Dog Splash Celebrates Its 5th Year

Dogs and dog owners enjoyed the 2019 “Dog Splash” at the Oskaloosa Edmundson Pool on Sunday afternoon. The money raised helps the dog park with its annual costs.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Do Dogs Smile? No matter the side of the fence you sit on, dogs were smiling today at the 5th Annual Dog Splash to benefit the Oskaloosa Bark Park.

The first Dog Splash was created to help the fledgling dog park with maintenance costs, and that mission remains unchanged today.

The event helps to cover expenses like dog bags and other consumables used by the park over the course of a year. There are also things like some landscaping to help curb some erosion issues as well.

The Oskaloosa Dog Park traces its roots back to 10 years ago when founder RD Keep was putting together his capstone project for his master’s degree.

Keep had no idea he’d be a part of the dog park project ten years later. “Oh gosh no. I had no intention of building a dog park. I wanted an A in a class. But when we got all done, we had all the information, and I was ready to turn it over to the City of Oskaloosa, or the Chamber.

The group he was working with at the time told Keep, “You’ve already made all these contacts, you’ve done all this research, won’t you help us get it built?”

Over time, that initial committee had whittled down to just Keep and one other person. “I said, we’ve either got to build this thing or put the thing away. A couple of people came on board, and the city offered us this location. The next thing I knew, we were on our way.”

The only dog Keep has is a 62 years old stuffed Scottie that his grandparents gave him on his first birthday back in 1957.

Keep had no idea what a dog park was other than hearing of them. After speaking with others, and doing some research on dog parks, and visiting some area dog parks, he’s happy with the park Oskaloosa has today.

“They are a popular venue,” said Keep of the amenity often used by area businesses and the chamber to help attract new people to town. “I think it’s one more tool that they have in the toolbox when they’re showing a prospective employee around town. It’s one more thing that they can look at and say, hey, that’s something I could take advantage of.”

Since Keep doesn’t have a dog, he comes and sits at the Anderson bench at the park and takes in the people and dogs that use the facility. “It amazes me the number of people who come out, and their dogs socialize, they socialize. It becomes a meeting spot.”

Keep talks about one of the people that was in his initial capstone class with him. That classmate was running along the trail one time, and he came up to the bark park, where he observed a guy sitting up here on a bench. He said, “this guy told me, ‘this is such a godsend for me. I can hardly walk anymore, but I can come out here, I can throw this ball, and he [his dog] can get some exercise that I can’t give him otherwise.”

Those kinds of stories tell Keep about the impact the project has had on the community.

You can learn more about the Oskaloosa Bark Park on their Facebook Page –

Posted by on Aug 18 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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