Senior residents’ pups to get fenced area thanks to nonprofit

Harold Batcheller and his dog Buddy. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

In a small corner behind a senior community in Northeast Salem, residents are preparing for a new addition – a fenced dog area.

On Saturday, Fences for Fido, a Portland nonprofit organization that builds fences for free, is putting up a small chain link fence area for the handful of small resident dogs at Providence Place.

The idea started when Nancy Sargent told fellow resident Judy Banks about the nonprofit. Banks has a black and tan Dachshund mix named Penny.  

Sargent said the dogs just wanted to run around and play, but they can’t be off leash in the building and leashes got tangled when they played outside.

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Outside, cars driving along Interstate 5 are visible from the building’s entrance.

Providence Place’s property manager, Laura Davis-Vick, contacted Fences for Fido in April at the prompting of Banks. She said it wasn’t something she would have thought about if Banks hadn’t come to her.

“I, of course, was just ecstatic to hear this was going to come about,” Davis-Vick said.

She said the area where residents typically take their dogs out is on the far end of the building, a long walk for residents with mobility issues.

After this weekend, residents will be able to walk right out the back door.

Davis-Vick said she’s planning to put a park bench inside the fenced area so residents can watch the dogs play.

Carol Bartlett, Harold Batcheller and Judy Banks with their dogs Hannah, Buddy and Penny.

Michelle Blake with Fences for Fido, said the nonprofit usually builds fences in residential backyards, knocking on the doors of people who have their dogs living on a chain.

“Before Fences for Fido, everyone knew of a dog they would walk by every day that was chained and they felt horrible about it,” Blake said. “This really empowers people. It changes communities and neighborhoods.”

The northeast Salem project strays from the nonprofit’s mission because none of the dogs are living on a chain, but Blake went to the board and they loved that it would help another nonprofit.

“The most beneficial part to this one is just knowing that we’ve helped seniors and their dogs feel safer,” she said.

Blake said the fence will probably take around two hours to install and cost around $800.

“We try to avoid doing these panel fence for every fence because it is more expensive,” she said. “The beauty of it is that it’s almost an instant fence.”

Blake said the nonprofit averages between 13 and 14 fences per month, stretching from southwest Washington to the Oregon coast.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]