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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Mumbai Greens: Zoic, a pet park that spells joy for your furry friends

Nestled in IC Colony in Borivali West, Zoic Pet Park welcomes our animal companions not just for walks but also for pet care, bonding and therapy. Spread across 27,000 sq ft, it is the biggest of Mumbai’s three animal parks that allow pets to run leash-free.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
Updated: January 16, 2022 2:07:59 pm
Spread across 27,000 sq ft, it is the biggest of the city’s three animal parks that allow pets to run leash-free.

In a city like Mumbai, where open spaces are scarce and almost sacred, hangouts for pets are few and far between. Even gardens and promenades which are accessible most of the time shy away from welcoming pets. If you’ve ever had an animal companion, you’d know that walking them on pavements or the road is dangerous and entails keeping them on a leash at all times, even as one worries about parasites like ticks.

Nestled in IC Colony in Borivali West, the western suburb of Mumbai, Zoic Pet Park welcomes our furry friends not just for walks but also for pet care, bonding and therapy. Spread across 27,000 sq ft, it is the biggest of the city’s three animal parks that allow pets to run leash-free. Envisioned and managed by locals, the garden with a field turf has been a safe space for pets since 2013-14.

Inaugurated in December last year, the renovated park boasts of mounds with tunnels made of cement as play areas for dogs, a pet wash-up and splash fountain, crabgrass areas, repurposed tyres as playing and agility equipment, therapy pond for dogs with weak hind legs and arthritis, training zone and an exclusive fenced area for puppies. Crabgrass – a creeping, weed-like grass which gardeners usually weed out – was chosen as it is pet-friendly.

Inaugurated in December last year, the renovated park boasts of mounds with tunnels made of cement as play areas for dogs, a pet wash-up and splash fountain, crabgrass areas, repurposed tyres as playing and agility equipment.

The park opens at 7.30 in the morning and is packed with dogs over the weekend. With Covid restrictions in place, however, dog owners have been using the path outside the park to walk their pets. With dog parents from across the city frequenting the place, the park offers a range of equipment to train the canines. “The park is usually full in the morning. I know some people who have shifted to IC Colony for the sake of their pets. You will see different breeds of dogs enjoying themselves and being trained here,” says Ajit Satyapraksh, while walking his 7-month-old indie dog. “We do not have a proper open space to run around and it is dangerous to let him loose on the road. With this park, he can freely enjoy himself without being tied to a leash.”

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Signboards on the pathway regularly ask owners to clean up if their pets defecate on the premises. A huge board also lists the rules. The recently renovated park has a paved walking track and is encircled by palm trees with benches at regular intervals, which are designed as animal shelter pods. These pods, made of natural stone with ventilation holes on the sides, provide a cooling shade for the pets and their humans.

A product of the research conducted by architect Faizan Khatri, the shelter pods help observe how animals navigate and use spaces. “The aim of renovating the pet park was to re-imagine how the ground level is visualised by animals navigating through it.” For further assistance, the park’s pet care unit has a regular veterinarian for check-ups and vaccination. The garden also takes efforts to ensure that the new plants, shrubs and grass introduced here are pet-friendly.

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