Sheridan Wilson, 15, of Pequot Lakes, has price quotes, a potential location and the start of funding toward creating a dog park in the city of Pequot Lakes.
She’s passionate about giving people a place to bring their dogs with space to exercise and play with toys.
“It would be nice for residential people to have a place to exercise their dogs, especially for those in apartment buildings,” Wilson said. The dogs get to socialize and the people do, too.
Wilson, a freshman at Pequot Lakes High School, needs to raise just more than $5,000 to pay for the fencing for the park. The city will provide the land, but cannot contribute financially to the project. Wilson has been fundraising throughout the summer, selling dog treats and toys at Market in the Park along the Paul Bunyan Trail, and she sold hot dogs at the Pequot Lakes Pet Parade. So far, she’s raised just under $1,000.
While she’s looking at several locations, Wilson favors putting the dog park at Sibley Park. She thinks the location is ideal because it has water available, a barbecue grill, shelter and playground. Those amenities would allow dog park visitors to make a day of their visit.
Dog parks are a fenced-in area where dogs can be off the leash with other dogs. People can bring toys to play with their dogs, and there’s no charge to use the park.
Wilson is working to build the dog park as a 4-H project. She’s an independent 4-H competitor and shows both her dog, Lunar, and her horse, a paint named Flash.
She also shows Lunar, a Portuguese water dog, at American Kennel Club (AKC) competitions.
Wilson’s father, Wes Wilson, stipulated that if Wilson wanted a dog, she had to purchase the dog, train it and groom it on her own. She’s done all those things, and Lunar has won several awards at AKC competitions.
Wilson takes Lunar to competitions where Lunar is judged by her grooming and appearance. Wilson has trained Lunar to stand in a certain way for judging (called “stacking”) and to take an extra step if she’s not standing correctly.
Lunar is also trained to open her mouth so judges can see her teeth and the roof of her mouth. Wilson said there are many physical aspects that judges look for in a Portuguese water dog, including a dark-colored roof of the mouth.
She shows her dog about once a month, and is working to earn Lunar a certain number of points giving Lunar the title of championship dog.
Once Lunar is a champion by AKC standards, Wilson will breed Lunar with another dog from the breeder in Colorado where she bought Lunar.
Wilson continues fundraising for the dog park. She’ll be back selling goods at festivals this summer and is accepting donations. Anyone can donate by making checks payable to Community Action of Pequot Lakes, Attn: Dog Park or to Merritt Jewelers. Checks can be dropped off at Merritt Jewelers in Pequot Lakes or sent to P.O. Box 491, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.