Tribune Print Share Text

A place to run and play

Ashby Ponds dog park now open

Created date

April 3rd, 2017
Associate Executive Director Tom Channon and Facilities Manager Jarka Slaninova welcome Ashby Ponds’ furry friends at the official opening of the campus dog park.

Associate Executive Director Tom Channon and Dottie Sampugna welcome Ashby Ponds’ furry friends at the official opening of the campus dog park.

Last fall, dog owners at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va., celebrated the arrival of the campus’s first dog run, the perfect outdoor space for their beloved pets.

“My two bichons, Ruff and Tuff, and I were thrilled the day the dog park opened,” says community member Adele Knott. “They enjoyed spending time with the other dogs and loved the freedom of roaming where they pleased without the restrictions of a leash.”

Adele’s neighbor Louise Mayr agrees.

“I am very enthusiastic about the dog park,” she says. “It’s great the dogs can be off-leash, and they’re all friends when off their leash.”

Welcoming atmosphere

As a pet-friendly community, Ashby Ponds is home to more than 50 dogs, as well as cats, birds, and turtles, all of which are registered upon arrival. Pet owners respect their fellow neighbors by keeping their pets on a leash whenever they are out of their home. With the exception of assistive dogs, dogs are not allowed in indoor public spaces.

The new dog run, located between Maple Grove and the community gardens, provides beloved pets the sought-after opportunity to run and play in a gated 50- by 100-foot run complete with benches, clean-up stations, and a K9 Guzzler dog water fountain.

“Ruff and Tuff love the state-of-the-art water fountain,” says Adele. “It slowly empties ensuring that there will be no standing water. I love the nice benches and enjoy sitting in the sun while my boys enjoy their freedom.”

“The new dog run is perfect for Lucy, my six-year-old basset hound,” says community member Bruce Petree. “As soon as she is let off the leash, Lucy runs pel-mel around the park two or three times and then enjoys tracking every smell contained in the park. Other times she invites a dog on a chase and almost always ends up falling asleep as soon as we return home.”

Sharing their lives

In addition to spending time together at the new Ashby Ponds dog run, dog owners have numerous opportunities to mingle and enjoy the many aspects of community living with their pets.

Each fall on October 4—the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment—Ashby Ponds hosts a blessing of the pets in the community gazebo.

Rev. Matthew Sergent, a former K9 police officer and current pastor of the Galilee Methodist Church, performs the blessing, which is open to everyone. 

Pets and owners with a flair for the dramatic enjoy participating in the annual Canine Cup competition. Dogs dressed in their favorite custume strut their stuff in front of both judges and guests. Prizes are awarded for dogs who distinguish themselves as “Best Dressed,” “Waggiest Tail,” “Most Expressive Face,” and “Best in Show.”

“The Canine Cup is a wonderful example of the uniqueness of life at Ashby Ponds,” says community member Greg Johnson, who has participated in the event with his dog Charlie. “The event brings us all together to celebrate the things we enjoy most in life—our pets, socializing, and a little competition.”

Regardless of how they spend their time together, Ashby Ponds residents and their dogs add an element of fun and frolic to the vibrant community. 

“Those of us who walk our dogs regularly are like a fraternity,” says Bruce. “We first recognize each other by our pets. We are all very happy to live at such a pet-friendly community.”