A new “doggie stick library” in Patterson Park is giving Baltimore pups something to bark about as they collect, share, and play with canine-kind’s oldest toy.
Dogs of Charm City, a Baltimore business that sells pet toys and accessories as well as training and care services, approached the Friends of Patterson Park with the idea to create the library.
“Between DOCC’s mission to make Baltimore the most dog-friendly city possible through pet care, events and community initiatives, and FPP’s mission to ensure the park’s vitality as a treasured green space and encourage its use and appreciation by neighbors, it was only fitting that dogs were able to have their own library right next to the human book-filled ‘Little Free Library,’” said Dogs of Charm City General Manager Alexa Cambi.
Cambi said Patterson Park is the “unofficial office” for Dogs of Charm City, and they wanted to “celebrate the simple joys this park brings our Baltimore furry friends.”
Sticks and branches of varying sizes rest on pegs attached to a lavender and turquoise-painted wooden board. The board, labeled the “Doggie Stick Library” in bright red lettering and, is located at the Patterson Park entrance near the intersection of Eastern and South Ellwood avenues.
Dogs can take a stick or leave a stick, just as long as they are in good condition for safe play, Cambi said.
“Whether a human (even without a dog) sees a great stick they want to add or you need to ask your dog to give up his or her prized stick until the next park visit, new sticks of all sizes are welcomed,” she said. “The library’s sticks are to be up-kept and up-cycled by Baltimore park goers and all that we kindly ask is that people refrain from adding any dangerous, sharp or frayed sticks.”
“Dogs and their owners do not have to necessarily return the same stick to the library, but are encouraged to keep it plenished with safe, dog worthy sticks to upkeep its overall library purposes,” Cambi added.
So far, the library has been a hit with park-visiting pooches.
Heather Yost said her 2-year-old charcoal lab Reign Boh has used the stick library “a few times” since it was built.
“She always likes to grab the biggest stick and try to walk home with it,” Yost said.
“I think it’s really cute. I was really entertained the first time I saw it, although now my dog wants to walk up to it every single time we walk here,” Yost laughed.
Monique Moss said her 2-year-old dog Moose – who is a mix of various breeds including Australian shepherd, beagle, and “a lot of stuff” – is a big fan of sticks
“He loves sticks,” Moss said. “When we walk down the path, he always stops and breaks them.”
Mariah Althouse said her 4-year-old mutt Jojo is often enthralled with watching local wildlife, but the pup has been known to play with sticks on occasion.
“She’s more interested in squirrels right now, but occasionally she’ll grab a stick.”
Althouse said it is nice to have a spot in the park where dogs and their owners can find sticks to play with.
“Usually we go out on the field and sometimes there’s not sticks,” Althouse said. “So it’s kind of nice that it’s right here.”
While the library is intended for sticks, Cambi said they “know and accept that the occasional tennis ball might join the party.”
Althouse said she would like the park to add more pet waste stations, with waste disposal bags for visitors who forget to bring their own.
“Maybe some more of the poop bag stations, the trash cans. That would probably be nice in case you forget a poop bag,” she said.
The stick library does not currently have a designated station with pet waste disposal bags, but Cambi said they hope to create one in the future.
Dogs of Charm City staff will mainly be responsible for managing the stick library, with the help of volunteers from Friends of Patterson Park, Cambi said.