by Megan Waldrep
First published in Carpinteria Magazine, Winter 2020
What defines a “dog person” anyway? “To me, the biggest part of being a ‘dog person’ is allowing yourself to be their person, Danielle Bordenave, local business owner and co-chair of Carpinteria Dog Owners Group (C-DOG) said. “I am Otis’s person, and he is my dog. I honestly did not realize how much of a dog person I was until Otis entered my life.”
Though active in the Carpinteria community, Danielle’s hometown is hard to define. As an Air Force brat, she collected stamps on her passport long before her sixth birthday. Luckily, the family settled in Illinois, giving her the rare opportunity for a military kid to grow up in one town from first to twelfth grade. Her adult life progressed in the Midwest, until eight years ago when her Carpinteria love story began – while visiting with family at a rented condo near Carpinteria State Beach, it was then she decided her next home would be on the ground on which she stood. She spent the next two and a half years tying up loose ends in Chicago, her home at the time, before making her dreams happen to move to the beach. “I moved here to create my own business focusing on health, wellness, fitness, and physical therapy, which I opened in Carpinteria in 2016 as SPARK45 Fitness and Physical Therapy.” A few years later, she found Otis, and a dog’s life set in.
As Danielle and Otis socialized and became friends with other dogs and dog-owners in town, the wish to find a safe and legal place for dogs to play off-leash became a collective goal. So, when she’s not at her day job teaching up to fifteen fitness classes and treating up to fifty physical therapy and personal training clients a week, Danielle transforms into the co-chair for C-DOG, a volunteer organization whose mission is to, “encourage the establishment of dog parks and open off-leash areas in order to provide safe and secure environments where owners may exercise and train their dogs off-leash.” Not only could a park create a social environment for canines and their owners, but this designated zone for dogs to run free could also be viewed as a healthy boundary for non-dog people, too.
While the group is busy collecting small victories through city council meetings – over fifty dog-owners showed up to advocate the park be put on future agendas and succeeded – C-DOG contributes more than the well-being of happy pups. For example, the group becomes a support network during tragic events, as seen with during Thomas Fire “When one of Otis’s girlfriends, Zoe, lost her home during the first night of the fire, our gathering together was not just about the dog, but also about the human connections between all of us and our puppies.”
If you’d like to run with the pack, visit the website www.c-dog.org. Their tails are wagging, happy to welcome you in.