, is a Schipperke who also loves coming to the park. His owner, Yan Kuligowksi, sat quietly on a bench while Foxy and his other dog, Gus, played and ran.
“They just love it,” he said.
Bigger dogs play and chase each other in the park’s main space. There’s a separate space just for smaller dogs.
Lily, a cocker spaniel, was alone in the small dog space one recent afternoon, but appeared content to watch the bigger dogs run past. She used to run with the big boys.