Brent Batten: At new gated community, it's dog meet dog

BRENT BATTEN

As the Naples City Council chases the dream of a dog park, you’ll hear some growling over the details.

Questions of cost, location and exclusivity promise to hound the project as it wends its way along the bureaucratic trail.

But there’s no need for the city to reinvent the chew toy.

Models for a facility like the one dog lovers are proposing — a large, fenced-in tract for playing and socializing — exist all around us.

They’re called gated golf course communities and by following their lead, proponents of the dog park can get a leg up on the process.

The first requirement is a name. Central Bark is cute, but it lacks the cache an exclusive club needs to set itself apart from the field. Successful clubs in and around Naples have incorporated animals into their names. Surely a park, make that country club, for dogs, could do the same. How about Dogfire or Dog’s Paw? Maybe Collie’s Reserve or Beagle Creek?

Imperial Dog Estates? Kennelsington?

Country club developers add prestige to their product by hiring a top architect. Famous course designers Arthur Hills and Tom Fazio may be too busy to take on the task, but their dog park counterparts Arfer Hills or Tom Fuzzio may be available.

With a name and a designer, the country club can begin marketing itself. A big question on the horizon is that of funding. Even if the city donates land for the park, it will take $200,000 or more to outfit a proper canine country club. An annual fee in the $125 range is being discussed. Big mistake.

Don’t call it a fee. Follow the gated golf course community example and call it an initiation fee. Then require members to spend a minimum amount each month at the clubhouse on things like treats and squeaky toys. Be careful not to call the initial payment a deposit or promise it will be refunded if the dog decides to leave. You might find yourself suing a particularly disgruntled dog. He’ll countersue and you’ll end up with a mess even the biggest pooper scooper can’t handle.

With funding secured it’s time to play. Of course you can’t have everyone showing up all at once so players will need to call 48 hours in advance for a starting time. T-bone times may also be made through the club’s Web site.

To maintain the club’s image, certain rules of etiquette must be followed. Collared shirts aren’t necessarily required, but collars are.

The primary activity at a gated golf course community is the pointless pursuit of a little white ball. Chasing balls will be a popular activity at the dog park too, only the dogs won’t get to ride in carts when they do it. That’s just as well, since doing so can be hazardous, as some folks found out the hard way Sunday at the Quarry.

Finally, a country club for dogs needs a place where the members can unwind after playing.

For that, the gated golf course community provides an example as well. Let’s call it the K-19th Hole.

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Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten

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