Before Montrose Dog Beach was permanently recognized by the City, and before there was even a fence, Sheri Rush and her Golden Retriever, Max, were regular visitors to the nascent Dog-Friendly Area.
“I adopted this massive, energetic Golden, and I knew he needed a place to run. Like most people, I had no backyard, but I was fortunate to have Montrose Dog Beach close by,” Sheri says.
Through her frequent trips with Max, Sheri met most of the original board members of MonDog. “I went to the beach with the intention of being alone with my dog, but I realized that was a luxury afforded to me only because of all the work the board had done. I decided I wanted to help, and as tends to happen in high-turnover volunteer positions, I was promoted – or left with – the title of Fundraising Co-chair, then Chair.”
While recalling the early days of the beach, Sheri reaches down to pet Max and Ryley, a Golden-mix she rescued so Max would have a companion. The two senior-pups may not be as quick as they once were, but their eyes still shine with life and love.
“The Park District installed the fence, but it was actually up to us to raise the money. I was out there all summer with Max and our donations jar. The trouble is that the dog beach is owned by both everyone and no one, so fundraising was tough.”
But Sheri is tougher. Over a decade later, Sheri still serves on the MonDog board. Now that her boys are older she doesn’t make it to the beach as often, but she still takes just as much pride in working to preserve the area for everyone.
“We’ve done our best to build the place, but I think it’s more important than ever that we build the community. From helping educate people about dog-park etiquette to encouraging participation in community events, we can really make the beach better than ever.”
Sheri smiles and gives her boys some more affection.
“It’s not about one person or one dog. Montrose Dog Beach is a shared legacy for all of us. I feel fortunate to be a caretaker of such an amazing place, and I encourage others to join me. The work isn’t always easy, but when you see your dog running on the beach you know it’s worthwhile.”
If you would like to help support MonDog’s mission to keep Montrose Dog Beach clean, safe and welcoming to all, please consider donating to the organization or joining in for MonDog’s Earth Day Cleanup.
This blog post is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT. On a weekly basis, we’re posting stories that highlight the moments of love and kindness we discover through experiences with our fellow humans and dogs. We’re starting with stories centered around our beloved Montrose Dog Beach and will expand worldwide.