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Parks and Recreation looking for help relocating dog memorial

The old dog memorial at the University Lake Dog Park. Salvaged plants and soil is going into...
The old dog memorial at the University Lake Dog Park. Salvaged plants and soil is going into the new one that will be just a few yards closer to the lake.(Taylor Keegan)
Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - People who frequent the University Lake Dog Park are probably already well aware of the number of improvements that the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department recently completed. However, there’s another piece of the project that the agency is looking for help preserving.

On the south side of the lake — toward the hospital — on the Campbell Trail adjacent to the loop, there used to be a roundabout in the middle of the trail. Landscape architect Taylor Keegan said that was a special roundabout.

“In the roundabout itself, there used to be a dog park memorial which is something that a group of volunteers came out and just decided to do,” she said.

There were pictures of old pets, old collars, toys and flowers, and Keegan said the soil even had ashes from former pets in it. Keegan said people did not want to see it go.

“People were under the assumption that it was just going to be deleted and there was going to be no effort to recreate it,” she said. “It was something they were really proud of, and they didn’t want it to go away.”

So Keegan posted a sign looking for whoever was responsible for the memorial and asking them to get in touch with her. She got some calls and a lot of stories about how important the memorial was to some people. After that, more signs from people who wanted the memorial to stay followed.

Now, the plan is for the department to work with the people who put a lot of love and memories into that makeshift memorial to make it bigger and better. It will be just yards away from the original memorial, but closer to the trail and not as in the way of the Campbell Trail where people ride bikes and cross-country ski.

“We’re hoping to lay down some sort of edging, bring in some more top soil, and then plant up this area with lilacs, lilies, sink foil, maybe some irises,” Keegan said. “There’s a plant pallet. We tried to avoid anything that might be poisonous to any animals.”

The project will even use soil and salvaged flowers from the original memorial. Now, Keegan said the department is working with the public to figure out something for people to attach old dog tags to, like a fence post.

The relocation of the memorial is slated to happen at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 for anyone who would like to help.

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