BURTON — Loki was the first dog to step through the gate at the new Burton Dog Park on Saturday.
Once unleashed, the boxer/ Rhodesian Ridgeback mix wasted no time, frolicking in the wide-open space, freely and safely.
“I love watching him hit his stride,” said owner Christine Hart of Flint.
About 25 dogs and their owners attended the dedication ceremony Saturday at Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church.
“We are excited to have a place for dogs and their families to socialize with other dogs,” said Kris Johns, member of the Friends of the Burton Dog Park. “Burton dogs now join the ranks of pups in other communities across Genesee County with dog parks. Our community’s dogs finally have a place of their own to run and play.”
Burton Councilman Greg Fenner credited Johns with doing the yeoman’s work in getting the park up and running.
“He did the footwork,” Fenner said of Johns. “He had the drive and the desire to get this going. He is the most instrumental guy here.”
Fenner also thanked the church for donating the land.
“They opened their hearts and minds and souls to the people and dogs of Burton,” he said.
The park was fully funded through private donations.
Organizations that helped make the park a reality included the Michigan Association of Realtors, which donated the fencing; Operating Engineers Local 324, which paid for the equipment; Good’s Roofing, which provided the work crew to build the park; the Mass Transportation Authority, state Rep. Tim Sneller, state Sen. Jim Ananich, Karen Benthall, the Burton Firefighters Association, Dawn Weir, Burton City Councilwoman Tina Conley, Security Credit Union, Elga Credit Union, Team One Credit Union, Dort Federal Credit Union and Pierson Pet Hospital.
As part of the dedication ceremony, The Rev. Susan Lidums of Our Risen Lord offered individual blessings of the dogs.