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Cassidy Webb

Rescuing Memories: Chris Landers’ Journey with Oakland Park’s Bark Park Equipment


A small piece of Oakland Park’s history made its way back to its creator, Chris Landers, the woman behind the engineering of Oakland Bark’s previous dog agility equipment. After serving Oakland Park’s furry residents for over two decades, the Bark Park equipment has been replaced with new structures, marking the end of an era. But two special pieces, a profile of a small dog and a large dog, have been reunited with Chris.

Landers, the creative mind behind the beloved Bark Park equipment, designed these play structures years ago while working at a playground manufacturing company. Her inspiration stemmed from the agility equipment used in dog competitions, but she aimed for higher quality and durability. “My dog was my muse,” Landers recalls, referring to his beloved Foster, who passed away in 2006 at the remarkable age of 17.

Harley was a miniature pinscher | Photo: Chris Landers
Inside of original brochure | Photo: Chris Landers

How Chris Got Started with Creating Bark Park Equipment

Chris fell into creating agility equipment for dogs unintentionally. 25 years ago, she was working for a company that made playground equipment and her colleagues’ children had the pleasure of playing on their equipment and being featured in photos for the next year’s catalog.

Chris didn’t have kids, but her dog, Foster, was really special to her. Inspired by Foster, a dog that he rescued from the side of the road when she was a puppy, Chris decided to create a playground set for dogs so Foster could be included in the fun. She recalls his relationship with his dog, “Foster was one of the smartest beings I’ve ever known. She loved to play and jump.”

Chris and the company donated that first set of equipment to the City of Fort Lauderdale when they were building the dog park at Snyder Park, but she was honored to discover that Oakland Park’s furry residents had the ability to enjoy her agility equipment, too.

A Surprising and Sentimental Reunion

Surprisingly, Chris didn’t actually know that Oakland Park had purchased a set of equipment from her company almost 20 years ago. It wasn’t until she moved back to Oakland Park and she and her dogs visited the dog park that she realized her equipment was there. “It was a really proud moment for me to see something I created to honor my dog (she passed away in 2006 at the age of 17) in my hometown,” Chris says.

Recently, however, the City of Oakland Park revamped Oakland Bark with new agility equipment. When Chris found out the City was going to remove and replace it, she got in touch with Steven from the Parks Department who salvaged two of the set’s most sentimental pieces and returned them to Chris.

Chris and Steven

Chris describes the heartfelt reunion, “Every time I went to the dog park and saw the equipment I saw my dog, and to keep them is a great feeling. It was humbling that people in the City cared enough to actually follow through with my request for the pieces – and they did it without damaging the pieces at all! It was very special, and I really appreciate them.”

The first piece, a silhouette of a dog that was located in the small dog area at Oakland Bark, is an outline of Foster as a puppy. The second, which found its home for many years in the large dog area of the park, is an outline of Foster as an adult. Now that both pieces have been returned to Chris, she is planning on placing them on her fence line and installing a shelf for birds to feed on.

Zoey was a rescue dog that Landers adopted when she was an older adult dog. She passed in 2019.

The Lasting Legacy of Chris Landers' Bark Park Equipment

Chris explains that agility equipment is an excellent stimulus for dogs. “Many dogs get stuck in a house or apartment for many hours a day, but when owners take them to the dog park they can run free, jump over obstacles, and run up things…it [agility equipment] is a really great way to keep dogs stimulated and happy.”

Chris now works in the pool industry for Lucas Lagoons drawing engineering plans for their projects, but her work in dog park equipment has not gone unnoticed. For her contributions to the Snyder Park dog park, she has a plaque in the shape of a bone from the City thanking her for his part in donating and installing the equipment.

Not only that, but the equipment Chris designed that was used by Oakland Bark lasted nearly two decades and was enjoyed by many of the area’s four-legged residents and visitors alike. She is proud of how long her equipment lasted, and she is also proud of the City for getting new equipment. She commends the City for taking care of the dogs by keeping the equipment updated, clean, and safe for everyone to play.


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