Grand opening planned for Oregon’s new dog park

Kelly J. Kaczala

         The grand opening of Jake & Cooper’s Bark Park will take place at the Eastern Community YMCA, at 2960 Pickle Road, on Tuesday, May 23 at 6 p.m.
        The park is nearly completed, according to Larry Schaffer, who started the park in memory of his son, Jacob, who died at the age of 26 in 2021.
        “It’s not completely finished,” he said. Three swings planned on the outside of the park, and several benches, have yet to be installed.
        “We can always install them at a later date once they come in,” said Larry. “We just want to get the park up and running.”
         Larry’s wife, and Jacob’s mother, Jane, said a pavilion will also be constructed in the park.
        “AA Boos & Sons has graciously offered in-kind labor for the pavilion. They will donate any materials they have for its development. So the pavilion is not up yet, but will be coming, probably later in June,” she said.
        “The community has really come together and supported our vision of the dog park,” she added. A sign, part of an archway that people will walk under as they enter the park, was initially deemed beyond their budget – approximately $20,000-$30,000. Then the Oregonians, a men’s club in Oregon, heard about it and said they would fund it.
        “That is amazing,” said Larry. “It will be an eye catcher.”
        Future plans call for agility equipment for high energy dogs and splash pads.
        “Once we started working on this, we realized we’ll have to do this in phases. So the next phase will be the construction of the pavilion in June. Then hopefully, after that, we’ll add the agility equipment, and then the splash pads” said Larry.
        The park sits on 2.3 acres of gated land in Oregon, which will be divided between small and large dogs with the pavilion between the two areas. Toledo Unleashed, which operates the Glass City Dog Park in Toledo, will also operate the dog park in Oregon.
        The City of Oregon is leasing the land for a nominal fee from the YMCA for the dog park.
        “We couldn’t have done this without the YMCA and the city,” said Jane. “Without their support, it would be much harder to put this together.”
        The idea of a dog park came from Larry and Jane after their son died from mental health and addiction issues. Following his funeral, contributions from individuals totaled $10,000 that went into a memorial fund. The family wanted to use the money to honor Jacob in some way. They came up with the idea of a dog park. The family wanted to pay forward the love that Jacob had for his dog, Cooper, in a positive and meaningful way by adding its name to the dog park. Cooper was Jacob’s constant companion who now lives with Larry and Jane.
Family affair
        Jake’s sisters, Rachael and Lauren, have also worked on the development of the dog park.
        “This has been a family project, from coming up with the name of the dog park, to developing a website. It’s been a family affair,” said Jane.
        “They both have been involved,” added Larry. “Rachael has been doing our website, and Lauren has helped behind the scenes. If we need something, she’s there to help.”
        Last Sunday, a 5k run to benefit the bark park while also promoting awareness of mental health and addiction drew 269 registered runners and walkers. Second Sole assisted with the event.
        “They said for a first time event, it was very well attended,” said Jane. “We got a lot of positive remarks.”
        The event will be held annually.
        Annual memberships to the dog park will be available to dog owners and the park will be monitored each business day to ensure it is maintained and members follow the rules.
        A ribbon cutting, park tours, a special ceremony, and the famous Hillbilly Gourmet Hot Dog food truck will be featured at the grand opening.
        “We’re hoping to have the park up and running on June 1. It might be a little delayed. It depends if we can get good grass growing because people don’t want muddy dogs,” said Larry.
        The park will be a non-profit entity, supported mostly by membership fees and donations.
        The annual membership fee is $45 for up to two dogs, and $55 for three dogs. This year, the membership fee will be $25 for the remainder of the year.
        Membership requires dog owners to show proof their dogs are up to date on vaccinations. Dogs also must be spayed or neutered.
        “We want to make sure all of the dogs are protected and safe,” said Jane.
        To donate, send check to Jake & Cooper’s Bark Park, P.O. Box 167786, Oregon, 43616, and in the memo, write Jake & Cooper’s Bark Park for a tax deduction.
        For more information on the dog park, visit the website at


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