by Jackie Fleming
Jackie Fleming is an Outreach Associate at Valley Animal Center in Fresno, California. VAC will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every month. Check out KRL’s interview with VAC to learn more about what they do.
If you and your dog need a fantastic place to cool off this summer, look no further than the Valley Animal Center’s Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park pool. With a beach style entrance, water fountains and toys, your furry friend is guaranteed to have great time playing in the water. Our dog park has over 600 members so your pet will never be without a playmate. The dog park has everything that a dog could need to have fun, socialize, exercise and practice their obedience skills. Canine parents are also well accommodated for with doggie bag dispensers, ample shade, private bathrooms, drinking fountains, lockers, and a beverage vending machine.
The Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park occupies 1 ½ acres of grassy land and features not only a 2,000 gallon wading pool but also separate dog runs for canines under 25 pounds and over 25 pounds. The dog park also features a canine agility course with a variety of obstacles. Included in each dog run are several clean water stations and toys of all shapes and sizes.
Our membership-based dog park is also a learning center for our shelter animals. Every Saturday morning at 8 a.m., Kit Perry of Creature Coach Animal Training can be found in the Dog Park working with volunteers who participate in Valley Animal Center’s Training and Enrichment Committee.
Our volunteers dedicate their Saturday mornings to training our shelter dogs basic obedience and socializing them to increase their adoptability. With a training system of positive reinforcement, shelter dogs learn to sit and stay, walk calmly on a leash and safely interact with other dogs and people. As a result of the training classes, the shelter dogs go from being fearful and untrusting to confident and loving pets that are ready to be adopted.
Dexter, who has been with us for over two years, regularly attends the Saturday morning class for the shelter dogs. Dexter is a seven-year-old Bull Terrier mix and was surrendered by his owner in May of 2013. He came into the shelter not knowing how to calmly walk on a leash and was aggressive toward other dogs. Because of the volunteers’ dedication to Dexter’s obedience training and socialization, he has improved his leash walking skills and is working on positively interacting with other dogs. Dexter also loves the opportunity to get out of his kennel and play in the Dog Park swimming pool. He loves the water and to play with tennis balls. Dexter is currently available for adoption for only $50 thanks to our summer adoption promotion for dogs six months and older.
Our dog park staff (led by Taylor Dall-Angelo, Lead Dog Park Associate) are consistently striving to provide the best possible experience for all of the dog park members, as well as our shelter animals. They have a meticulous cleaning protocol in place to keep all of the dogs safe and healthy. Their cleaning process involves thoroughly disinfecting all the hard surfaces in the park, clearing away any faeces left in the runs and adding chlorine to the pool to keep the water clean and safe for the dogs. Additionally, the dog park is always making improvements, most recently with the installation of huge solar structures. Along with being a permanent shade structure, the solar panels will allow the shelter to cut its electrical costs thus enabling us to reallocate the funds and to rescue more animals in need.
If you would like to become a member, your dog must be spayed or neutered, up to date on all of their vaccinations and at least six months old. The required vaccinations are bordetella, rabies and DA2PPv (or an equivalent). The annual membership is $35 for a year or $5 for a day for each dog.
We invite everyone interested in membership to tour the Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park, located at Valley Animal Center, the Central Valley’s largest no-kill animal shelter. We are located at 3934 N. Hayston, in Fresno off of Dakota and Cedar Ave. The dog park is open 7 days a week, and is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. during the summer (winter hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.). With all of its amazing amenities, the Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park is sure to please dogs and canine parents alike!
Keep up with VAC’s animal rescue adventures here at KRL, and learn more about adopting from them, volunteering, and donating to VAC on their website If you advertise with KRL you can designate 10% of your ad fees to go to VAC.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue.