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Oakdale’s East Side dog park celebrates grand opening
Karen and Randy Basi proudly hold the ribbon as it’s cut by visionaries Michelle Thomasser, left, and Jennifer Stasio at the grand opening of Rudy’s Bark Park. Also pictured are four-legged family members Barbie and Rudy, the golden retriever. Photo Courtesy Of Bri Swan

Jennifer Stasio is smiling a little brighter and it has much to do with the community of Oakdale and her trusted dog Jack. Stasio, along with friend and work colleague Michelle Thomasser, corralled the help of the City of Oakdale and the Central Valley Association of Realtors (CVAR) to create what is now known as Rudy’s Bark Park.

Located on South Maag Avenue, just north of Oakdale Junior High School, the park was officially opened on Friday, May 17.

“It feels fantastic,” Stasio shared, following the official ribbon cutting. “To see the community come together for this project, because it takes a village. Especially all the Realtors, once we got everybody involved through CVAR.”

The dog lover explained that she was first inspired to launch an East Side dog park in Oakdale during the pandemic in 2020. Standing in the very spot where dogs may now play regularly, Stasio and Jack were out for some fresh air and a little bit of play time.

“We had no idea it would take this long,” Stasio admitted of the four-year journey. “We were thinking we had nothing else to do, so let’s just work on this.”

With help and guidance from City Manager Bryan Whitemyer and the City of Oakdale early on and using the non-profit status of CVAR, the team could get to work on fundraising. There was just one problem; the pandemic had fundraising efforts largely on hold.

As time went on various fundraisers were hosted as well as grants gifted. Stasio shared her gratitude for the giving of the community, adding that while the park is officially open, they are still collecting donations to offset some additional expenses.

So, what about the name? That would be given to the Top Dog donor, which was Karen and Randy Basi, who named the park in honor of their golden retriever Rudy.

“The Basi’s donated “top dog,” so they got to name the park,” Stasio said, “which we are super grateful for them as well. You know everybody pitched in. It’s hard to name everybody, because there were just so many people.”

The park founder said initially she had thought how nice it would be to bring the town together. She simply desired a park that people could walk to, since people walk their dogs on that side of town as well. The other local dog park is along Crane Road, on the western edge of the city.

“As a Realtor, it’s just quality of life,” Stasio, the Realtor said. “The more we can have people outside and together, healthy, walking their dogs. It’s just really amazing that we could get it all done.”

Shortly after the grand opening on Friday, Stasio officially returned with Jack.

“It’s going to be used and I know people will utilize it,” she added of the park.

With the ribbon cutting and celebration completed, Stasio had a little time to take it all in.

“I have this warm feeling in my heart about all of it,” she said following the opening of the park. “I think it’s going to be more than people just taking their dogs to the park. It could be a location for events too.”

Community members interested in making additional contributions to Rudy’s Bark Park may do so by calling or e-mailing Stasio at or 408-444-1131 or Thomasser at or 209-914-6166.

Members of the Central Valley Association of Realtors were all smiles at the official opening of Rudy’s Bark Park on Friday, May 17 along South Maag Avenue. Photo Contributed