Roaming free: SPARK erects dog park

Hobbes, a Lab and golden retriever mix belonging to Dave Goettsch, fetches a soft Frisbee while people do the heavy lifting putting up fencing at the dog park Saturday. -- Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Let the dog days of summer begin. SPARK (Start a Park for Austin’s Respectable K-9s) erected fencing around Austin’s dog park Saturday morning, thanks in large part to fencing donated by Hormel Foods Corp. and labor from many volunteers — including members of the high school wrestling team.

Wrestler Kole Igou, 14, removes old clamps from wire donated by Hormel Foods Corp. at the dog park Saturday. The fencing had been used at Hormel’s corporate office.

“It’s just phenomenal to see how quickly it’s going up,” said SPARK President Martha Hauschildt.

Hormel donated the fencing from its corporate office, which pleased SPARK officials, but required a little more manual labor. Volunteers had to use pliers to remove old clamps.

“We saved some money, but also it’s a community project,” Hauschildt said.

With the fencing, Hauschildt estimated SPARK has received about $20,000 in donations.

The 100-foot rolls of wire were difficult to move around the nearly one-acre dog park, but Hauschildt said she was pleased to see the wrestlers volunteering to help with the heavy lifting. She said they’ll be able to look at the project with pride when they see the park used for years to come.

Many dogs were already out enjoying the space while their owners worked on their behalf. Hobbes, a golden retriever and lab mix, carried a soft Frisbee to many volunteers wanting to play fetch. The wrestlers were happy to take a break to play with the pup.

Hobbe’s owner, Dave Goettsch, said he’s excited for the park to open, especially because he has such a social pet.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful location here.”

But SPARK officials weren’t ready to declare the park finished. Hauschildt said they are still waiting for the doors and park equipment.

“There’ll be some more work to do,” Hauschildt said.

The park will be officially open in a few weeks, and Hauschildt said an event is in the works to dedicate the park.

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