Town dedicates Geary Dog Park

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On Friday, the Town of Farmville dedicated the Dr. Erica Geary Dog Park at First and North Virginia streets in Farmville.

Despite the dreary weather, supporters of the dog park, members of the Farmville community and their four-legged friends were in attendance to celebrate the life of the late Dr. Erica Geary and the formal unveiling of the new sign for the park.

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Geary — a veterinarian at Ridge Animal Hospital — died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on April 3, 2015. The 26-year-old was driving home to Maryland at the time of the accident to see her family for Easter.

Janet and Paul Geary, Erica’s parents, Dr. Mark French, a veterinarian at Ridge Animal Hospital, and members of the dog park committee and town council unveiled the sign, commemorating and honoring Geary’s work and officially opening the park to the public.

“I had an opportunity to meet Erica when she took care of my cat at Ridge Animal Hospital,” said Farmville Town Manager Gerald Spates. “I was impressed with her because of her caring attitude and compassion for the animals, as well as ourselves. I know Erica is sorely missed by her family and friends, as well as her co-workers.”

Spates said the town council was approached in July 2014 with the idea of building a dog park in town.

He said the new park allows dogs to exercise and encourages responsible pet ownership. The park also provides the dogs an opportunity to socialize and promote community, health and safety.

A committee consisting of council members Thomas Pairet, Dan Dwyer and J.J. “Jamie” Davis and Spates was formed to put the project in motion.

French agreed to commit $10,000 if plans for the dog park were carried out, according to Spates.

“We had a public hearing with over 50 people attending supporting this project,” Spates said. “It was after Erica’s tragic accident on Good Friday 2015 that the idea of dedicating the dog park to her came up. Even though she was only in Farmville a short time, her caring and sweet disposition made an impact on all of us.”

Spates said he hoped the dedication of the dog park would honor her memory and ease the loss felt by Erica’s parents.

“This is a really great day in Farmville,” French said. “For so long, many of these pets that we have here in town, the only exercise they received was on the end of a leash.”

Coming from a small town in Kentucky, French said he had never seen a dog park until he saw the one in Farmville. “It’s a foreign concept to me and I really had no idea what a great thing it could be,” he said.

French said Geary came to Ridge Animal Clinic with the idea of honing her skills in order to one day perform missions work in Mongolia.

“Erica is not with us here today, but I would [say] that Erica’s spirit is here today,” French said. He said all the good that Geary had done would live on in Farmville through the dog park.