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Contact: Maureen Finnerty, 760-924-5505
In an effort to reach out to its dog loving and dog walking visitors, Devils Postpile National Monument has launched a pilot program to engage local dog owners and their canine companions in the monument's volunteer program. First piloted in 2010 by Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Paw Patrol Program has proven to be a huge success with dog owners, monument visitors, and the volunteers.
But these aren't just any dogs in the program. Dogs selected for the pilot program had to pass a rigorous and nationally recognized series of behavioral tests. The monument uses the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Test to ensure that all canine participants in the program are models for good dog behavior and that their owners help demonstrate to park visitors responsible pet ownership not only in national park sites in which dogs are allowed, but at home as well.
To date, Paw Patrol Volunteers have contacted over 300 visitors, educating them not only about dogs and rules and regulations pertaining to dogs, but about monument resources, resource protection, and safety. Volunteer Paw Patroller Sarah Seaborg, who patrols with her black lab Sprocket, said, "Visitors love the dogs. Even if they don't have dogs, they just come up to you and start talking. It's a great way to connect to visitors."
Surrounded by the Inyo National Forest, which allows dogs both on and off leash and accessed by a dog-friendly mandatory shuttle system, Devils Postpile is visited by over 1,300 dogs and their owners each year. This program hopes to continue to educate dog owners and other monument visitors about pets in parks, but also to hopes to connect volunteers and visitors to monument resources through the eyes of their canine companions.