Four years ago,Himanshu Rajure,an engineer by profession,came across a seldom used park just below the Bal Gandharva bridge. Walking around it,he was inspired to turn the unkempt area into a beautiful place where pet dogs could come and play. After untiring efforts,Rajure managed to get help,clean the place and open the city’s first and only dog park at Nana Nani Park. Soon dog owners started thronging the park,unleashing their pets and letting them run around and play.
But soon this happy scene was disrupted and dogs were only allowed into the park on Sundays. People have so many parks to visit; they could have left this one for the dogs. If you are a dog lover,you would be comfortable with 20-30 dogs running around and playing with each other,but if you are not,the scene can get a little unnerving, says Rajure,who is now pursuing a degree in law.
Yet Rajure is not wasting his time,waiting for the park to open for pets all through the week. Instead,making the most of the Sundays,he organises events to make sure that pet dogs have their share of fun as well. Last week,he had organised a trip for dogs and their owners to a field near Katraj. Just like human beings,dogs want to meet others like themselves,get together and socialise, he says. Rajure claims that the dogs enjoyed the hour-and-a-half-long trip on board a bus that was hired for them and their owners. The owners had to carry parcels of dog food. Most pets were quite comfortable on the ride back and forth from the picnic venue. Though the first timers felt a little nervous on the bus they also got into a playful mood with other dogs and forgot their discomfort, says Rajure,whose mixed breed pet loves to mingle with fellow canines.
Dog owner,Suresh Parmar,a regular visitor at the park,feels that it is as important for dogs to meet other dogs and learn to behave appropriately with them as it is to teach children basic etiquette. It doesn’t matter whether you get your dog a big cake or many toys,they will be lonely if they do not play with other dogs. It is a psychological need for them to interact with others of their species, says Parmar.
For June 23,Rajure has organised a Dog Agility Programme at the park. At the event,special trainers will give tips on how to enhance the bond between the pet and the owner while testing their agility. The dogs will go through a hurdle test,where they walk on a narrow plank of wood to test their balancing skills. Then there are one to two-feet hurdles with a slide and the likes. The test also shows the compatibility between the dog and its owner, says Rajure.
Believing that most dogs become like their owners as they develop similar eating and exercise habits,he stresses on fitness. The dogs need a place where they can run and play. I don’t think they need spas and massages. They just need open air and friends, says Rajure.