Back in July 2012, Responsible Urbanites For Fido (RUFF) began with a group of 12 people and has since grown to 229 North End dog owners.
From a grass roots volunteer concerned residents, RUFF is currently raising funds and holds charity status.
“The first year has truly been a learning experience for us,” Amy Hand said. “From what dog owners and non-dog owners concerns were and what we could realistically accomplish was a struggle.”
RUFF which has consistently conducted many North End clean-up projects was recently presented a “Good Neighbor” Award by the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association for their outstanding commitment to the neighborhood.
Co-existing in the neighborhood is RUFF’s top priority and the group has focused heavily on community relationships.
They have tried to integrate with various other groups by participating in any and all community events when given the opportunity and have made great efforts with certain problem areas.
RUFF has placed signs, assigned patrols and reiterates the message of not using baseball fields for dogs in its monthly news letter.
The group has mounted a continuous effort in keeping the Paul Revere Mall (Prado) clean from dog waste, trash, to scrubbing the columns at the entrance of the Mall that leads to and from the Old North Church.
RUFF has also placed signage and keeps dog bags stocked in tubes in the Mall as well.
Boston Shines has worked with the neighborhood group to create a Richmond Street dog run by completely overhauling the area.
Reportedly, dog owners are thrilled to have a place to take their pets and have taken great care of the park.
Going into year two, RUFF has made some changes but vows to continue its core principles. RUFF plans to continue to educate dog owners of their duties and responsibilities as residents.
The group continues to place dog bag dispensers in various areas and maintains them on a regular basis.
RUFF hopes to have a Blessing of the Animals this October combined with licensing and vaccinations available through Boston Animal Control.
The group plans to have children events with the North End Library regarding an educational program on how to deal with dogs on a friendly basis.
They will also participate in the annual North End Halloween Parade with their pets dressed in costumes.
RUFF’s long term goal is focused on creating a legitimate, legal dog park in the North End.
With all the new developments being discussed and planned, RUFF strongly thinks a dog park should be a major part of that discussion.
They have approached the Greenway with ideas and will continue to work with them on events and the idea of having a dog park somewhere within the Greenway space.
“We realize that there is still an issue with irresponsible dog owners,” Hand said. “However, we hope the neighborhood has seen improvements through RUFF’s efforts.”