‘Nickel by nickel’: Supporting the dog park through monthly can drives

Aug 5, 2023

The Dartmouth Dog Advisory Group is all bark and all bite. They’re not only advocating for a new permanent, off-leash dog park, but raising money for it too.

Each month the Dartmouth Dog Advisory Work Group hosts an empty can and bottle drive in support of the new park. 

The can-drive effort started during the pandemic when in-person fundraising was no longer possible. Since then, they have raised the necessary money for the park “nickel by nickel,” said Jo-Anne Gallant, the group's secretary.

The group members believe that every can and bottle they get money back from through bottle deposits will benefit the park, located in the Dartmouth Regional Park at Harry M Reynolds Drive. 

“I go down to the pavilion at the end of the facility, and I look through the garbage cans because the weekends are very popular down there,” said Mark Lavallee, the group's treasurer. “Sometimes I walk out of there with 50 cans.”

The group has raised over $6,000 through their monthly can drives and plans to continue after their permanent dog park is built. The money goes towards not only the construction, but also monthly upkeep. That includes dog bags and other amenities for dog owners. In total, the group has raised $15,000 for the dog park through all their fundraising strategies. 

In 2017, the town’s Community Preservation Committee approved a grant of $291,671 for the development of the off-leash dog park. Funding was previously approved in 2014 as well, but the project was canceled. A temporary park was opened in 2017 and exists there now, but the permanent park will be larger, have separate areas for small dogs, have nicer ground and have outdoor lighting. 

The temporary park has ramps, tunnels and shaded areas for the pups.

DDAWG expects the permanent park to be built at the end of this summer or next summer. 

Each fundraiser raises about $75, Lavallee said.

“It’s just going to go to trash and landfill otherwise,” he said. “So we are doing two goods really.”

The next collection will be near the end of September halfway down Harry M Reynolds Drive. The exact date will be posted on the group’s Facebook, DDAWG Dartmouth Dog Park Page.