By: Future User, Bo Bear Lehman & Linda Calabro

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Bo Bear Lehman, a 60 lb., 11-year-old Chocolate Lab. Along with my family, Gary and Manua Lehman, I’ve lived in AP for three years. I’ve accompanied Gary to the site of our two future dog parks (I assume it’s for me and other dogs who live in Albemarle Plantation) where a dedicated group of volunteers are helping to construct the parks. I’d like to share some of my observations.

Since early April, I’ve seen how carefully the volunteers practiced what I heard them call “social distancing.” In addition, many wore masks and gloves as they worked. Bob Escheman has been thoughtfully monitoring the weather reports and managed to select great sunny
days for the volunteers to come out to construct and paint fences. The talented human carpenters and painters made a lot of progress in a short period of time. Both dog parks had drainage issues. To us dogs, those are fun opportunities to slosh through the water, but the
planners had even better ideas for our recreation. So, I defer. Sheila and Mike McGauvran devised a plan to solve standing water, and Don Oliverio and his crew implemented it by manually digging long ditches leading to the retention pond, installing pipes, and filling in
the ditches with good draining sand.

Then the construction took off! A pack of ten humans created a beautiful fence like the one already surrounding the area. Bob Peterson was the driving force behind the fence construction, and Joe Minoski designed and created a jig to do the spacing of the vertical and horizontal rails. Faster than a pack of hungry dogs about to devour a large, thick rib-eye steak, this human pack created an assembly line.

First, they measured the distance between each of the posts, cut the various rails and diagonals, and installedthem. Like any good, safe place, Joe Minoski secured our dog parks by installing latches on the new gates that he and Mike McGauvran built. They became my daily
active entertainment as I laid comfortably on the cool grass, gazing at them in awe, and wondering what were they doing?

As they were preparing for the painting, a rotted post in the existing exterior fencing needed replacing. Bob Petersen and Nick Calabro teamed up to handle the job. Alpha human Bob attached a chain to the hitch of his pick-up truck and in one swoop, yanked the post and its cement base out of the ground! My hero! The paints, supplies,and volunteers were coordinated by Bob Escheman, and it took a little over three weeks to complete. Did you know that dogs and active lifestyles go together? I have heard about a magazine article that says “taking care of a dog prompts people to stay active and live a healthier lifestyle.” It must be true: I noticed everyone around me
was always happy, smiling, and working hard. You know what else I think makes humans happy? Volunteering.

The many days that I spent with the various groups of humans taught me that they all had different reasons for wanting to help out. But all were very committed to getting the Dog Park project done. What a great job by all 29 volunteers. They all worked non-stop every day
they were present.

I spent a lot of time alone with Bob Escheman whilehe was scraping off old paint from some of the outside fences. That enabled him and me to bond as I kept him company. Now he sees me as the Dog Park’s mascot, and I’m okay with that label.

One day I brought my ball (well, to be truthful, Bob Escheman found a beautiful red ball to share with me). If dogs want to get attention, they first do an unacceptable action. So, I kept insisting to my Gary to play ball with me and I barked and whined to get everyone’s
attention. The end result? Several painters took turns throwing the ball, and I fetched it every time. We had fun! Gee, I can’t wait till this dog park is done. But before Bo Bear can come back and play with other dogs, there are some details that need finishing.

I understand that a lot of AP residents came together as a community in providing the funding that made it possible to develop the dog park. Without their generous contributions there would be no fence and no dog parks.

So, on behalf of myself and the other dogs, thank you!