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Boy and his dog inspire Rocklin City Council

Garrett Ruslin wants businesses to be canine friendly
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Eleven-year-old Garrett Ruslin has fallen in love with Leah, his family’s two-year-old, six pound Chihuahua. “I think she is really funny and cute,” Garrett said. Now Garrett wants to spread the love around town. During last week’s city council meeting, he presented some ideas on how to make Rocklin more dog-friendly. His ideas evolved after vacationing in Carmel. “Every store had a bowl of water and dog biscuits for any dog that could use a drink or snack,” Garrett told the council in a written statement. “If the stores in Rocklin would consider being dog-friendly it might help their business and the economy in Rocklin. It could also encourage dog owners to license their dogs.” Right now, just over 1,500 dogs are licensed in a city of 56,109 people, according to the city’s website. “I know that some dogs aren’t that polite, but either are some people and they are allowed in stores,” Garrett said. Garrett is hoping the council will enact a proclamation “Love Your Dog in Rocklin Day” to coincide with the opening of Rocklin’s first dog park later this summer at Lone Tree community park. Garrett, the son of city council member Diana Ruslin, said he came up with the idea on his own and knew his mom’s support would only go so far. “She only has one vote,” Garrett said. “Ever since I told her about it she said it was a great idea.” Garrett wanted to get a majority of support from the council with two more, “ayes.” He didn’t have to wait long. “It’s something worth doing,” Council member Peter Hill said. Council member Scott Yuill, a Rocklin business owner, said he would support the idea. “I want to also be clear, though, that this it isn’t something that would be forcing businesses to be dog-friendly. That is clearly up to businesses to be dog-friendly if they care to be,” Yuill said. “I think it would be a very appropriate, symbolic way to open the dog park.” Garrett received support from Rocklin resident Mike Chinnock, handler of a poodle service dog named Captain Morgan, who told the council he supports businesses being dog-friendly. “(Captain Morgan) just wanted me to come up and say he thinks this a wonderful idea to have treats in all the stores,” Chinnock said. Construction, paid for by community donations to the organization Rocklin Residents Unite for Fido, is expected to start soon. RRUFF president Vicki Bottini Curtis thanked Garrett for what she called his insight, maturity and effort in helping Rocklin be a dog-friendly city. “On behalf of RRUFF, we will support him 100-percent so that it will be low or no cost to everybody,” Bottini said. Garrett is now expected to work with the city’s Parks and Recreation staff to help craft the proclamation and is ready to lobby the council again to get the proclamation approved. “All of them seemed to like the idea a lot,” Garrett said. “I’m going to try and practice (my speech) more.”