In Islington and Barnsbury, we are extremely lucky to have multiple garden areas and green spaces that the whole community can enjoy together, with every space offering something unique to each of us - there are tree houses, children’s play areas, wildlife & nature trails, and dog utility courses, etc - something for everyone!
Behind the scenes, each of these garden spaces is run by a dedicated team of volunteers and community members that spend hours each week maintaining these spaces to ensure they are as welcoming and tidy as we see them every day.
As fellow community members, IADL appreciates the hard work and effort that these volunteers put in each week and therefore we wanted to raise awareness of how the rest of us can help them out by continuing to treat these spaces with respect.
As dog walkers, we appreciate that non-dog owners enjoy using these spaces as much as we do… and dog mess can be off-putting for all of us! IADL has a “pack poo understanding” where we try to only let our dogs off in the park if they have already been to the toilet - and if they haven’t, we keep a close eye to ensure we spot and clear up any park poos!
We at IADL are mindful of the dogs that we take into each park, particularly the smaller/enclosed spaces, as there are many different people that like to enjoy these areas - including the elderly and very young, along with students from The Bridge Integrated Learning Space that may require a bit of distance from our pack. We try to be vigilant and aware of other park users, and if necessary we will pop our dogs back on the lead for a time out or training session, or go to a different park altogether. We hope that everyone can approach us or the park volunteers and communicate any issues that need addressing, as we are all a part of the community together!
Our community volunteers spend a huge amount of time maintaining the wildlife areas and plants in these spaces, and whilst a lot of dogs like to sniff around, play fetch and chase after squirrels, this can, unfortunately, be very damaging to the plants and cost the team more time and effort to save them. Please be mindful that the volunteers have deliberately built fence areas around some of the plants in these parks to keep the wildlife happy and dog away.
IADL has been part of the Islington community now for 8 years, and we take great pride in the amazing friendships and relationships we have made with the volunteers and other dog owners & lovers in the area. Since the pandemic, there has been a rise in puppies and new dogs in the area, and unfortunately, all London boroughs have seen parks at or over capacity due to the lack of “dog only” spaces. This is something we are really hopeful that the council will take into consideration in the future so we can all benefit from these areas and give everyone the space they need!
As we tend to have multiple dogs with us (no more than 4 at one time) when we are using the parks, we can, unfortunately, be targeted by other park users as the cause of some of these problems. At IADL, we are fully knowledgable of the different needs of each dog in our pack, and make sure they benefit from the time they spend with us. We utilise all the parks in the area, as not all of our dogs/breeds are suited to playing in small or enclosed spaces - and not all of them are suited to the bigger/open dog parks. We try to manage this on a daily basis by carefully grouping our packs based on their needs, and which areas they are best suited to.
Since working through the pandemic, this changed the whole structure of our business at IADL. Due to health and safety reasons we no longer have as much access to the facilities at clients' homes, therefore we rely on Thornhill Road Gardens for drinking water access for both us and our dogs, which unfortunately the majority of the other park spaces in the area do not have.
All members of IADL (human and dog!) are so proud to be a part of this community and we are looking forward to continuing to help the volunteers/our friends maintain the Islington community spaces for years to come.