Below is the text of my letter published in the Times Free Press last year. The petition drive has ended, but my wish for dog friendlier park, bridge and trail lives on.
November 12, 2008
Dear Times Free Press,
Business meetings downtown went well for me today, so I took a celebratory stroll across the Walnut Street Bridge to admire our riverfront city in its autumnal splendor. It was a rare event for this newly transplanted, North Chattanoogan who walks daily for health and inspiration, because most of those excursions include a dog.
How ironic that the public art on the bridge’s southern end would be a bronze tribute to our best friend. The sign prohibiting pets from crossing is an afterthought, no doubt the result of irresponsible owners who failed to clean up after their dogs. The ban seems extreme, given the opportunity here to educate the public and to extend the welcome to all who would like to use the pedestrian bridge and city parks and trails.
Please join me in signing the petition that Ruth Holmberg, Rick and Julie Brackett, Stephen Dreskin and Vanessa Taylor have written and will submit to the city council. Copies may be found at humane societies, boarding kennels and other pet friendly businesses. Let’s make Chattanooga a city for everyone, including the family dog.