More than dogs

The Heart of Texas Dog Park is a hidden gem of Waco. When I think of this park, it fills me with joyful memories of dogs splashing in a small pond, dogs racing to greet one another at the gate, dog owners talking to their children as if they’re human. This park is not for dogs. It’s where people come together to share a part of themselves with others. That said, this park does not need to be neglected or abandoned. As Waco continues to grow, we must grow along with it. We can do so by creating more places for people to gather.

I moved here about five years ago to take on a teaching position at Crestview Elementary School. It was clear that I was missing a friend. I went to Fuzzy Friends to adopt Maxwell, a schnauzer and terrier mix. I remember people at the clinic explaining to me that he would be a great apartment dog, but he would need to exercise daily. At the time of Maxwell’s adoption, I lived downtown in Franklin Place Apartments. As members of the community know, there are plenty of places to walk downtown. Still, any dog owner knows to not walk a dog there in the middle of summer on hot pavement or sidewalk.

I immediately searched for dog park areas, so Maxwell could run free and socialize. The only dog park in the city was the Heart of Texas Dog Park. The first time we pulled into the gravel driveway, Maxwell stood on my lap and put his snout out the window. His ears perked and his eyes were gleaming at his surroundings. When I parked, he hopped right out of the car and raced to the gate. To this day, his body language is the same when I say, “Let’s go to the dog park!”

Dr. LuAnn Ervin created a place for dogs to roam but also created a community of people. Since the day we set foot in this park, we’ve been welcomed by many diverse groups of people. I may not be able to tell you everyone’s name, but I can look at an individual and describe his or her dog to you. It gets to the point that we meet as strangers and end up becoming friends. We soon start scheduling doggy dates.

This park keeps us active and it gives us something to look forward to every week. If Waco wants to continue to grow, it is important to have a place where people feel free to gather. I think that is what makes this city so grand. We gather as a community in times of celebration and adversity. As a citizen and teacher in this community, I’m asking for help to keep this park open.

Claire Wilkison, Waco

Mulkey qualifies!

The King family (Baylor University, ’52, ’59, ’63, ’82, ’83, ’08) extends heartfelt green-and-gold congratulations to Coach Matt Rhule. My son J.D. contends Baylor should hire Kim Mulkey to succeed him. Succeed? She certainly qualifies!

Kay King-Hill, Eddy

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