Park Before The Dogs


Old Original Mission Statement:
To establish a fenced in, off leash dog park where well-behaved canine citizens and their persons can exercise in a clean, safe, environment without endangering or annoying other humans, property, or wildlife. To develop a beautiful, well-maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the park’s posted rules and restrictions. To view this park as a community asset designed to satisfy the needs of dog owners and non-dog owner alike.

Founders of the Dog Park




New 2018 Mission Statement:

Where New 2018 Mission Will Take Us -
We the Shepard Dog Park Group, Inc. believe our park is a vital community asset that must be well maintained and operated. Our focus is to educate people about safe behavior around dogs. To keep an open line of communication with the Rhinelander Parks Department, we share a commitment to enhance the dog park experience in this safe, beautiful setting with private funding and donations. Our park is a volunteer based non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.


The History of the Rhinelander Dog Park

As Remembered by Tina Werres 2020


The idea of a dog park in Rhinelander took birth in the early 2000’s. After 9/11 many of us were examining the meaning and value of our lives and what we contributed to the world around us. In doing just that, several of us dog lovers came together to develop the idea of a dog park in Rhinelander…………This was the beginning.

After several different starts over time, interest was still there but energy was waning. It was not happening fast enough for many people. There were lots of roadblocks and false starts. At some point it became clear to me that I personally was going to dedicate my life energy to accomplish this project, no matter how long it would take. It became a meaningful contribution that I wanted to make to my community and for all the dogs that I had ever loved.

The intended contribution was to build an “off leash” dog park for the Rhinelander dog community. I knew there was a need and I knew people wanted it. Someone just needed to pursue and accomplish this goal. Myself, and a couple of loyal believers began.

Ten years….. Several name changes….. Different people getting involved then losing hope……. But moving forward was our continued direction. We placed eighty-five collection jars around the community……We explored sixteen possible locations for the park……..We went before the city council multiple times presenting them with a petition of over 800 signatures that we collected………We pursued and received great media
exposure which gained wonderful community support…….We had done everything possible to move this project forward……… Yet still we waited!

In 2016 an anonymous angel donor appeared with a generous $10,000.00 donation. This really added strength to the effort and financial credibility to the project. October 2016 we took our good news to the city Parks Committee to announce our good news. At that same meeting another local pet friendly business Dr. Foster’s Smith Pet Supply Company stepped forward with finances to help complete the fencing part of the project. These two major donors provided the financial backing that allowed us to accomplish what we had worked ten years toward…….. The dog Park was going to finally be a reality!

We now had everything needed to move forward. We narrowed our location search to two city parks: Pioneer or Shepherd Park. The city and the dog park group agreed upon Shepherd Park and the “Dr.’s Foster Smith Dog Park” became a reality. In August of 2017 we hosted a very Grand Opening with hundreds of people and hundreds of dogs in attendance. Every amenity and every other need of the park has been met by individuals of the community donating. Seating Benches, Drinking Fountain, Bulletin board Kiosk, Plumbing, Landscaping, Parking bumpers and gravel, what ever we needed the community came willingly forward.

The park now plays a major role in what the community has to offer to our pet friendly citizens. Its name has since been changed to the “SHEPARD DOG PARK”. It is a shining star of the parks our city has to offer, ALL of which help make Rhinelander a welcoming community to visit & live in!

Our Task completed.…Our goal attained…..A job well done……
Many Thanks to all who participated & donated & helped!! It was a True community effort to be proud of………”SEE YOU AT THE DOG PARK”
Please Donate To Help Keep Our Beautiful Park Looking Its Best!

We are solely funded by your donations. Please make checks payable to:

Shepard Dog Park Group, Inc.

and mail to:

Shepard Dog Park Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 1411
Rhinelander, WI 54501


We are a 501 (C) (3) non-profit corporation. Check with your accountant to see if your
donation is tax deductible.
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