Agility equipment added to dog park
A Fairfield High School senior has installed a dog agility park at the O.B. Nelson Park in Fairfield to earn the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts.
Danielle Garrison is in her 13th and final year of Girl Scouts. To earn her Gold Award, which is the equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle rank, she had to come up with a project.
Garrison is going on to Iowa State College to be a veterinarian and wanted to do her Gold Award involving animals, dogs especially. She has seen the Ottumwa Dog Park and its agility park and knew Fairfield could benefit from an agility park, too. Fairfield had recently opened up its dog park when Garrison had started on her Gold Award.
This past weekend, Garrison’s hard work came to conclusion with the opening of the dog agility park, where she had more than 25 people and their dogs show up to learn about the new agility park. Garrison gave demonstrations on how to use the agility equipment by running her dog Max through the course several times.
She explained she got involved with dog agility through 4-H and the 4-H Dog Club. She has been in the club for three years, and Max has been doing agility with her all three years.
Her dog Sassy also did agility last year at the Greater Jefferson County Fair, and both dogs won their division, small-dog and medium-dog agility.
Garrison said it doesn’t generally take too long to train the dogs, just lots of treats. One of the dogs that showed up this weekend was going through the course after working with him for about 15-20 minutes, she added.
When Garrison came up with the idea of doing a dog agility park, she spoke with Dawn Safrit, director of Noah’s Ark Animal Foundation on the benefit of a dog agility park. Safrit became her advisor on the project.
Garrison also worked with Derek Wulfekuhle, director of Fairfield Park and Recreation Department. He helped advice on where to put the agility park.
Garrison then had to write a proposal to send to the High Award Committee of the Girl Scouts. This proposal took several hours to write and while she was waiting on approval, she moved forward with the project. The council recommends the project to take about 80 hours, but Garrison said she had more invested into the project and has enjoyed doing it very much.
Garrison was able to get all of the agility equipment donated. She sold more than 2,000 boxes of Girl Scouts cookies to be able to raise the money for the fencing. She also has taken in donations which paid for the sign that is on the gate of the Fairfield Dog Agility Park.
The dog agility park is now open and free for anyone and their dogs to use.