Morro Bay Pups Board of Directors
From Left (seated): Anita Ayoob, Mary Stallard (President), Cynthia Logan (Secretary).
Top Left: Elaine Giannini (Treasurer), and Lisa Ellman
The Jody Giannini Family Dog Park (JGFDP) opened in January 2010, the product of a dedicated group of dog lovers who devoted uncountable hours, over a period of nearly 10 years to make their dream of a fenced, off leash dog park in Morro Bay a reality.
The story began in 1995 when Virginia Hanigan and Jane Von Koehe took their dogs to play together in the mornings at Del Mar Park. Gradually, they were joined by other dog lovers and calling themselves “The Del Mar Doggies Social Club” (DMDSC) the ever-growing group moved to the Del Mar School grounds after school was dismissed in the late afternoons. However, when the school administrators asked the group to move back to the public park it gladly did so. The DMDSC found that the area west of the basketball/rink area was out of the way, and most suitable for off leash dog play. Karen Robert, a dog loving participant of our group and member of the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Commission, obtained a yearly permit for us to use this area. Unfortunately, sometime later, when city officials raised questions regarding liability and withdrew their permit, we were forced to find another way to be with our dogs. It was then, in 2006, that Morro Bay Pups was formed as a non-profit organization, with a board of directors and plans were made to create a fenced, off-leash dog park for Morro Bay. We were, at that time, incredibly fortunate to be joined by a recently retired attorney, Steve Eckis, who was city attorney for the city of Poway. It was with his brains, experience and gentlemanly tact that we were able to find our way through the lengthy legal maze that faced us. He liaised with the city officials and took us through the permitting process which led the City of Morro Bay to donate a beautiful, under-utilized part of Del Mar Park.
Over the years, Morro Bay Pups held many fundraising activities, but a major fund-raising campaign was initiated in 2008. Board member, Naida Simpson, produced an effective, widely distributed brochure. Coast Veterinary Clinic agreed to be our honorary co-chairs and we were off and running. Elaine Giannini and her wonderful family made the donation that earned them the right to name the park in honor of Elaine’s brother, Jody, who was a wonderful friend to all animals. Our other major donors were Nancy Mellen, Jack E. Robinson, Morro Bay Beautiful, Virginia Hanigan and Bob Ransom, Duane and Seta Stephens, Carla Borchard, Jean Code, Sally & Bob Young and Cynthia Chavez. There also were many other wonderful donors whose generous contributions made the park possible.
After a successful fundraising campaign, Morro Bay Pups had a much-awaited ground-breaking ceremony followed about a year later by the Grand Opening of the “Jody Giannini Family Dog Park.” Visit us and you’ll agree with Morro Bay Pups that this beautiful park is one of the best in the country.