Fur Haven Dog Park officially opens

Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 8:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2022 at 6:55 AM EDT
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FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) - Dogs in Rutland County have a new park to stretch their legs.

Mayor Murfee is a pooch politician with a plan. On Sunday, he bit the ribbon, announcing the opening of his latest fundraising effort, the Fur Haven Dog Park.

“He was head of our dog park committee. He was flogging me the whole time... get busy on my dog park, you know,” said Linda Barker, the chair of the Dog Park Committee and Murfee’s owner.

Murfee is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who served as Fair Haven’s mayor for two terms. While the pet mayor role is largely symbolic, Murfee and his owner Linda Barker spent his terms fundraising for a playground, and now, this dog park.

Murfee did not run again this year and has been replaced by Mayor Elsa, a goat.

“So many people in town got behind the idea and once we found the location which was the hard part, we have a dog park,” said Barker.

There were some holdups along the way because wetland permitting took time to get approved by state regulators. But Sunday marked the official opening of the effort that is funded and operated 100% by volunteers.

Barker says the fencing cost around $16,000 and they spent a bit more contributed money on benches and tunnel ramp structures. But the rest of the details for the dogs in this park were largely donated.

“That one was a child’s play structure, we repurposed it, a high school art class painted it bright for us,” said Barker.

“She needs socialization, so it’s really nice to have something like a dog park to see other dogs,” said Mike Green of Castleton.

Now that all the finishing touches are done, dogs and their owners are taking advantage of a project the whole community was able to make happen.

“You get to meet and have fun just as much as the dogs do,” said Shaula White of Fair Haven.

Dog owners told our Melissa Cooney they’ve been needing something like this in town for a long time. And just based on the turnout Sunday, the demand is high.

“We used to go to the West Rutland one and now that this is here, I’m so excited,” said Illissa Williams of Fair Haven.

Now, Mayor Murfee’s work is largely complete but his legacy will live on thanks to the hard work of volunteers and community members.

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