Randy Boyd, founder of PetSafe, presented Fairfield Glade Dog Park board members with the $25,000 Dog Park Dash Grant by the Boyd Foundation on Wednesday, Aug. 7, in the presence of many residents and their four-legged friends who often come to the park.
Fairfield Glade Dog Park President Jackie Meacham welcomed everyone and said, “We have a wonderful dog park here and with the generous donation from The Boyd Foundation, we are going to improve this for our community.”
Fairfield Dog Park board members plan to use the grant for park improvements, including upgrading the water system for year-round use, installing a watering system for the grounds and upgrading flooring, installing electricity in the pavilions and agility equipment for the pups to play.
“Thank you, Randy, for this wonderful opportunity,” Meacham said.
Meacham presented Boyd with a FG Dog Park supporter T-shirt for both him and his wife, Jenny.
“Jenny and I created The Boyd Foundation to give back to our state, and one of the things we were focused on is making Tennessee the most pet-friendly state in America,” said Boyd. “We created the Dog Park Dash as a contest for communities to show their enthusiasm for their pets. The communities that have the most enthusiasm win the dog parks. There’s no community in the state that has more enthusiasm and more passion for their pets than the Fairfield Glade Community. We’re so excited for them and their victory for this contest.”
Boyd emphasized that while dog parks are great for dogs, it’s also good for the community.
“It brings people together,” Boyd said, at a time when there are so many things that pull people a part. “We need more things that bring people together.”
Boyd said you’ll see people young and old and rich and poor on the dog park benches, and on some occasions, he has even seen Democrats and Republicans sharing a park bench.
“With that, I’ll say congratulations and hand you a big check,” Boyd said, for which the ongoing joke was that Meacham was going to need a bigger wallet.
The county was supportive of the FG Dog Park board to enter the Dog Park Dash Grant, with letters from County Mayor Allen Foster, as well as 9th district commissioners Carl MacLeod and John Patterson.
“We’ve had a passion for animals and animal welfare for many years,” said Boyd, who has essentially been a pet owner since the age of four. He said there were a few years when he was without a pet, but it wasn’t his fault and certainly not by choice.
When asked why dogs, Boyd laughingly said, “Well, we thought about a cat park, but I don’t think the cats would really enjoy it. Cats tend to be a little less social. Probably a cat park is not in the future.”
However, the Boyds have supported cats in other ways as they, their children and his company direct animal shelters, including a $1 million spay/neuter and adoption center in Knoxville established eight years ago, which he said has been very successful.
Dan Linskens said, “A lot of people use this dog park.”
“This is a big thing for our community,” Meacham said.
When the FG Dog Park first opened, the property behind the FGCC administration building designated for the park was a small, undeveloped area with no trees, no pavilion, no water, no park benches– no anything.
The FG Dog Park board and volunteers have done a lot of work since then and now, with the Dog Park Dash Grant, they will be able to do more than they imagined.
“Now, I’m looking forward to see what’s going on next,” said Maureen Murphy, accompanied by her Italian Greyhound, Niles.
Randy and Jenny Boyd founded the Boyd Foundation in 2018 to support animal welfare and youth education in Tennessee. The Tennessee Dog Park Dash is funded by The Boyd Foundation in an effort to fund building or enhancing dog parks.