Millsboro dog park up and running

Maggie, Nola and Sadie enjoy the new dog park in downtown Millsboro. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

MILLSBORO — Tongues out, tails wagging and panting on occasion, Nola, Maggie, Sadie and Willow all ran like the wind.

Redster and Shiloh, two dachshunds whose bellies sometimes bottom out, also trotted, but not as fast.

Large and small, there’s a joyful run on happiness among unleashed dogs at the town of Millsboro’s public dog park.

The park is on town-owned property off Wilson Highway near Brandywine Village Apartments — a short walk from the Millsboro Civic Center and Town Hall hub. It opened in the spring and is available daily from dawn to dusk.

It features two spacious, fenced-in run areas, one for large canines over 30 pounds and another for smaller dogs.

The town’s $55,833 investment is drawing plenty of patrons from Millsboro and beyond.

“It’s amazing. It is used very often. That is not uncommon. The park is getting a lot of use,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “When I take a peek from time to time out of the Town Hall window upfront, more often than not, there are multiple cars there during the day.”

Millsboro resident Tam Dignoti and her dog, Sadie, visit the park often.
“It was a savior for us during the quarantine to come here every day,” said Ms. Dignoti.

Christine Work of Lewes brought her two dogs, Nola and Maggie, last Saturday.

There is a dog park in Lewes — membership-based Lewes Unleashed. However, one of Ms. Work’s dogs is too young to be spayed, and non-spayed female dogs are not permitted under that park’s rules.

“We usually come here on weekends,” Ms. Work said.

“It is well-used, which is great,” said Millsboro Assistant Town Manager Jamie Burk. “We’re glad to see it up and running.”

After a nice run or playtime, dogs can quench their thirst at water fountain stations in both run areas of the park.

As their dogs run and play, owners can sit on benches in the run areas. There are trash cans and dog waste receptacles, as well.

While patrons are encouraged to park at the Town Hall lot, the parking area at the park entrance is paved and striped.

Accompanied by her goddaughter, Gail Quiah, Mary Deroo, owner of Mary D’s Dog Training in Millsboro, brought her dog, Willow. Redster and Shiloh, following their overnight pup-sitting stay, were also along.

“We’re just here to give the little dogs some exercise before it gets too hot!” said Ms. Deroo. “And grass is better than asphalt.”

She gives Millsboro’s park passing grades.

“It’s a nice size. I love that they have added benches. I’m glad that there is shade. And it is always important to have water,” said Ms. Deroo. “Puppies need exercise, and as working people, pet parents, we don’t always have the time to take them on a long walk.”

Ms. Deroo said her dog, Willow, “could easily do 5 or 6 miles a day and then be tired. And like Sadie over there, the big one, she’s good for 10 miles,” said Ms. Deroo, noting with a chuckle that the little dachshunds “don’t have that kind of energy. Unfortunately, if you don’t run with them, they just sit there and look at you like, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ ”

The cost of the park came well under the $100,000 that was budgeted.
Down the road, the town may be open to entertaining the possibility of a partnership, possibly with a nonprofit or a 501(c)(3) entity, for upkeep.

“My sense is the town probably wants to retain ownership. There has been some talk about having an outside party manage the park, moving forward,” Mr. Hudson said.