By Bailey Hovland
Dogs and owners alike enjoy a summer afternoon picnic at Willmar’s dog park (photo courtesy of the Kandiyohi County’s Dog Owner’s Group).
What has four legs, plenty of hair, and loves spending time in the Willmar Lakes Area?
Your dog, of course.
Although most of our blogs focus on people experiencing the Willmar Lakes Area, today it is finally time to turn our attention to our canine counterparts. With unique locations and local businesses that cater specially to our four-legged friends, you’re sure to find the right adventure for you and your pal. And up first, the one location in the area that focuses solely on dogs: the Willmar Dog Park.
Unleash your dog’s energy (and, quite literally, your dog) at Willmar’s dog park located right next to the Lions Park near Swansson Field Complex. The dog park is a fenced-in area with 2.5 acres of land for your dogs to roam freely. With a large dog area, a small dog area, pet waste baskets, and a trash container, the dog park is the ideal spot to spend an afternoon with your best friend (a.k.a. your dog).
Open every day from dusk until dawn, the park is at the intersection of Willmar Avenue and 22nd Street SW. There are a few rules dog-owners need to follow to make sure everyone has the ideal experience, listed here: https://www.willmarmn.gov/parks_and_trails/dog_park.php. Stop by the dog park today!
With the prairie grass rustling under the calm breeze and the sun setting, Thor and his owner, Jen Hovland, are taking advantage of the gorgeous Minnesota weather out in nature.
If you’re looking for an activity for dogs and humans alike, check out the walking and hiking trails across the Willmar Lakes Area. Start the morning with a brisk hike through Sibley State Park, accompanied by the only hiking buddy who will never complain that you woke them up too early. Immerse yourself on the nature trails of Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, bringing your dog along for your personal mission to identify as many species of ducks as you can along the way. Your dog might even spot a few before you do. Or take your dog out on one of the many bike/walk trails across the area, from the Glacial Lakes State Trail to the numerous trails in the local towns. Whichever road you choose, your furry friend is sure to jump at the opportunity to spend some quality time exploring with you.
There are also several spots around that want to pamper and primp your pooch. Four Paw Spa, located in Willmar, offers a quiet environment for nervous pets. With creative styling, breed standard cuts, and pet trims, they have everything for your dog’s grooming needs. They specialize “in giving our customers whatever it is they want for their pet.” Fancy Coats Pet Grooming & Inn is another Willmar grooming spot, showing off with a four-star rating on Facebook and Google. They also offer overnight pet care for dog owners going out on vacation or in need of a dog sitter! One customer said they were “by far the best groomer in the area.”
Louie, a golden retriever from the Blomkest area, and his owner Kaitlyn take a winter walk on a local trail.
The Groom Zone in New London has a number of services dog parents can take advantage of: dog grooming, nail trims, baths, obedience training, and pet sitting. Owner Heather Larson says, “I have been grooming family pets for many years and love them all as if they were my own.” Finally, Country Canines Grooming, also located in New London, grooms a majority of dog breeds. With over 10 years of experience, customers cannot praise this local business enough. One happy customer reports that the staff was “professional, caring, and perfect with my [dogs].”
With so many options for taking care of your dog and spending some quality time with them in the outdoors, it’s easy to see why the Willmar Lakes Area is a great place for dogs. Treat your canine friend to a quality grooming session or an afternoon in the great outdoors and you’re sure to see a few other happy pups and their owners along the way.