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Rachel, a chocolate Labrador retriever, jumps off the agility ramp at Wiggly Field as owner Tony Durango of Peru watches. Peru’s dog park has several new features including the ramp and a watering station.
Australian shepherds Farrell, Dillinger and Frost had the run of Wiggly Field dog park in Peru.
They greeted new arrivals while Rocky, a 7-year-old black Lab, was focused more on the red ball thrown by owner, Jolene Piascyk of Peru. The Australian shepherds’ owner, Paulette Ux of La Salle, said the park keeps her dogs happy.
“It’s nice,” she said.
The dog park is nicer than it’s been thanks to Ux, Piascyk and the city of Peru. The two women attended many Park and Recreation Board meetings the past year and lobbied for improvements. The city stepped up.
Now the dog park has an agility ramp, watering station, waste bags and receptacles, freshly-painted benches and a double-gate entrance. Lights are available until 10 p.m. A red fire hydrant completes the picture.
“We had nothing here but a fence and a couple of benches,” Piascyk said.
The next feature that needs to be added is shade, Piascyk and Ux said. The city planted some tree seedlings but they didn’t survive the mower, they said.
The park is attracting more dogs and owners. Piascyk counted 17 dogs one day, she said. Meko, a gregarious 5-month-old golden retriever, arrived with owner Heather Proksa and her daughter, Sonia, of Peru.
“We come here a lot, at least four times a week,” Proksa said. “I enjoy watching all the dogs. It makes me laugh. It’s a nice, peaceful place to be and lets Meko work out his energy.”
The dog’s rambunctious cheer didn’t sit well with Frost but they worked it out.
“Meko has come a long way around other dogs with his social skills,” Proksa said.
The double-gate entrance is convenient for owners and secure for dogs. It allows owners to first enter a fenced enclosure and unleash their dog without being contacted by other dogs. Once ready, owner and dog enter the grounds.
Happy, a 7-year-old Dandie Dinmont terrier, arrived with owner Carol Witkowski of Mendota. She’s been visiting the Peru dog park for about six years even though it’s a 15-mile drive.
“It’s so nice to have a dog park,” Witkowski said. “I just brought him down here to get some social life.”
Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_Peru.
La Salle has a park, too Mickey’s Meadows is a 2.5-acre dog park in La Salle’s Rotary Park. Take U.S. 6 and turn left on East Fifth Road (Troy Grove Blacktop). Traveling north, look for the park to the east (left).
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