Jacksonville, FL — It started as an idea that was “a little bit tongue in cheek”, when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pet Paradise were looking at how to partner to give fans a great game day experience.
But both parties soon decided that the potential and impact of bringing a dog park to EverBank Field was no joke.
“The first time it’s ever been done at an NFL stadium,” says Pet Paradise President and CEO Fernando Acosta-Rua.
WOKV first told you Thursday, when the Jags announced a dog park would be coming to the stadium. Now, we're learning more about how exactly that will work.
Acosta-Rua says the plan is for a “mini Pet Paradise”, which includes trained staff, a vet, a pool, and more. The park will have a capacity of around 30 dogs, so if you want to share game day with your four-legged friend, you will need to reach out to Pet Paradise in advance.
Acosta-Rua says they plan to screen each dog ahead of time to make sure they are current on shots, healthy, and good with crowds, noise, fireworks, and other elements of the stadium environment. The screening will be done by Pet Paradise staff, at no charge to the pet owner. Once cleared, you’re welcome to bring your dog by.
“They [dog owners] can either stay around and watch, and watch the game from that level, or they can go down to their seats, watch the game, and then come back up after the game and pick up their pets and leave,” he says.
The bad news for random dog lovers- this is not open for just anyone to come in. For the safety of the dogs, only Pet Paradise employees will be in the park itself. However, Acosta-Rua says the park is going to be easily viewable on the South End Zone fan deck, for everyone to enjoy.
“Anybody up there will be able to watch and be part of that activity, but not be in the activity,” he says.
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It’s still being determined if there will be any fee to use the park, but Acosta-Rua says their main objective at that location is not to make revenue, but to serve the customer- so if there is a charge, it will be minimal. That largely depends on the services they decide to offer at the park, and how those will be packaged.
One package Acosta-Rua says they already know will be available is the “Duval Dog of the Week”. He says every week they will take nominations and open it up to voting. The winning dog and owner will get tickets to the game and VIP treatment, and the dog will even get some time on the video boards in the stadium.
The end goal of both Pet Paradise and the Jags, according to Acosta-Rua, was something innovative and customer centric.
“A really cool experience for Jags fans and for the community in general,” he says.
The park will be open by the first preseason game. The Jags say the attraction will be entirely privately funded.