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Showing puppy love

Donation from Dr. Phil leads to humane society play area for dogs.

June 16, 2010|By Max Zimbert
  • Vinny, one of the office dogs at the Glendale Humane Society, sniffs around the newly opened Maggie's Bark Yard on Tuesday. The dog park was opened last Sunday, and was largely funded by a donation from Dr. Phil.
Vinny, one of the office dogs at the Glendale Humane Society,… (Tim Berger/News-Press )

Panting and jumping, Rosie, Olivia and Vinny left their marks on the new dog play area Tuesday at the Glendale Humane Society.

The sheltie mix, Maltese poodle and bichon poodle mix ran around the new grounds, digging holes in the shade and playing with nearby workers.

After about six months of construction and $40,000 in donations, Maggie's Barkyard was unveiled this week, giving Glendale Humane Society residents — all 37 dogs — valuable play and exercise space, said Tina Marie Ito, the group's president of the board of directors and director of administration.

"What it does for us, and we're so grateful for it, is it allows our dogs to come out of their kennels," she said. "In addition to regular walks, they can get exercise and play time."

Dogs are walked twice daily, but the new area doubles as an introduction space for interested families to meet their prospective new member.

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"When people come in to adopt, oftentimes they have a dog at home, and we need to do a meet and greet," Ito said. "Before they can have a potential pet, [they can] make sure the dogs get along before the adoption process can continue."

The play yard's name comes from the name of television show host Phil McGraw's dog Maggie, Ito said. The host of "Dr. Phil" donated $10,000 as lead money to get the project moving. A volunteer with the society also worked for McGraw, Ito said.

"When he was looking for nonprofits to donate money to, she recommended us to him, and he liked what he saw and he liked what we do," Ito said.

The play area was formerly sun-baked asphalt that could get so hot, it would burn paw pads, Ito said. Monrovia-based Wildrose Landscaping Services was called to transform the barren landscape into an oasis.

"They described to me everything they were after, and I put it in place," company owner Charlie Phillips said.

The new grounds feature decomposed granite, which looks like grainy sand, as well as a grass, a dog-sized pool, a shade area, trees, and floral, garden-like murals adorning side walls.

"That's what we went with to create a park-like theme as you walk in," Phillips said.

In exchange for his work, Phillips adopted Gidget, a Labrador retriever.

"She's a wonderful dog, and it was well worth it," he said.

The park, which is for Glendale Humane Society use, was inaugurated Sunday with scores of community members, and their pets, of which there were many Humane Society alums, said Star Mangasaryan, the director of operations.

Glendale Humane Society, a nonprofit, continues to offer $100 commemorative bricks, which celebrate loved human and canine family members alike. The bricks form a bone pattern in the center of Maggie's Barkyard.

"It's a haven in there," Ito said. "It's just wonderful."

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