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Wiggly field dog park
By John R. Emshwiller
12/09/2012 01:00:00 AM EST
Tuesday December 10, 2012
In the past, the Wiggly field at the Back Bay Playground has been a quiet patch of greenspace just off the Boston Common. But over the last couple of years, the field has grown into an active, dog-friendly oasis that has become a place for dog owners to congregate, meet, play and exercise their dogs.
And, like the Boston Common, it is on the verge of a major upgrade.
"We're planning to install a gated fenced area," said Michael DiPentima, a spokesman for Boston Parks and Recreation. "We're hoping to break ground soon."
And, much like the Common, that upgrade, and a large portion of what happens there, will be paid for by the city's dog-owners.
"It's a very active group of dog owners," said DiPentima. "We do about 100 dog-related programs a year, and we need a dedicated place for them to meet."
There are currently about 250 dogs allowed to play there on a given day, and some of them are very big dogs. But the park is a friendly, welcoming place, and is well-used, and has become a much-anticipated, and beloved, destination for dog owners who are looking for a safe place to exercise, socialize and play with their dogs.
And, like the Common, it is being upgraded with the goal of attracting more visitors to enjoy the park's beauty and dog-friendliness, and to have dogs that are not allowed on the Common use the park.
But unlike the Common, this field does not have the cachet of an historic green space. In the 1970s, it was the site of a baseball field. But in recent years, it has been used by the Back Bay Playground for a variety of recreational activities.
The park includes three main areas, an open green field with a large number of large trees, a series of fenced-in areas and a series of dog-friendly play areas at the front of the park.
One area is a dog-friendly park with a series of three fenced off spaces where you can take your dog and play with it, and socialize with other dog-owners.
This is an area where there are also three play structures, two of which have dog runways that allow your dog to run around.
Another part of the park, which is surrounded by fencing, is where dog-owners with large dogs can play with other large dogs.
The final part of the park is the large open green field, which is surrounded by fencing, and has a number of large trees.
"It's very much a dog-friendly field," said DiPentima. "There's been a lot of activity with our dog-owners in this area, and there's a lot of activity with the dogs in this area. We are hoping to do more in the future."
And, in recent months, the park has been getting more dog-friendly, and dog-owners are getting more comfortable playing there.
One recent evening, I watched a couple walk two dogs in the park. Both of the dogs were large, and one of them was obviously very well-trained.
But the two dogs played happily together, and after a while, the owner told her dog to sit. The dog sat, and the owner petted him.
"It's really amazing how quickly a dog can get to understand commands," said the owner. "It's really amazing how easy it is to get your dog to do certain things."
The owner then pointed at the other dog.
"And that dog gets to lie down," she said, "But we've got to work on the one dog."
In a way, the park can be compared to the dog-friendly parks around the country.
"It's a nice thing for people who like to take their dogs to the park," said DiPentima. "It's a nice thing for people who like to play with their dogs."
As for when this park will open, it is scheduled to open on June 21st, and will remain open for about four months.
In recent years, there has been a push to make more dog-friendly parks in the Back Bay.
Last year, a dog park was installed at the Fort Point playground, and in 2011, a dog park opened in the Back Bay Playground.
"I think the Back Bay Playground dog park has had a big impact on this area," said DiPentima. "There's a lot of dog-owners and their dogs in this area."
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