Dog run, Ronan Park, Dorchester
Dog run, Ronan Park, Dorchester

Project Spotlight: Ro Dog Run

In 2008, the Friends of Ronan Park asked COGdesign for help creating a 6,000 square foot dog run in Ronan Park, Dorchester. Ronan Park is located in a low-to-middle-income area, and residents are

white, Asian, Latino, African-American, Cape Verdean, and Haitian. Many children, families, elderly, exercise and sports groups use the park for recreation as well as dog walkers.

There were several design challenges. The design needed to include a double-gated entry to prevent dogs from getting out accidentally, and an undersurface drainage system to avoid run-off onto neighboring properties. Dogs would quickly destroy grass, so the design required some other “paw-friendly” surface that would suit both large and small dogs that would provide drainage and be easy to keep clean. Shrubs and other plantings wouldn’t survive long inside the dog fence either, yet the area needed a distinctive, attractive border.

COGdesign volunteer Charlotte Fleetwood designed tall kite-like metal supports with fabric stretched across them as shade structures, and she placed large stones in arrangements to provide seating and conversation areas for owners. Together, the kites and stones give the space a distinctive, attractive, dog-safe design. The surface of small pebbles stays clean—and a doggie water fountain refreshes dogs after a hard romp.

Charlotte saw her design as providing an outdoor room—a gathering place—for dogs and their owners. “Dogs get people outside,” she says. “A place like this becomes a treat for dogs, and a treat for their owners.”

The dog run opened in 2010. This perennially-popular dog park was tied for second place in the 2014 Curbed Boston Top Dog Park contest.

Ronan Park Dog Run Ribbon Cutting/ Isabel Leon
Ronan Park Dog Run Ribbon Cutting/ Isabel Leon



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New Friends of the Playground Walter Griffin Playground Sharon, MA 02067
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Robbins Farm Park Robbins Farm Park 61 Eastern Ave Arlington, MA 02476
RoDugRun Ronan Park Boston, MA 02122
Ronan Park Ronan Park Boston, MA 02122