Dozens of dogs, and their owners, turned out to a the grand opening of a new dog park on Allen Harbor Road in North Kingstown Monday morning. The park is built in memory of a little girl who lived and breathed animals.
Kayla Ricci was just 12 years old when she died from an aggressive strain of bacterial pneumonia in 2002. Her legacy and love for her furry friends will live on. The foundation in Kayla's name donated the money needed to open the public off-leash park.
"The feelings hard to describe. When you pull up and see your daughters name there on the sign, and then you see all these animals playing and people talking and laughing… it's such an uplifting and positive thing," said Sharon Ricci, Kayla's mother.
Reminders of Kayla can be found throughout the park. There are 3 benches scattered around. Under each one is the name of Kayla's beloved dogs including her basset hound, Clue.
To the dogs it may just be another place to run around, but to the Ricci's it's a place where they can come and remember their beautiful little girl with a big smile.
"If she was here looking down on us right now she would be smiling ear to ear," said Jim Ricci, Kayla's father.