Unlike Major League Baseball, the National Football League isn’t considered the most pet-friendly of professional sports associations. But there’s one NFL team that’s embracing Fido like no other. Ironically, it’s mascot is a big cat. The NFL’s first dog park is midway through its second season at TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it’s been a touchdown since game one! The pristine Pet Paradise Park welcomes dogs to stay and play while their owners enjoy the game.
The Jaguars have always been at the forefront of groundbreaking design. Their 2013 stadium renovation included swimming pools and poolside cabanas. Setting up the perfect dog park was yet another example of the team’s mission to make game days a true family experience. In order to pull off the perfect spot for Spot, the Jags enlisted the help of experts. Pet Paradise, a pet care provider offering boarding, day camp, grooming and veterinary services throughout the south, jumped at the chance to help design the park.
Football for All
We spoke to Michelle Guglielmo Gilliam, a spokesperson for Pet Paradise, to find out how the plan came about.
“Both parties wanted to bring an innovative idea into the football stadium that accommodates the whole family, including pets,” she explained.
The immaculate dog park spans 2,000 square feet and features a large artificial turf area big enough for furry fans to reenact their favorite pooch punt from the game. It’s also equipped with a bone-shaped swimming pool and shady palm trees for relief from the beating Florida sun.
Located in the south end zone of TIAA Bank Field, fans are welcome to stop by and see the main event, the cute pups! Keep one eye on the mutts and another on the field from the viewing area on the patio.
Four-legged visitors aren't the only ones to benefit from the park. The Points for Pets program donates $3 from each home field goal to help homeless pets in northeast Florida. So far, Pet Paradise Park has raised over $50,000 for local charities.
Only well-behaved, sociable canines can become members of the exclusive Pet Paradise Park. Those interested in membership need to submit their pet's information here. Selected pups will visit a separate location for a free get-acquainted day. This is to ensure your dog's vaccinations are current, and that she’s compatible with other furry friends and suited for play in the stadium dog park. Game-day walkups are not permitted.
If you’re lucky enough to gain access to the park, you might even run into some recognizable faces. “Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo often brings his dog to Pet Paradise Park,” Michelle said.