Last week I got to meet and capture dog and Bend lover, Kreg Lindberg. Kreg is locally known for the inspiration behind Bend’s DogPAC. Without DogPAC Bend would not have all the off-leash areas for its furry friends.
Kreg, his beautiful lab mix Lani and I had fun on the river capturing images of the unconditional love a dog gives. I can’t think of a better way for an owner to give back that love than through the freedom and ability to run and play in nature.
I asked Kreg to share how DogPAC evolved and what inspired him. Here is what he has to share:
As with many good ideas, DogPAC arose out of a conversation at a coffee shop, in our case the old DiLusso’s on Galveston. The conversation revolved around Bend seeing itself as dog friendly, with a huge population of outdoorsy dog owners/guardians. The flip side of the conversation revolved around how the Deschutes National Forest was (and remains today) the most restrictive of all 12 national forests in Oregon when it comes to dog owner access. And, at the time, there were no off-leash areas (OLAs) in parks within city limits. DogPAC was formed because of this fundamental disconnect between community needs and the provision of opportunities by managers of public lands.When I adopted Lani from the Humane Society in 2006, I quickly discovered that I could no longer use the park and forest trails that I loved. As a recreation professor, I understood the logic of having restrictions in some locations, but I was shocked at their pervasiveness in and around Bend. I knew it was possible to be more “dog owner friendly,” based on what I experienced in other communities and national forests. I grew up with a strong belief that most things are possible if one is committed – and that, in a democracy, we have the responsibility to ask our government “why?”. So a push for change came naturally.The experience of mountain bikers showed that organizing, speaking with a collective voice, working collaboratively, promoting stewardship, and doing volunteer work on the ground is the best way to enhance opportunities. DogPAC was formed to engage in these ways.Why off-leash? For me, there are many reasons. Off-leash recreation provides the exercise and mental stimulation that dogs (like humans) need. In turn, this leads to dogs that are happier and better behaved.But for me this is fundamentally about humans. Put simply, people have fun when they’re out with their dogs. Moreover, people are exercising and socializing, both very important in our society of obesity and “Bowling Alone.” An article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggested that “acquiring a dog should be explored as an intervention to get people more physically active.” Having a dog promotes venturing out with old friends or meeting new ones.And recreating with my dog helps me experience nature differently. We live in environments – including parks and forests – that we’ve highly modified. My dog is an integral part of nature, and being with her helps me experience the forest in a more natural and wild state. I go where I wouldn’t otherwise go, I see what I wouldn’t otherwise see, and I feel what I wouldn’t otherwise feel. As author Geraldine Brooks writes: “You see things differently when you walk with dogs, so they are my guides to the natural world.”This is what inspires me, and others, to sustain and enhance opportunities – from playing fetch in an OLA to hiking in the forest.
Thanks Kreg for sharing.
See you all Sunday!