A Man & His Dog

A Man and His Dog

Learn more about the park and the dedication by reading this article from the May 16th, St. Clair Shores Sentinel: “A Man and His Dog”:

The city's popular dog park has a new name. Surrounding the east and south ends of Herman Brys Park on Harper Avenue is 53,842 square feet of fenced-in space now fondly dubbed Statler-Maloof Bark Park. Named after local resident and well-known businessman Fred Maloof and his 12-year-old dog Statler, the name Statler Maloof Bark Park will become official during a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. May 19.

"He's been such a supporter of Parks and Recreation and the city … this is our thanks to him," said Parks and Recreation Director Greg Esler. Maloof, 86, admits he had been pushing city officials for more than 10 years for the park, and was simply happy to see his hard work, and the hard work of the city and supportive community members, finally come to fruition. "The dogs need a place to play," he said.

Maloof said he is both flattered and ecstatic about the honor. "When I was told that they were naming the park after us, I didn't know what to say," said Maloof. "I was surprised." Maloof, always a lover of dogs, met Statler before he retired from Maloof Jewelry and Gifts, located on Harper Avenue. Maloof recalls that it was a regular customer who had come into the successful local jewelry store with a very young Labrador pup and pretty much forced it into Maloof's arms. "I didn't want the dog, and I told him that," Maloof said. "Don't get me wrong. I love dogs; I would always stop and pet other peoples' dogs, but I never owned one, not even as a child."

Maloof eventually sheltered the dog with a plan in mind to donate it to a local organization that trains seeing-eye dogs. However, dogs have to reach a certain age before they can begin training. Maloof would have to keep the still-nameless young pup for several months. He knew this would pose a problem. "I knew I wouldn't be able to keep him for a time and then give him up," Maloof said. Maloof said he and Statler - as the male pup came to be named - formed a very close bond and have been almost inseparable since. "Now we're both senior citizens," said Maloof, who named Statler after the street on which they live. "Pretty soon, he'll be older than I am." Nonetheless, they will both be enjoying their park. Of the 10 parks in St. Clair Shores, Brys was the perfect spot for the local dog park, which is open to both residents and nonresidents. Brys was chosen specifically because it was already a public park, and the general tranquility of the area - nestled off of Harper just north of Eight Mile - meant safety for the people and their canine companions, and little disruption to surrounding residents.

Since the Brys Park dog park opened on Nov. 4, it has gone through numerous alterations.

Including Maloof's donation toward the park, the amount of which is being kept secret, the city has raised roughly $15,000, Esler said. The money has funded the erection of a permanent fence and waste bins. Esler said picnic tables and small overhead rain shelters have been donated. The park was also recently divided into two areas, a larger area for large dogs, and a small play area for "wee doggies," as the sign there says.

In addition, a larger Statler Maloof Bark Park sign will be placed on the front entrance of the park in time for the dedication.

And plenty of people will be seeing it this spring and summer, he said.

"We have more than 325 dog passes sold," said Esler. "It's just getting crazy." Twelve-month dog park passes are still being sold for $20 for St. Clair Shores residents and $30 for non-residents.

Maloof and Statler will both be present during the dedication ceremony.
"I feel great; I feel honored that we have it now," Maloof said. "This has got to be one of the best there is. Whatever we've got to do, we've got to make that happen." C & G Newspapers 2007