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Dog park will add to our quality of life

The care of area animals is important to many of our residents.

Many of us, at one time or another in our lives, has had a pet of some sort. Whether it has been a dog or a cat, or perhaps something more exotic, care of animals is important to those willing to open their hearts.

Some animals, unfortunately, don’t have homes of their own or people to love them, at least not yet, but they have an opportunity for a better future.

In addition to the animal shelters in both Brooke and Hancock counties, our area also is served by a volunteer organization known as the Hancock County Humane Foundation.

Starting out working with local stray cats and kittens, that organization has been working the last couple of years to build its programs, and is always looking for responsible individuals to assist in their mission.

Whether they have a loving family or are awaiting their forever home, socialization and exercise also is important for the well being of these animals.

On Saturday, the next piece of the puzzle for local animal care will be put in place with the soft opening of the new Hancock County Dog Park.

This project has been in the planning and development stages with the Hancock County Parks and Recreation Board for quite some time, and now we will be able to see if for ourselves.

A ribbon cutting for the facility, located on Gas Valley Road, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, with an afternoon of activities to follow.

The park, from what I have heard, is designed to allow for supervised play by dogs of all sizes and types. There will be several features, including play equipment and other items, all included in a fenced-in area so canines will be able to run around but not run away.

There are many who have been working hard on this new park, with several area residents raising money over the last couple of years to assist with the costs.

The Hancock County Dog Park will be an important attribute for our region, offering a safe and clean space for some of our residents’ animal friends and adding to the quality of life for the rest of us. It is good to see if finally coming together.

It won’t just be for residents to take their own dogs, either. The new park is located a short distance from the Hancock County Animal Shelter, and I’ve been told there will be opportunities for the dogs staying there to visit the park as well.

This also isn’t the only dog park to be discussed in our area.

One already has been constructed in Wheeling, and has become quite popular from my understanding.

Other such projects have been proposed in Weirton by several groups, although it may still take some time before any of those come to fruition.

Adding to our recreational offerings, whether for man or man’s best friend, is good for our area. It’s an investment in ourselves and our community which will help to bring more spirit to our communities and possibly even be a selling point to attract new residents here.

Our Northern Panhandle communities are full of caring individuals who look out for others, whether it be their family, neighbors or four-legged friends.

This is just one more example of what is possible when we work together to contribute to the lives of others and help the area grow.

I look forward to seeing the results.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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