The River Park Fountain and Memorial Site

fountainAren’t we lucky to have a water fountain for people and dogs at River Park? It’s one of the great features that sets this off-leash area apart from others.

A bit of history… a water fountain first arrived at River Park in 2007 as part of a memorial site dedicated to Cathryn Margetts. Cat was the owner of one of the first known commercial dog walking/sitting services in Calgary. This remarkable woman tragically lost her life when she tried to save animals trapped inside her burning home. Cat’s family and friends organized three benches, trees and the fountain in the middle of River Park as a wonderful tribute to her. It is known as ‘Cat’s Park Within a Park’ and is one of the treasured focal points at River Park, drawing many locals and visitors year round. Please click here to learn more about Cat (includes link to her former  dog business).

The stone fountain was custom-made at the request of Cat’s family and friends. It was a gorgeous, unique park feature that dogs and people enjoyed immensely.  Unfortunately the fountain lasted less than one year. During its first winter it crumbled away from the elements and accumulation of urine from dogs. Candice Lee from the River Park Dogs leadership team reported this sad news to Cat’s family and The City of Calgary.

In 2008 it was replaced with an identical fountain but it quickly showed signs of deterioration as a result of the same reasons. Candice monitored and documented the decline. One day, she found the fountain had been vandalized. A large chunk from the front of the dog bowl was found lying just a few steps away from the fountain. Once again, she contacted Cat’s family to report the additional bad news.

Cat’s family set in motion the steps to find a suitable replacement, and shortly thereafter in 2010, a metal fountain was installed.

The metal fountain has stood up much better than its predecessors but in 2015, after five years, urine has taken its toll on the paint. At some point the access panel will need to be replaced.

How can you help?
Well we can’t do much about the weather. Members of the River Park Dogs leadership team cover the fountain during the winter. You can do your part during fair weather months. Here are some of the great ways to help:

Curb Behaviour
Don’t let your dog pee on the fountain. Often dogs urinate in the bowl and some dogs  lick the surface.

Safety & Consideration
Ensure healthy, pleasant experiences for people and dogs. Urine creates a strong odour and is unhygienic. 

Reduce repair and prevent need for replacement. Urine strips the paint. Currently a large patch of paint on the access panel to the fountain has deteriorated from dog urine. Please note: When a replacement is required, it would be our fourth fountain. We have to be realistic and not assume we can even get one.

Honour this memorial site. It’s the right thing to do.