Dogs need a place to socialize, too

To the Editor:

My husband and I are long-time Darien residents (more than 38 years) as well as owners of a Boston terrier. I attribute much of our good health to our dog, Lucy, and our daily walks at Cherry Lawn Park. Going to Cherry Lawn is the highlight of our day because not only does it give us, but also our dog, a chance to exercise and the opportunity to meet and socialize with others.

We have met so many nice people and their pets. We have met service dogs that visit nursing homes and hospitals that come to the park as a reward after a "hard day at work." We have met people that have dogs that were saved from kill shelters or rescued from negligent homes that come to give their dog a chance to play with others. We have met senior citizens who come to watch the dogs play and to catch up with friends. These dogs and owners deserve a place to play and socialize. It's a socialized dog that is a friendly and well-adjusted dog.

I believe we can find a way for everyone to enjoy the use of Cherry Lawn Park without having a law that mandates we keep our dogs on a leash. Especially a park that is, according to my journal, empty most of the time. This is a park that is supported by all taxpayers and it should and must be fair to all taxpayers.

Frances Sessa

Darien

The babies are coming

To the Editor:

Now is the time for spring babies. All kinds of birds and mammals are busy building nests for their families to be.

If you find a baby bird or squirrel, try the reuniting strategy. It often works and the baby is much better off being raised by its natural mother than by you or me. Take a shoe box or smaller sized box of some sort and line it with leaves, grasses, even a smooth towel or rag. Wedge it up high into the tree you think the baby fell from, or one nearby, and nail it into the bark if you think that is necessary.

The babies will call and the moms will hear and come get them.

If you find a baby bunny or a nest of baby bunnies, leave them where they are! The mom often leaves the nest for the day to forage and to distract predators from her nest. If you think the babies have been abandoned, try the "X" trick. Lay two pieces of yarn over the nest to form an "X." On your next visit, you'll likely see the "X" shape rearranged which means the mom has come back and gone again and has not abandoned her nest.

Please don't drop off animals at the Darien Nature Center when it is not open. These early spring temperatures can be fatal to young animals.

For questions, please call the center at 203-655-7459

Ioa Byrne, Naturalist

Nina Miller,

Wildlife Rehabilitator

Darien Nature Center

A leash law with

license to run

To the Editor:

Cherry Lawn Park is a tremendous community resource in Darien. For many hours a day, the 27.5 acres of land is filled with children running on the playground and playing sports. As a mother of two young boys, I value it immensely.

There are also hours when there are no children in the park. I exercise my dog at Cherry Lawn at 8:30 a.m. most weekday mornings, when there is not a child in sight. There are, however, many men and women exercising with their dogs. Even on cold winter mornings.

I was therefore deeply disappointed two weeks ago, when I attended a Parks & Rec. meeting and learned of a proposal to make Cherry Lawn a place where dogs must be on-leash at all times. Why would Parks & Rec. exclude the largest park, one with ample parking and wide, level paths especially appreciated by seniors who use the park with their dogs? Does this proposal represent our community?

I welcome a leash law for our town. I agree that dogs can be unpredictable and should not be off-leash when children are at play. I advocate a compromise that would allow specific hours, after sunrise and before sunset, when the park is generally empty, to exercise dogs off-leash.

I suggest we look to Westport as a model. Westport's Winslow Park provides a large, open green area at the north end for dogs to exercise off-leash. Westport also opens Compo Beach to dogs off-leash between Oct. 1 and March 31. This is a compromise that addresses both safety and responsible park usage.

Allowing dogs off-leash at Cherry Lawn only in the early morning and evenings hours accomplishes two things: First, it avoids dogs coming into contact with children or others whom they may disturb; second, it limits the number of dogs in the park to a small community of conscientious citizens who pick up after their dogs and encourage those around them to do the same. Most important, it allows a variety of people in our community, young and old, to share the park.

I hope that Cherry Lawn will remain a park for all, a place where children can play safely and dogs can get the exercise they need, off-leash, at designated hours of the day. This will require those who represent our interests and govern our town to embrace a compromise, which is not a perfect solution, but one that can satisfy a great number of park users.

Amy Sarbinowski

Darien

YWCA asks for Women of Distinction nominations

To the Editor:

Who has inspired you? Do you know a woman who has worked to transform or improve her community? Who has gone against conventional thinking to create positive change?

She might be your neighbor, friend, mentor, wife or mother. She might be a coworker, a volunteer, a woman who demonstrates leadership in her business, school, community organization or government.

We invite you to nominate her as a YWCA Darien/Norwalk Woman of Distinction or Young Woman of Distinction.

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk will accept nominations until Monday, March 14. Nomination forms are available at our web site, www.ywcadariennorwalk.org. Women selected will be honored at the YWCA Darien/Norwalk's second annual Women of Distinction Awards & Luncheon at the Country Club of Darien on June 9.

These awards are a wonderful opportunity to honor local women who have demonstrated exceptional qualities and made significant contributions to our community. We look forward to receiving your nominations.

Nancy Coughlin

Interim Executive Director

YWCA Darien/Norwalk

Nominate a

`woman of distinction'

To the Editor:

I attended last year's YWCA Women of Distinction luncheon because I thought the concept was interesting and I knew a couple of the women being honored. I left the luncheon energized and inspired that the YW orchestrated an event that recognized the contributions and achievements of women.

There are women in our community who are out there every day making a difference in business, in education, in the arts. Their efforts have made an impact and may just inspire and empower the next generation of women.

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is now looking for nominations for this year's Women of Distinction. Please consider making a nomination. Why would I nominate someone? Because I have two daughters and I want them to see that women make a difference.

Dawn M. Crouch

Darien

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