Still On The Fence?

According to Gilbert’s Public Information Officer Beth Lucas, the primary draw at Cosmo is the amenities. Built in the shape of a dog’s paw and named after Gilbert’s first police dog and local hero, the park sits on 17 acres, and features two dog-wash stations, a wet-dog area, a lighted, open dog park, a timid-dog area, and a water-crazy canine’s favorite–a doggy beach.

In addition, owners can take advantage of a basketball court, walking trails, picnic tables, and an amphitheater.

Lucas says Cosmo epitomizes what a great dog park should look like and also serves as a place where the community comes together.

“People love their pets and [love] having a great place to take them. Cosmo Park is not just a drop-off area, but a place that people bring their dogs for a good time for both their animals and themselves,” said Lucas.

Health Benefits

Barker says the hallmark of an excellent dog park is great accommodations. Macon’s park has a water stream and fountains for both dogs and people. A small bridge, vertical car tires, and ramps lace the property on one side adjacent to shaded rest areas for worn-out “mommies” and “daddies.”

This type of environment is just what the doctor ordered for owners trying to improve their pet’s health. The dogs being treated at Greenwood Farms that she brings to the park for workouts are fit and trim as a result of their routine visits. They also rest better, maintain beautiful skin and coats, and don’t have as many joint and digestive issues as their inactive counterparts.

Barker adds that dog parks enhance animal and people skills through contact with other dogs and residents, and typifies a dog-park visit. And all this equates to a better way of life for the entire community: “Having a socialized dog is another world. These dogs are more versatile and can handle various situations well.”

The Power Of Dog Parks

The power of dog parks goes beyond the quality of life for local residents and their pets, however. Lucas says Cosmo has created additional reasons for non-residents to visit Gilbert and even stay awhile, which translates into more tourism dollars.

Back in Macon, Lucas’ words come to pass as Danny Vanvalkinburgh relaxes under a shade tree across from Heidi, while his buddy, a stray wiener dog he found a week earlier, tussles with Terrence the terrier. The Chattanooga, Tenn., senior biology major at nearby Mercer University says that he is just one of many people who use the park.

His and Heidi’s presence along with that of an elderly couple and their two four-legged comrades supports Williams’ and Lucas’ claims that dog parks attract an array of people, including professionals, the young and old, people of various races, and even the less-fortunate.

“It’s an escape for both the dog and me,” Vanvalkinburgh admits. “Dog parks are a really good idea because they bring people together in a safe haven. They are great places for people to get together.”

Clarence Thomas, Jr., works full-time as an Athletic Coordinator and Marketing Assistant with the Macon-Bibb County Georgia Parks and Recreation Department, and doubles as a freelance writer and public-relations specialist. He can be reached at

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