2018-10-11 / Front Page

Humane Society dog park dedicated to deceased pet lovers

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com


The Lile Memorial Dog Park has been dedicated to the Lile family. Photos provided. The Lile Memorial Dog Park has been dedicated to the Lile family. Photos provided. BURTON — A local “pet person” recently had a dog park dedicated to her parents at the Humane Society of Genesee County.

“She wanted something that would be a permanent memorial to her parents, who were also avid animal lovers,” said Terry Ashley, event and volunteer coordinator for the Humane Society of Genesee County.

“At the dedication she was with the dogs,” Ashley added. “We had a couple dogs in the pond. She was calling to them and playing with them and she enjoyed seeing all her friends there in her honor. She had no children, never married. She had her parents.”

At the Paws on Parade event, a local landscape designer presented a virtual tour of the dog park before it existed, which Ashley said got people excited about the park. The silent auction at the event, along with a generous donation from Muriel Lile money raised $45,000 for the park.


Muriel Lile, a lifelong Genesee County resident and pet lover, made a generous donation to the Humane Society’s new dog park. Muriel Lile, a lifelong Genesee County resident and pet lover, made a generous donation to the Humane Society’s new dog park. The park has walking trails, a pond for swimming, a gazebo for volunteer/humane education/ staff events and dog agility equipment. The dogs are on long leashes when at the park currently.

According to Ashley, keeping shelter dogs healthy enhances the dogs’ social skills, makes them more adoptable, makes them live longer, makes them more energetic and able to be lifelong partners for their new families.

The donor, Lile, 88, was born in Flint and has resided in the same home for 86 years.

As an only child, Lile always loved animals as companions. Her first dog, Tippy, was a Christmas gift from her parents. The black cocker spaniel was her best friend throughout her elementary school years until his death due to illness during her junior high days. In addition to Tippy, Muriel was madly in love with an Alaskan malamute named Snukey. He was Muriel's adult "bestie" for more than a dozen years. Her current companion is Hopie, a green parakeet.

Lile’s support for the Humane Society and other such organizations traces back to her days as a young girl. Her mom's brother, Douglas Culmer, started one of the first animal shelters in Genesee County in the 1930s. Lile also often brought home injured animals to nurse back to health or dead ones to bury in the backyard.

The idea of creating a dog park was two-fold for Lile. One, it was a way to honor her parents, Percy and Eleanor Lile, who were "the best parents a child could ever hope to have," according to Muriel Lile.

Two, it was a way to give back to the local community that she loves and has never left.

Plus, it is intended to help the dogs have fun and be able to exercise.

Ashley said having the park there makes coming to work more enjoyable.

“We know this is just the dogs’ interim home while they’re guests on their way to the next home,” she said. “It makes all the staff happy to know the dogs are getting the very best care they can get while they’re here.”

Donations to the dog park are being accepted. A bench, expansion to the parks’ garden, picnic tables, shade trees, a fountain for the pond, a dog watering station, more agility equipment and a wild bird area are desired. Details: 810-275-0432.

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