While us humans use libraries to borrow books, dogs in Saskatchewan, Canada are visiting their local library “branch” to take and return sticks. David Carter and his 10-year-old son Jeremiah created the “Stick Library” for their 2-year-old Goldendoodle named Nala and the other dogs in their neighborhood.
Despite it being an ingenious addition to their local dog park, this Stick Library isn't the only one of its kind in the world. In 2019, New Zealand craftsman Andrew Taylor also made a hand-built Stick Library for the dogs in his local park. Carter came across the idea on social media, and decided to create his own version. He worked with his son to come up with the perfect design: a simple wooden crate that's big enough to hold lots of sticks. He recalls, “We had to have a discussion about the kind of dimensions it should be, so it was the right length for the sticks that most dogs like and we had to make it sturdy enough so that it would stand up to being in the dog park.”
Using some leftover lumber, Carter taught his son how to make their design a reality. They got to work using a variety of tools, and Jeremiah even used a wood burner to engrave signage on the wood. “We came up with the idea of calling each of the dog parks a ‘branch’ of the library which made us giggle a little bit,” Carter says. “Then [Jeremiah] put the lettering on and we put it together.”
There are currently two branches open in Saskatchewan, but the father-son duo are already planning on opening more. They are even considering crafting a more advanced library, with hooks for lost and found items and a section for balls.
Of course, the best part about the community project is watching the dogs’ reaction. Carter says. “It’s been really exciting to see dogs running right over and grabbing a stick.” But unlike human libraries, there are no strict return policies. “We’re dealing with dogs here, so the rules are pretty slack,” says Carter. “We don’t have an overdue policy or anything like that. We hope people will put the sticks back.”
Check out Carter and Jeremiah’s stick library below.