Field of dogs part 2

We have a guest blogger today!

The fantastically talented Chrystal Cleary, a Grafton-based illustrator — seriously, Chrystal is worth a post of her own, you NEED to look at her animal logos — was kind enough to share some of her photos from years of dog walking at the Farm Field at Tufts’ Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine.

Settle in for some doggy love and pay attention — there’s a mystery involved that totally needs to be investigated further.

Chrystal notes that Tufts reached out to the “dog people” after concerns about animal waste in the field were raised. Both she and Dean Kochevar, who I interviewed this week about the biosafety lab (I bumped that story to next Sunday’s paper, so no link this week), noted that more people turned out to talk about the use of the Farm Field than for all the biosafety meetings!

“In the end, we agreed upon an at-your-own risk/responsibility use policy, don’t ask/don’t tell on leashes, absolutely pick up after your dog  (I mean, seriously, Tufts GIVES us baggies AND strategically placed cans- you GOTTA pick up! no excuses),” Chrystal writes. “Keep off when the farm equipment is operating. Tufts began an e-list to notify us all of field closings for cross country mets, the foxhunt, mowings and (much appreciated!!) fertilizings and pesticidings. It’s good to know before you get there and see Rover rolling in it that you should have skipped the Field!

“These dogs are of interest, because the yellow lab belongs to two of the passengers in the balloon the day you took pics, the black and white dog is Selectman Brook Padgett’s dog, and the brindle (striped) dog is mine- Reilly is her name.

“OH! and since you are writing about Tufts so much lately, you might head around the back of the administration building and check this out. Go down the steps and its to the left of the little not-quite-a gazebo thing, right in the corner, against the woods. It is not maintained, and perhaps the plants aren’t there anymore, but there must be a story there and I have always wondered….before the BioSafety Lab there was…”

(Me, last night, sitting in my pajamas reading Chrystal’s email: “Cooooool!”)

“Another thing we all agreed on was to refer to it as the Farm Field, as opposed to the Dog Field, which we all were calling it. (I personally am trying to call it Tufts Field)”

“Even the Dog People agree that we need to discourage the dog-park aspect (that its FOR dogs, when its actually FOR crops and dogs are just allowed the privilege of walking there as long as we are responsible about cleaning up and controlling our dogs) and rejected some proposed signage that made it seem less farmy and more dog-parky.”

“Tufts also produced a six lecture series on various topics of interest to dog owners. Just living in Town, you never really knew before that we have as Neighbors experts in ticks, dog behavior and so forth right here, and they are accessible via these forums”

“The whole key was to open the dialogue, and now Tufts seems more like its our neighbor, our own College in Town. It always seemed aloof before as a Community presence, and even as we walked around the Field, it felt secure because ‘everyone else is doing it’ but you sort of wondered if Old Man Tufts was going to come out with his lantern and shake his shovel at us to clear off his land, and maybe we weren’t really supposed to be there.”

And, finally, here’s a sneak preview of what we’re going to see in a couple months:

Chrystal, thank you so much for sharing your photos and commentary! I’m extremely intrigued by the “V84 Hat Memorial Poisonous Plants Garden” and hope to find out what the heck that means (besides “don’t let your dogs eat the plants around there”).

And I know I mention it in the “About” section, but I would love to open the blog up to anyone’s photos and stories about Grafton. I can only write about what I see with my own eyes — but what are you seeing?

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