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Cottage Grove dog park opens

Meka (left) and Capone run ahead of their owners in the background. Without leashes, dogs are free to run in the dog park. The dogs are wet from rolling in some water in the large dog area of the park. Andrew Opp said he plans to wash Meka off with a garden hose at home. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner1 / 4
Dr. Sonja Wiersma, veterinarian at Park Grove Pet Hospital, greets Murphy at the dog park. Wiersma and vet technician Heidi Olivier gave treats to dogs during the park opening. They also clipped dog nails free of charge. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner2 / 4
Barbara Portillos not only enjoyed taking her dog to the new off-leash park but enjoyed playing with Lacy Dee, a dog she doesn't own. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner3 / 4
Red ribbons on a gate marks the opening of WAG Farms off-leash dog park on Saturday, July 9. This set of gates leads to the large dog portion of the park where two dogs are getting to know each other. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner4 / 4

It was hard to tell who was having the most fun at the opening of the WAG Farms Dog Park in Cottage Grove on Saturday morning. Dogs were meeting each other and owners were socializing with other people who love their dogs.

All the dogs were "smiling," said Kathy Michalowski.

It's very nice to have a dog park so close to home where dogs can run without leashes, said Cottage Grove resident Andrew Opp. He plans to bring Meka to the park at least once a week.

"It's good exercise for humans, too," he said.

Brian Adsit will be bringing his dog Milton to the park frequently, including walks during the winter.

"I just heard about it today," said Dennis Watters who usually takes his dog to Battle Creek Park on weekends. "I'll definitely come here during the week."

Dick Swanson and Ellen Edwards are co-chairs of the WAG Farm project that raised $14,000 in donations to fence the dog park, after the city negotiated the donation of 14 acres of land by the Glendenning family for the park.

The park, located behind the Jamaica Avenue fire station, west of Highway 61 and on the same road as the compost site, is now completely fenced and divided between areas for small dogs and large ones.

The fundraising isn't over, said Swanson and Edwards.

In a month there will be a donation box inside the park, Swanson said. Money is needed for park maintenance. More benches will also be installed and a park shelter is planned.

"It's for dog owners, too," Swanson said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600