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Sunnyside dog group releases book, captures journey to opening local dog run and civic pride

Rick Duro, on opening day of new dog run

Rick Duro, on opening day of new dog run

Oct. 12, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

A piece of Sunnyside history has been immortalized in print.

The Sunnyside United Dog Society, a local advocacy and dog-owner group, released a book for sale on Amazon last week detailing its founding and influence on the community.

“It’s basically a snapshot in time of a neighborhood and it shows you what community activism can do,” said Rick Duro, a founding member of SUDS. “It’s a celebration of all things canine and a celebration of all things Sunnyside.”

Over the years, SUDS has grown to include over 500 members, but it began in late 2001, with several local dog owners coming together in Lou Lodati Park to let their dogs run around together, and foster a sense of community in the wake of the attacks on September 11.

The group began advocating for a dog run in the park, which was very run down, according to Duro, and 10 years later saw their vision become a reality. It also has grown in to a charitable group, frequently hosting fundraisers and events to help local animals and their owners.

Duro explained that when the group first began meeting in the park, it was a “disaster area,” but that while advocating for the dog run, SUDS put together a plan to reinvigorate the entire park, for dog owners and non-dog owners alike. “The book details how we got to this point,” Duro said.

Prior to park revamp

Prior to revamp, men often urinating in park

The book came about as a fundraising idea, while the organization was thinking of ways to raise money for its latest effort—buying trauma kits for police dogs.

SUDS member Jeanette Remak, a professional writer, suggested the book and got the ball rolling in May. “When thinking about our group I thought,  we need to tell the story of what goes on here, can you think what this might mean to another community trying to do the same thing?” Remak said.

The founders of SUDS

Some of the founders of SUDS

Duro helped her put together material for the book, digging in to his extensive archive of photographs from the first 15 years of SUDS. Members of the group submitted stories and memories, and Remak edited all of the material together.

Claire Louise Williams, a graphic designer and SUDS member, offered to design the book, eventually leading to a 146-page, 8-by-10-inch coffee table book.

The book has sections devoted to the history and activism of SUDS, as well as nearly 70 biographies of local dogs. There are also pieces devoted to those very involved with the group, such as Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who helped them advocate for the dog run.

“We are very community minded, and the book is a dedication and highlight to that, and we wanted people to know you can do this in your own community, and it doesn’t take a lot of money, just a lot of hard work,” Remak said. “And if you read the stories they are funny, touching, so sad, so beautiful, so heartfelt, it’s hard for me to even verbalize it.”

SUDS will likely have the book for sale in several local shops in the coming months. To order a copy now or learn more about the book, visit https://www.amazon.com/S-U-D-S-Dogs-brought-Community-together/dp/1533679932/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475847652&sr=1-4&keywords=jeannette%20remak.

The completion of Lou Lodati Park

The completion of Lou Lodati Park

email the author: news@queenspost.com

39 Comments

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Terri

Actually studies show that people who own dogs are happier// healthier aND more social.

Additionally neighborhoods that have a nearby dog park increase the real estate value.

Just saying!

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Lauren

This park is wonderful. And the people who don’t pick up after their dogs on the street are not the same people who utilize the dog park.
I’m disappointed in how much anger there is over a dog park post. I understand people have different opinions, but if we were all forced to speak face to face instead of hiding behind a computer screen, we would all be a little kinder with our words. So let’s try that!

Reply
JOR

A neighborhood success story! The SUDS dog park proposal was knocked down several times, but Rick and his crew kept at it. If for no other reason, this accomplishment should be celebrated.

Reply
Joe

RD:
Do you have a job or is the dog catching business slow these days. Are u monitoring the Sunnyside Post all day?

Reply
Jerry

RD:
I support you 100%. All these idiots do is hide in their basements and criticize. We need more people like you in Sunnyside.

Reply
Sunnysideposthatesme

I don’t let my dog run around that flea infested dog run. It’s disgusting and full of morons who expect their aggressive dogs can play with other dogs. Also, Park was fine for 30+ years before you hipsters decided to “beautify” it. Just cuz a few guys decided to pee there doesn’t mean the park was utter trash before this new change. Everyone there is stroking each other for a job well done for a job that wasn’t needed. Hey…how about some garbage cans around Sunnyside so you know…we got somewhere to throw the dog crap ??

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RD

It’s amazing how you could be so right and so wrong in the span of such a small space! Yes, we absolutely do need more garbage cans in Sunnyside! No, the dog run isn’t filthy, full of fleas, nor dangerous. It’s one of the cleanest and safest you will find. Proof being folks bring their dogs to it from all over Queens and other parts of our city. SUDS was founded by people who have lived here for decades and the park was a mess of broken bottles, giant cracks, turned over trash cans, and people leaving lakes of urine all around the trees. Kids were not really using the park much because of it. Now they are. I see it everyday. Watch them play baseball. It absolutely needed to be upgraded. Less typing and more work. If keyboard warriors, like you, utilized their time to help their community, instead of going off on their whiny little rants….think of how much better it would actually be!

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Angela

My subscription to The National Enquirer I think I’ll read it. Will I get a subscription to Dog Illustrated also.

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El loco

Are you kidding me? Did you totally run out of stories? Unless dogs can buy the book I bet it will sell 6 copies all to Rick Duro and his family. These people need to get lives! What’s the next book about Squirrels!

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RD

Didn’t take long for the trolls to wake up from their mom’s basement! Put down Call of Duty and experience life! How come u didn’t use your Patricia Dorfman pseudonym this time? Less typing and more work to make your community a better place.

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Anonymous

Hey Ricky:

You can’t handle any criticism. Get a tougher skin. Have fun with your dog! I read Call of Duty already. Maybe you and your dog fiends should be more respectful to our serviceman and read something other than a dog book.

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RD

We actually have servicemen at the park with their dogs. A few true guide dogs as well. Anything else? I can take all the constructive criticism you have, after all, a lot of that happened in the process of getting that project to happen. Nonsensical arguments from clueless folks, well, that’s another story!

Reply
RD

Well, pick up a basketball, volleyball, baseball or a football and enjoy a revitalized park that we helped make happen. Everyone wins, loco.

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Who are the sheeple in your neighborhood?

I disagree. I don’t have a dog but it’s nice owners have someplace to let the critters run around. The park looks nicer and there are fewer drunks/pissers.

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RD

Oh, el loco….still typing w/o a clue…..you see kids playing in that park that weren’t using it in the pre-dog run days…..why is that? Our plan was never to just build a run, but to fix the park for non dog owners too. Grab a glove, a bat, a volleyball, basketball and enjoy it. Work out something else, besides the 2 fingers you use to type.

Phyllie Conroy

And what have you done for your community lately? I am one of those dog owners and I bet I have a happier life than you. I KNOW my dog has a happier life than you. If you have nothing better to do with your time, why don’t you go clean your house El Cockroach.

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mq

Great! maybe now the dog owners will stop letting their dogs shit in the public park where people want to sit and play with their kids.

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doyourpart

and the parents in the park will clean up after their spawn! ever see that playground at the end of the day? Looks like a trash can was emptied all over it by a spinning Tasmanian devil.

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Phyllie Conroy

You should be more concerned about the humans who shit and piss in the park. I’ve seen them do it and they didn’t pick it up with a plastic bag and put it in the garbage either. Then there’s the shit filled diapers that have been left on those benches you are so fond of sitting on. Before the dog run we used to take our dogs to the park where we ran junkies out of the corners of the park, and moved drunks on who slept on the park bench you sit on!

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El loco

The name of the book is The Dogs that brought a community together Are you kidding? Yeh, people are hugging in the streets of Sunnyside over these dogs.

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El loco

I’m out there now Ricky and I do t see anyone coming together over dogs. However, I did see dog poop in front of my holding this morning.

RD

el loco, you must live in an alternate reality. Every day people come together in Sunnyside, with their dogs being the main reason for it. Sorry you had dog poop in front of your building, we try to make a difference by encouraging folks to pick up, but, in a city of 8+ million people there are always going to be a few aholes. Now that we know you are out and about in the ‘hood, how about you do less typing and volunteer in Sunnyside! make a difference, instead of trolling and whining about everything.

GOP is done, paul ryan is a weak weak man

how come jimmys foldup podium is like 1/3 the size of this guy who announcing a dog run?

Reply
Northsider

CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS – sorry, but you’re too late. Cats rule.

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