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WAG Farms gets top-dog improvements

Volunteers finished the upper half of the stairs at WAG Farms June 23. Courtesy of WAG Farms Dog Park 1 / 6
Gardy stands by the fire hydrant decorating a cement pad covering an old well area. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 6
The stairs were built across two Saturdays by volunteers. Courtesy of WAG Farms Dog Park 3 / 6
Hatch, next to his owner Ellen Edwards, goes through the new obstacle course at WAG Farms Dog Park. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia 4 / 6
The Girl Scouts and the city helped provide the new obstacle equipment at WAG Farms. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia 5 / 6
One WAG Farms user has been bringing around 50 gallons of water to the park every week so dogs can drink. Running water will be added in the coming weeks. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia 6 / 6

COTTAGE GROVE — Improvements benefitting both two-legged and four-legged visitors to WAG Farms Dog Park are due to be complete this summer.

Since the park opened in 2011, WAG Farms presidents Ellen Edwards and Dick Swanson said the most-requested improvements have been stairs, running water and possibly a paved parking lot. This summer, two of the three are finally becoming a reality.

The community helped raise $20,000 over the past year through fundraisers and grants to add the stairs and running water to the park. The grant also helped purchase four pieces of obstacle equipment for dogs to play on.

Volunteers worked two Saturdays in a row to build 36 stairs down the steep hill in the middle of the park's half-mile loop.

"Our user group is very active," Edwards said. "We're able to do improvements because of that."

The steps will help with erosion on the hill, as well as accessibility and safety for users.

Swanson said it was important to them to build the stairs from wood; even though they're manmade, they fit the natural atmosphere of the park with its woods, trees, ponds and on occasion, other wildlife.

Water will also be run to the park this summer. Rumpca Services will connect the water line from the fire station on 95th Street and Jamaica Avenue, about a third of a mile away, to provide running water.

The fountain will be placed near the entrance of the park, and the fence will likely have to be altered to accommodate it.

Currently, pet owners have to bring their own water to the park. One user brings around 50 gallons of water to the park every week for owners to use.

Edwards and Swanson said they are also selling and adding tribute bricks to go around the fountain, much like the ones in the garden area of the park.

Bricks can be ordered through July 15 at www.bricksrus.com/order/wagfarms.

A 4-by-4 brick is $75 and a 4-by-8 brick is $150.

Tribute bricks will make the place more special for those at the dog park, where everything has been donated or created by volunteers.

"We're like a family," Swanson said.

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