David Gomez Jr., Laredo Morning Times
Laredo Morning Times, Texas
This week, the City of Laredo opened its newest attraction for pet owners.
K- 9 Kimmie’s Corner Dog Park officially opened to the public in the late morning hours on Laredo’s west side during a sunny Wednesday. It is located at 1601 Farias Street, behind Marcos J. Aranda Recreation and Boxing Gym.
The event was hosted by District VII Councilmember Vanessa Perez. Also in attendance were Interim City Manager Samuel Keith Selman, District VIII Councilmember Alyssa Cigarroa, Chief of Police Claudio Trevino Jr. and the K-9 handler who was fortunate enough to work with Kimmie: officer Martin Guerra.
The ball started rolling for the idea about six months ago.
“It all started with a resident who reached out and said that she’d bring her dog here and if there was any way we could fence it off or make a dog park,” Perez said.
Named after the Disney cartoon Kim Possible by Guerra’s daughter, his canine officer Kimmie was memorialized. Kimmie died in 2009 at the age of 4. But despite her young life, she made a significant impact locally.
“It’s an honor to have had that dog and an honor to her as she’s now immortal, and I hope this will be here for a long time,” Guerra said.
Kimmie was originally found by another officer as a puppy who had her checked by a local veterinarian. According to the city, Kimmie wasn’t like the usual work dogs due to being an abandoned pup found by the investigator.
Guerra then recalls being handed a small dog after midnight out of the blue. He expressed confusion at first, but he knew he had to train her without any prior knowledge of how to train a dog to be part of the K-9 Unit down the line.
Kimmie was trained for over a year and became a certified police dog. And she had a paw in discovering improvised explosives and helping ensure the safety of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as first lady Hilary Clinton during their visits to Laredo.
“She was a great dog, a great K-9 and family member,” Guerra added. “It’s a great thing to have a family member that has her own park.”
As for the creation of the park, Perez said that at first she did not want to interfere with the soccer field. However, she found that there was a big enough area behind the Marcos J. Aranda Recreation and Boxing Gym to host a dog park.
“When we started looking into the cost and how we were going to do this, the amenities here were not readily available to buy,” she said. “And so we said, ‘Well let’s see if we can manufacture them in-house.'”
Once the logistics came in, they added an extra water line for fountain usage for both citizens and their dogs and closed in the dog park with a chain-link fence. They also added vintage fire hydrants and obstacles for the pets to enjoy.
The park was then finally ready to open. Interestingly enough, once the redistricting of the city is finalized, the park technically belong to District VIII.
“I want to start off by thanking the citizens of Laredo for making this project possible as well as city management and staff for their support,” Perez stated. “This project was citizen driven. It began with constituents expressing their desire for a new dog park with a recommendation of this specific field. I am proud of the work that has been done, especially having this field in better conditions than it was before.”
Kimmie’s recognition is part of a line of local K-9 units that go above and beyond being a simple companion, but public servants to the community.
In June 2021, Jovita Idar’s “El Progreso” Dog Park was renamed to honor Sgt. Denzo, Sheriff Martin Cuellar’s partner and Webb County Sheriff’s office employee. Sgt. Denzo passed away earlier that month, but his name is immortalized with the park that is expected to be enjoyed by canines throughout the community.
“Denzo fought a hard battle to stay alive,” Cuellar said. “He was a very strong and well-respected K-9 from our office. He saved a lot of lives while his tenure in the United States Army.
“I gave him the best care during his elder days. He will forever be remembered as a true warrior that was loved by our entire community.”
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