Dogs – and their people – are learning new tricks at Mason Pointe, a Lutheran Senior Services community in Town & Country, Missouri, thanks to an Eagle Scout project!
Cody Phillips, 16, has upgraded the Mason Pointe Dog Park with agility equipment, creating a stimulating environment for dogs and residents.
“It’s awesome! It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Mason Pointe resident Judy Wohltman of the upgraded park located in the heart of the Mason Pointe campus.
After a decade in the Boy Scouts program, Cody is proud that his work is helping the community while also earning his Eagle Scout rank. Because his great-grandparents were residents at an LSS community with two dogs, he wanted to make this dog park the best it could be. “When I heard that Mason Pointe was creating a Dog Park, I knew the dogs would need places to rest and play. My Eagle Scout Project was to build some agility and resting structures for the dog park – large and small ramps, a dog see-saw, and a jump structure to engage the dogs, and then beds for resting,” he said.
Mason Pointe residents and their dogs gathered for a dedication of the Dog Park and to celebrate the completion of the project. Following remarks from Mason Pointe Executive Director Drew Redman, Chaplain Terry Quick, and Joyce Forbes, founder of the Mason Pointe Canine Care Support Group, the resident dogs checked out the new equipment.
Carolyn Streetman and her husband Phil coaxed their dog, Peter, to try out the balance beam. David Hans and his dog, Ginger, explored the new equipment, eventually moving on to a game of catch with a tennis ball.
“One of the requirements when we moved to a senior living community was to make sure it was dog friendly. So, seeing it all come to fruition like this is great,” said David, who has lived at Mason Pointe for almost two years. Ginger is a mixed breed dog adopted from the Humane Society as a puppy seven years ago. “She’s a real good companion. She keeps me moving and getting outside five times a day,” said David.
David and Ginger spend a lot of time at the park playing catch, and he’s interested to see if she will learn some new tricks using the equipment.
Bonnie Moore, another Mason Pointe resident, has been a lifelong dog lover. While she doesn’t currently have a dog, knowing the park is right here in her community is making her consider the possibility again. “The park is a great idea because you can take your dog someplace you don’t have to drive to.”
“The convenience of the park is a big win for Mason Pointe,” said Judy Wohltman. Her dog, LuLu, strutted her stuff on the balance beam and posed for photos. “The dogs are all in love with it!” said Judy.
Waldo, resident Judy Meyr’s dog, agreed. “We’re going to call him the ‘Gate Keeper’ I think,” laughed Judy, as Waldo monitored the comings and goings of everyone at the park, pausing for treats. He appeared to enjoyed socializing with residents and their canine companions.
Dogs are an important part of the Mason Pointe community. “We have a tight little dog community here,” said Joyce. She formed a Canine Care Support Group for Mason Pointe residents so they could help one another with dog-related issues, or just enjoy their pets together. “If someone needs someone to watch their dog, we have a group to call. If a dog dies, you have someone who will cry with you. Or just where to find a good vet or groomer,” said Joyce. She also has implemented pet-safety measures, such as notations on the doors and windows of pet owners indicating that there is an animal resident.
Pets fill a much-needed role in the lives of many Mason Pointe residents. “Pets provide emotional support, and when you have a loss they can provide continuity in your family,” said Joyce. “You could be the meanest person in the world and your dog will still love you no matter what. They will also be so excited to see you every time you come home.”
The agility park items are a gift to Mason Pointe and were paid for by funds that Cody earned. The Ross & Baruzzini Engineering firm volunteered one of their staff to help Cody design the structures built for the dog park. Cody also received support from his Assistant Scout Master, Phil Zimmer, to measure and cut the white furniture grade PVC piping to build the equipment.
“These seniors love their dogs and want them to live long healthy lives. Fresh air and activity are important to both the dogs and their owners. These agility items can help both keep active to improve their health. An added benefit to Mason Pointe residents is the location of their Dog Park. Great fun for the residents in this higher level of care to look out the window and see people and dogs playing,” said Becky Zimmer, Mason Pointe Executive Director of Planned Giving.
“I’m glad that the Care Center residents can enjoy the park, too, by seeing the dogs play,” said Cody as he reflected on his months of effort and the results. “And I’m really glad my grandpa and my grandma have supported me and pushed me to become an Eagle.”