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In to the Woods!

Last week I paid tribute to Nantucket businesses in town who are kind enough to provide fresh water for dogs outside their store. This week I would like to sing the praises of a hard working man who you may not know by name, but if you are a visitor to the Disc Golf Course in the State Forest, you have certainly benefited from his handy work.

Let’s hear it for Dave, the groundskeeper, who you may have seen buzzing around on his golf cart or Bobcat tractor.

We first started going to the State Forest this winter and discovered it is a great place to enjoy for both humans and dogs. If my mom and I are feeling particularly ambitious we start at the first fairway and jog the entire 18-hole course. Or sometimes we just wander through will no specific direction. With all the tall pine trees it is a great place to escape the sweltering hot midday sun. My mom has taught me some agility tricks using the log benches at the start of every fairway.

Once we became regular visitors, we began frequently running into Dave on his rounds. It wasn’t long before we were on the first name basis. We often see him weed-wacking the brush from around the log benches and sign posts. He mows the sparse grass growing along the fairways, which keeps the poison ivy at bay and clears fallen branches.

I remember bumping into Dave after that crazy blizzard that we had in March. Boy, did he have his work cut out for him. About fifty large pine trees came down in that storm and Dave and with the help of a local landscaper spent days cutting the massive trees into pieces and removing them from the course. 

But it seems that was just another day in the forest for Dave. Nothing seems to phase him. If a group of my friends and I go running over and interrupt his work to say hi, he always has a smile on his face and patiently waits for my mom to catch up to us and shoo us on our way. What a guy!

If you haven’t been to the State Forest yet, let me fill you in on a couple unwritten rules. First, if you have to “go” try to veer of the walking area and use the brush. Or if you can’t make it to the bushes, make sure your your mom/dad/guardian cleans up after you. No doggie bags or garbage cans are provided at the forest, so plan ahead.

Second, you’ll notice groups of people tossing small, colorful Frisbee-like objects. These are NOT dog toys and they are NOT being thrown for YOU. It’s a game the humans play where they toss these discs and try to reach the basket at the end of each fairway. 

Third, beware of poison ivy. While us dogs aren’t effected by it, our human friends can develop itchy rashes, similar to hot spots for us. If you spent a lot of time running through the brush encourage your mom/dad/guardian to wipe you down before heading home. My mom and I keep baby wipes in the car so we can do it before we even leave the forest.

Finally, the State Forest is a mixed gathering spot with both dog- and non-dog people. So be considerate. Don’t go running up to a group of people focused on their game. They may not be interested in saying hi to you. However if they smile and clap their hands beaconing you over, fair game! Have at it!

And if you see Dave, thank him for keeping the forest in ship shape.

Marty is voiced by Janet Forest a full time pet sitter on Nantucket.