The town of Natick, FIDO of Natick, and the Kramer family this past Sunday hosted the formal dedication of Eddie’s Park, the dog park on Rte. 135, which was named after the Kramers’ late son. While there was immeasurable grief that went into the creation of this dog park, the June 25 event was one of celebration and community. The attendees were the Kramers’ friends and family and neighbors, as well as people who just enjoy the dog park, here to support them and what they have accomplished to honor their son.
In 2014, Glenn and Allison Kramer’s 18-month-old son Eddie passed away suddenly. They needed an outlet for their own grief and for their loved ones’ support and energy, and they wanted a legacy for Eddie. Then, they heard about FIDO of Natick, a group in town that had been working on creating a dog park, and they decided to get involved.
Dog parks already had a special place in the Kramer family’s hearts. When Glenn and Allison had lived in New York City while they were dating, they often stopped at a dog park on the Upper East Side. They didn’t even have a dog, but they loved watching the dogs play. More than that, Eddie had loved dogs.
The dog park project has been a huge part of the Kramer family’s life since then. They have sat through innumerable meetings; they’ve listened to arguments against the park; their daughters have gotten involved; they’ve had a groundbreaking and a soft opening and a socially distanced opening—and, finally, they had this event.
The dog park will change in one important way from now on. At the event, Glenn Kramer spoke of the sense of fulfillment and reward he felt when the dog park opened and he saw strangers there—people who weren’t there because they knew Glenn or Allison or Eddie, but just because they were grateful for a place to have fun with their dog. But now, visitors to the dog park will know the story behind it. At the event, two of Glenn and Allison’s daughters unveiled a plaque honoring Eddie. The plaque will now be displayed at the dog park.
Throughout the process of creating this dog park, the Kramers have strengthened their appreciation for their community. They met lots of new people through their work with the dog park. After all, many parts of Natick government were involved: the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board, the Select Board, and more. They also have continuously felt the support of their loved ones. To the gathered crowd, Glenn said, “Your love, support, and your grief have been felt…We’ve never felt alone.” His loved ones attended meetings, wrote letters, and donated generously in support of the dog park. When they asked how the dog park was coming along, he knew they were really asking how he and his family were feeling.
Finally, Glenn talked about Eddie—who he was and who he is.
Eddie was a stubborn, opinionated 18-month-old who was destined to become the class clown. He liked running, snacks and deserts, shoes and hats, and dogs.
Eddie is a teacher. “He taught me more than anyone could about life, grief, death, perspective. He taught me that not everyone grieves the same way, and it’s okay to talk about loss with other grievers. He’s forever part of our story…The park is now, forever, a part of our story. It’s Eddie’s legacy,” Glenn said.
To maintain that legacy, FIDO of Natick needs volunteers and donations. Glenn encouraged the gathered crowd—and the residents of Natick—to do their part. “This park, Eddie’s Park, should outlast us, but it’s not gonna happen on its own…It’s up to us to maintain the park and Eddie’s legacy.”