JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars fans won't just see “cats” in the stadium for Thursday's preseason opener against New Orleans.
TIAA Bank Field will also welcome 20 dogs into the Pet Paradise Park above the South End Zone.
“This is the first NFL in-stadium dog park,” Pet Paradise CEO Fernando Acosta-Rua said. “To get in you have to be prequalified and it’s by reservation, so you’re not just walking in (with your pet).”
The preregistered dogs will enter through Gate 1, where a Pet Paradise employee will meet them and their owners for a personal escort to the park, which features a large artificial turf play area, a bone-shaped swimming pool and palm trees.
Acosta-Rua said pet owners wishing to treat their dog to a day at Pet Paradise Park have a few ways to put their paws in the ring:
- Enter to win the Pet Paradise Top Dog sweepstakes, now open online at www.jaguars.com/petparadise. Each week, 10 lucky canine winners will be selected to enter the park. Their families will also win two tickets to the game. Of those 10 winners, the Jaguars will feature one grand prize winner on the videoboards on game day and on the Jaguars’ social channels.
- Visit jaxhumane.org/bid to bid on one of five game day pet packages for every Jaguars home game, which includes two game tickets, one parking pass and access for one dog to Pet Paradise Park. All proceeds will benefit pets waiting for forever homes at the Jacksonville Humane Society.
- Become a Jaguars season ticket member and get an extra chance to win. All season ticket members can complete the form at www.jaguars.com/petparadise. An additional five season ticket members will be selected for each home game to bring their dog to the stadium.
All selected dogs must visit a Pet Paradise location to preregister during a free Get-Acquainted Day, where Pet Paradise will ensure winning dogs’ vaccinations are current, the dog is compatible with other dogs and suited for play in the stadium dog park. If vaccinations are not current, a Pet Paradise veterinarian can administer needed vaccinations during the dog’s visit for an additional fee.
Acosta-Rua hopes to expand to accommodate 30 dogs during the regular season.
Acosta-Rua said owners can drop off their dogs at the park to be watched by Pet Paradise employees, or they can hang out with their pups and enjoy the view.
“We want it to be exciting for the fans and exciting for the pets,” Acosta-Rua said, adding that there are no breed or size restrictions for the park.
But no cats allowed -- except the ones on the field, of course.