Happy dogs, that is.
On Saturday, nearly 100 people and 50 dogs shook off the rain to celebrate the grand opening of the Tails and Trails Dog Park along Mukilteo Boulevard near Japanese Gulch. While their humans huddled under canopies set up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the dogs lived it up in the off-leash area, running, barking, sniffing each other and sliding on their bellies in the mud.
Some of the dogs even came dressed in Halloween outfits. Mayor Joe Marine awarded first and second prizes to the owners of the costume-clad canines.
For most of those gathered, the grand opening was the culmination of three years of hard to work to establish the 3/4-acre off-leash park.
Amy Ferguson and her husband, Jonathan Shulz of Everett, were among the volunteers in attendance. They brought along their dog, Tally.
"We are so excited for this park," Ferguson said. "We'll be here at least a couple times a week."
During the ceremony, Marine lauded the efforts of many, including the Snohomish County Parks Department, which helped build the dog park. He recognized Sally Osborn in particular, who along with Kelly Lee, showed the dedication necessary for the establishment of the park.
Osborn and Lee said the dog park provides socialization for the dogs and their owners.
"It's really about community. We love our dogs, we share that camaraderie and we get to know each other," Osborn said. "The park is a great addition to a great city, and now we don't have to drive out of town to some other city's off-leash park."
Joanne and Doug Norman's big old great Dane, Greta, won second place for her race-horse costume. She carried a stuffed animal jockey on her back during the celebration.
Sheila Phillips won first place for the costumes her dogs wore. Phillips' Italian greyhounds Mussolini and Rocco wore winged outfits that made them look like airplanes. Mussolini, named for the Italian dictator, is just a real bossy girl, Phillips said.
Another dog named for another World War II-era figure, Winston Churchill, was dressed in a little devil outfit. The American cocker spaniel, owned by Anna and Robert Curtis, didn't win a prize, but he got a lot of attention from the crowd nonetheless.
"All he needs is a cigar," Anna Curtis said. "Winston is very social and we are going to love bringing him here to the park."
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
How to help
To volunteer to help with the Tails and Trails Dog Park, leave a message on the Mukilteo Off Leash Dog Park Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The park, at 1301 Mukilteo Blvd., includes benches, dog-waste bags, a covered area for dog owners and an area for shy dogs. It's open daily from dawn to dusk.
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