People who enjoy sipping a soda with their sheepdog or busting brewskis with their beagle soon can take advantage of a combination off-leash dog park/bar coming to Colorado Springs.
In fact, they call it a “BARk.”
Fetch Park, scheduled to open in early 2022 off InterQuest Parkway, features an off-leash greenspace comprised of mud-free field turf for pup play as well as a dog-bath area, dog-cooling stations, shaded seating, free WiFi and multiple ultra-bright outdoor TVs.
The park also will feature a refurbished Airstream trailer where human visitors can grab a drink and socialize. Coffee, beer, wine and liquor, and 12 rotating signature cocktails are among the refreshments offered. “We also have house blend drip coffee, espresso, lattes and a custom blend nitro cold brew,” said Stephen Ochs, Fetch Park founder and CEO.
Ochs founded the first Fetch Park in 2018 in Atlanta, with a second location following in Alpharetta. Three additional Georgia locations are currently in the works.
The Colorado Springs location of Fetch Park — its first western location — will host events ranging from live music and stand-up comedy to movie and singles nights (hosted with park partner Bumble).
Ochs’ love of America’s Pastime figured in the park’s design, which resembles an old-school minor-league baseball field with murals, concessions and retro illuminated signage.
Ochs said he conceived the idea to start the park when he went to see Florida State’s football team play in the national championship game in California in 2013. He saw how a family had roped off their tailgate area to let their dogs run. That’s when Ochs decided to create a social hub where humans and dogs could interact and socialize in a safe environment, he said.
“Back then, you had to make decisions between hanging out with friends after work or going to the dog park with your best friend. At the time, I was working in the alcohol industry, and growing up my parents bred dogs, so I had been around dogs my whole life. It seemed my life experiences were pushing me toward this vision,” Ochs said.
However, Och’s initial concept wasn’t an instant hit. He said his plan prompted rejections from 86 banks “due to the uniqueness of the concept.” It took him about five years to bring his idea to fruition.
Joanna Thompson, the investing partner in Colorado Springs, didn’t take quite so long to convince.
“Stephen and I discussed a Fetch expansion to the Springs on one of my many trips to Atlanta. All it took was one visit out here and Stephen knew Fetch would be a perfect fit,” Thompson said in a news release.
Thompson said her sister, who lives in Atlanta, introduced her to Fetch park, which Thompson describes ad “heaven on earth.”
She is, not surprisingly, a dog lover.
“My husky mix, Lilly, loves to go to the park. Soon, she will be able to go to a park with turf and where employees maintain a watchful eye over the playing pups,” she said. “I can feel at ease talking with friends with wine or a cocktail from the bar while the dogs exhaust themselves playing with each other or cooling themselves off in the water tubs.”
Dogs who visit Fetch Park must have up-to-date vaccinations and owners must sign liability waivers stating their dog is friendly and social, Ochs said. Dogs must be at least four months old, free of fleas and ticks, spayed or neutered if eight months of age or older, and must have up-to-date vaccinations to enter the property, per fetchpark.com.
Attendants called BARk Rangers ensure the safety of dogs and owners.
Human visitors to Fetch Park pay no admission. However, dogs require a membership or day pass. Cost for a day pass is $10, with membership options ranging from monthly to a yearly pass.
“We are excited to make Fetch happen in Colorado Springs and can’t wait to introduce everyone to this amazing concept,” Thompson said.