Bailey's Legacy Dog Park

Don Feliciano passed away unexpectedly on May 19, 2023 before the completion of Bailey's Legacy Dog Park. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to support Don's efforts to create a place for the local community to convene and let their dogs play.

I live in a rural community within Virginia's Shenandoah Valley called Page County. I retired here back in 2015 with my two therapy dogs. One of the frustrating aspects I've discovered since I moved here was that in a state where over 100 counties have dog parks, Page County has NONE. I'm of the opinion that dog parks are great fun for dogs and their owners, particularly for elderly and handicapped folk who are limited in their physical abilities. Another feature I've witnessed is how dog parks have become community gathering locations. I've been to a county dog park in NJ that had some 150 folk and their dogs at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. It's so nice to read the paper or chat with your neighbors and friends without having to meet in a bar. It's community involvement as it should be.

I've tried very hard over the last few years to convince a local municipality, the Town of Luray, to build a dog park, and it's been a humiliating experience. They were disrespectful of me at their meetings and told me that Luray has no interest in dog parks. Frustrated, I went home and thought that I could afford to build a dog park myself and donate it to the community, thanks to the results of a lawsuit filed in 2012 when I got struck by a truck while crossing the street with my dog. The company that owned the Ford F-250 that struck me eventually settled the lawsuit and basically made me a millionaire after my attorney demonstrated that I was no longer able to work for a living, I almost died, and ended up with some debilitating brain and physical injuries. Being able to use local dog parks was a great way to recuperate from my injuries while allowing my dog to run around with other dogs.

My proposal to build and pay for a dog park was enthusiastically welcomed by a neighboring community, the Town of Stanley (pop. 1,865), and I was given the green light to start designing a dog park. Dog park costs vary based on their size, and the Page County Zoning Department offered me 3 acres of land at which I could build the dog park. I had been advised that the dog park would cost between $40K and $70K; as I've been gathering cost quotes for labor and equipment, I've been stunned to see the costs are now approaching $75K (fencing alone will cost $48K), so I am actively exploring cutting back the project or seeking grants from interested people or organizations like GoFundMe.

I also believe dog parks can help in the adoption of homeless dogs. Having visited dozens of dog parks in the last 10 years, I was impressed when dog adoption agencies visit community dog parks with their dogs to display them for possible adoption. Dozens of dog owners visit dog parks weekly, and it's a great opportunity for them to see, pet, and possibly adopt the poor strays. On completion of my planned dog park, I am planning to host dog adoption and veterinary vaccine events as part of my gift to the county. Given that I am building the first dog park in the county, you can imagine how popular it will be to people in the area. At this time I am not aware of any local dog adoption organizations except for the Page County Animal Shelter. We hope to break ground for the dog park around April 1st.

I'm hoping that the citizens of Page County, VA, and dog lovers in general will consider helping me pay for the construction of this dog park. Again, I am committed to paying for up to $75,000 personally to this project, and with additional donated monies I hope to include a number of exciting features for this dog park, including water sprayers for the dogs to get wet.
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Don Feliciano
Luray, VA

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