A group of shelter dogs has been given a new place to run, jump and climb in Chilliwack.
The new canine play area at the Community Animal Response and Education (CARE) Centre on Wolfe Road was recently completed and it’s not just the dogs who love it, the staff do too.
“This is their free-play area. It help to support their mental and physical needs in the play yard. They’re able to climb over the equipment, climb under the equipment and run around,” said Trina Douglas, manager of contracted services with Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD).
FVRD manages the CARE Centre, formerly known as Chilliwack animal control, which temporarily houses lost, stray and impounded dogs.
The new play area is a 3,522-square-foot area with wooden steps, ramps, platforms and large boulders for climbing and jumping. Trees and tall fencing will provide shade in the hotter months.
But it’s not just a place for the pooches to run around and get some exercise, it also serves as an area for them to socialize with each other, plus it acts as a rehabilitation site for dogs recovering from physical injuries.
“When we have dogs that have gone for surgery and they have physical rehab needs, we’ll utilize this equipment to work different muscles that they need to rebuild,” Douglas said.
The idea for the project came about six months ago. It was then that staff from the City of Chilliwack and FVRD began working together to create the play area located on the 15-metre-by-22-metre gravel lot owned by the city.
It turned into a project that was a full community effort.
Because of underground gas lines, specialized equipment was required and donated by Valley Tank and Container to suck up the ground in three spots in order to install two trees and a fire hydrant.
Riverstone Excavation Ltd. provided funds for the timber needed to create steps and ramps. They also sent three employees for one week of work to pull the entire project together.
In addition to providing the land, the city contributed trees, top soil and grass seed, and staff volunteered additional design and coordination services outside of work hours.
The Chilliwack Fire Department donated the fire hydrant, plus logs from their fire training facility for the dogs to climb up and over.
“I would like to thank each of the individuals who donated time, money or goods to help us build this play area at the CARE Centre,” said Mayor Ken Popove. “Generosity and collaboration made this project possible, and the credit for its success belongs to the very giving members of our community.”
Douglas said the dogs will “absolutely” be more adoptable as a result of the new play area.
“The dogs will be more prepared physically and mentally for their new homes. They’re able to learn how to go up stairs, down ramps – things they would be exposed to in a new home. Through positive reinforcement they’re able to build their confidence to climb on the equipment and are better able to be placed into a home.”
“This new play area is going to be another way we can make the time dogs spend at our shelter even more positive,” said FVRD chair Jason Lum.