Something To Bark About

It took a community working together, and a generous gift of land, but the North Shore at last has a leash-free dog park

Tongues – and tails – are wagging in Kilauea, where a new dog park opened last week. Delighted dogs finally have the freedom to run and play with friends in a legally leash-free zone on the North Shore. And happy dogs mean happy owners, according to Bob Doyle, president of Kauai North Shore Community Foundation, the organization that, along with the help of generous donors, made the project possible.

“Dogs that are free to run and play are much happier and are much happier neighbors in the community,” says Nancy Lindman, who serves as head of the group’s dog park committee.

This is the first project for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The idea was brought about while board members were brainstorming ways they could assist their community. Since there wasn’t a spot where dogs could run freely on the North Shore, and driving to Freddie’s Dog Park at Kauai Humane Society in Lihue was too far, it made perfect sense for the dog-loving organization to make a space available for North Shore residents.

They originally had Princeville in mind as the location for the park but couldn’t find a suitable area large enough and were grateful when Bill and Joan Porter offered to have the park on their property.

Located in the Kalihiwai Ridge neighborhood, the one-acre park has separate spaces for small and large dogs. The handicapped-accessible park offers shade, water stations, benches and, of course, bags for doggy doo.

“It’s going to be a good retreat and play station for Fido to run around,” says Lindman.

One of the best parts about the park, which is open from dawn to dusk, is that it’s free of charge to anyone who wishes to utilize the space.

This is just a first success story of many that KNSCF, consisting of nine board members, hopes to bring to the North Shore. The organization, formed in July 2012 (achieving 501(c)(3) status in January) with the intention to develop projects that enhance health and wellness, education and culture, public spaces as well as for youths and seniors, for those residing from Anahola to Haena. It is a grassroots effort initiated by a number of concerned residents who were looking to bring a recreation center to the North Shore after the Princeville Health Club and Spa closed. A committee, which included Doyle, formed and sought possible locations for a new place for residents to work out.

“We all knew each other in various ways and we started pulling more people together,” says Doyle.

While they are still in pursuit of two to three acres of land for the center, they haven’t given up hope and have begun to work on other projects, including the dog park.

“We feel a need to bring the community together to fill some of the shortfalls of the North Shore,” says Doyle.

Born in Manhattan and raised in California, Texas and New Jersey, Doyle has been instrumental in bringing the group together. Formerly a member of the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association board, for which he served as president for five years, Doyle loves meeting people and bringing them together. He is also a voluntary member of the North Shore Council and Anaina Hou Community Park. In addition, the Princeville resident assists at St. Williams Church in Hanalei where he works at the Friday morning food pantry and also serves as a minister.

Doyle moved to the island from Oahu in 2001 after retiring from the Army. He was drafted at age 20 during the Vietnam War and was stationed on Oahu.

“I decided (Hawaii) was too nice to leave,” he says.

For almost 40 years he served in the Army in various capacities, from data processing to planning and programming at the Department of Defense and Intelligence.

The golfer always enjoyed visiting Kauai and especially playing at Makai golf course. He couldn’t think of a better place to live, and appreciates the close-knit community of the island. Even though he came from the “big city” of Honolulu, he says, “We know more people here than we did over there. And everybody seems to help everybody.”

So that’s just what he wanted to do as well. Doyle, who with wife Sue Ellen has three adult sons and three grandchildren, is especially drawn to the enthusiasm people have shown for the dog park.

“I like seeing that people can believe in it,” says Doyle, who has a pooch named Snickers.

KNSCF continues to work on bringing a recreation center to the North Shore and members are considering attaching a much-needed emergency room to the facility.

“This is not just for us, it’s for the community and for the people,” says Doyle.

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