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Sweetser creates Pawadise for dogs

Dog park site needs fence before opening

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Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:00 am

SWEETSER — Grant County’s first dog park could be ready to open by this fall.

The town of Sweetser has begun cleaning up brush and shrubs from a 4.5-acre area southwest of Town Hall, 113 N. Main St., and near an old tomato canning factory.

Much work remains before canines could play in the area dubbed “Pawadise,” said Sweetser Switch Park Board President Terry Renbarger.

A fence is the most important element, although a park design hasn’t been finalized. Those involved with the project also hope to have water fountains to quench human and doggie thirst, a shower to clean dogs, nighttime lighting, pet waste disposal receptacles and a memorial area for pets of all stripes and spots, not just dogs.

The fence could cost as little as $1,000 or as much as $8,000, Renbarger said.

Donations for the dog park are being collected at Sweetser Town Hall. The project also has a Facebook page. Anyone interested in helping can call Renbarger on his cell phone at 661-2543.

Jennie Biggs said she and Denise Pearson, a veterinarian at Pipe Creek Animal Clinic, have long discussed the need for a public place for dogs and their owners.

According to Renbarger, the nearest dog park is in Kokomo.

Biggs said not everyone has the luxury of a large yard like she does, which also is outfitted with an electronic signal system to prevent her dogs from wandering into traffic.

“I want a place for all dogs to go and run and be off leash in a guarded and safe place,” she said.

Designs for the park right now include a double gate entrance to give dog owners a chance to unleash and leash their dogs without the risk of the animals escaping out of their owner’s control, Biggs said.

Biggs said she and Pearson also advocate having separate areas for small and large dogs.

Biggs began planning a “Paws to Remember” pet memorial area, too, after losing Lady, her 8-year-old black Labrador. A basketball-size tumor was found in her liver in late May and Biggs had Lady put to sleep instead of watching her beloved companion suffer any longer.

Renbarger is confident Sweetser’s dog park project will succeed.

“So many patrons are out walking their dogs each and every day, we know it will be used a lot,” he said.