Doggone good time

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Tomas Gonzalez/DRC
Lowe’s employees and residents of Dogwood Estates watch dogs run around Thursday at the opening of a dog park built and donated for residents at the senior living center in Denton.
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Dogwood Estates living community gifted park for their four-legged friends

Bear was the first to try out the new digs Thursday.

The 3-year-old terrier bounded through the gate and stopped to sniff the wood chips as he waited for his friends to join him in the newly finished dog park at Dogwood Estates.

Earlier this week, employees from Lowe’s home improvement store provided materials and installed the park for free. Now residents at the senior living community can let their dogs off the leash to play and run around.

“One of our purposes is helping people love where they live and that ties into this,” said Zack Rathkopf, the store manager of the Lowe’s location on South Loop 288. “It’s not all about making money. It’s about making your community better.”

Dogwood’s general manager Kathleen Keator said she began working on the project when she took over the job in September. She saw that multiple tenants had cats or dogs because the property is one of the few pet-friendly senior homes in Denton.

“The connection between the dogs and the residents is unbelievable,” she said. “But I noticed how hard it was for them to get out and walk their dogs.”

She started calling local home improvement stores and contractors to get estimates on how much it would cost to install a small dog park on the property. When a Lowe’s representative came out, he saw a woman in a bathrobe struggling to walk her pet and heard dogs barking from inside the homes, Keator said.

Lowe’s had previously done community projects with organizations such as Keep Denton Beautiful and Habitat for Humanity, but employees decided that Dogwood needed their help now.

A crew came out Monday to put in poles and wrap fencing around the area. Employees brought in benches for residents to sit on, and by the time the ribbon was cut, the dogs were ready.

“Go wild, Murphy!” resident Edith Polich said to her 15-year-old dachshund as she let her off the leash.

Though Miss Murphy seemed a little unsure of her new surroundings, other dogs got straight to the task at hand: playing.

A Chihuahua named Dolly and a poodle named Sam pawed at each other, while Buddy the terrier trotted happily along the perimeter, examining the terrain.

As Sam’s tongue flopped out of his mouth, his owner Deloris Cook noted how happy he looked.

“He’s a character,” she said. “He had a big backyard before we moved here, so it’s been a change for him to be on the leash all the time.”

Resident Tom Rogers took in the furry scene around him and showed his gratitude to the Dogwood staff and Lowe’s.

“This is all the dogs that live here,” he said of the pups in the park. “When we get something like this done for us, it makes us feel special.”

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @CjonesDRC.

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