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We’ve had our puppy Aleksandr for two weeks now, although it feels like we got him only a couple of days ago. We’re getting into a rhythm with him, or rather, we’re figuring out his rhythms … when he gobbles down his food (evening), when he has to go potty, when he goes absolutely wild with puppy energy and bounces around like Tigger in the leaves and whips around and stops suddenly and starts again and goes back to the leaves and practically rips my arm out of its socket because he’s doing this while on a leash (morning).

It’s this last behavior that had me seeking a safe place for Aleksandr to run off-leash, both so he could fully get his energy burned off and so he would stop associating pulling with the leash. Little Falls does not have a dog park, but we really could use one. Two would be even better, one on the east side and one on the west side. (Any other dog owners want to get organized and work on the issue?)

Because we don’t have an official dog park, I had to think really, really hard to come up with a solution. It came to me while I was sleeping one night (naturally). There is an enclosed outdoor ice skating rink in one of the parks. It’s only a skating rink during the winter; the rest of the time it’s just an oval enclosure with grass. Erik and I took Aleksandr there yesterday and today. It’s perfect for letting a dog run around. Apparently we’re not the only ones who’ve discovered this gem because there are signs posted on the rink that tell people to pick up the dog waste.

The only problem with the rink is that there’s grass in it and our dog likes to dig. It doesn’t take him long to dig a serious hole, as one spot in our yard proves. We don’t want him to dig up the grass in the rink because the surface will become uneven. So, we’ll continue to take Aleksandr for a run, but work hard at preventing him from digging. Little Falls still needs a dog park (or two), where digging doesn’t matter.

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