Volume 81, Number 2 | June 9 - 15, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Muneeza Iqbal

A special “flip dish” assures dogs only have bacteria-free water to drink.

Life is rrruff: Deluxe dog run sports a ‘jacuzzi,’ less germs

By Muneeza Iqbal

Drastically decreasing the anxiety of both small-dog owners and their dogs, a run exclusively for small dogs opened in Washington Square Park in late 2003. No longer did small-dog owners, and their dogs, have to fear that the petite pooches would be bullied, clumsily trampled or, in the worst-case scenario, killed by larger, stronger canines. As part of Washington Square Park’s renovation, the small-dog run has been rebuilt in a new spot in the park, and is now open for “business.”

The Robin Kovary Run for Small Dogs in Washington Square Park’s freshly renovated eastern section has swung open its gate to all dogs weighing 25 pounds or less, with state-of-the-art facilities so fancy that large-dog owners — or maybe just people, in general — will be jealous.

The run boasts a water fountain for people and an attached bowl for their thirsty, furry friends. Leftover water drains out of the bowl and right out of the park, so one never has to worry about bacteria formation. And if a dog is getting too hot, or is getting a little odoriferous, the run has a puppy pool with fountains of water.

Dave Lawrence, the small-dog run’s manager, said that the pool “really is not that far from being a jacuzzi.”

To avoid the “dust-bowl syndrome” from occurring on the run’s gravel surface, a sprinkler system has been installed. It will shower the run for an hour each night to ensure that the dust stays down during the day.

Lawrence’s main concern was the gap between the new fence and the ground, which, if too large, could let more adventurous dogs escape. Extra care has been taken to ensure that this space is filled with material that cannot be chewed off or stretched and that is not sharp enough to harm a dog trying to go AWOL.

All these extra precautions are the reason the new dog run opened a day after the park’s eastern side reopened to the public. The pool is expected to start functioning a week later.

Before the renovations began, the small-dog run was in the park’s northwestern quadrant. During the reconstruction’s first phase, the little-dog run was subsequently allotted a minuscule space in the park’s southeastern section. The new run is twice the size of the original and cost about $200,000. Small-dog owners are thrilled it has finally opened.

“It’s great!” said Jenny Stevens, who brings her dog to the park frequently. “It’s much nicer than the other one. There is more shade and many more benches.” Stevens is also grateful that there is a drainage system in this run because the old one would often flood, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Unlike the park’s large-dog run once completed, the small-dog run won’t be open 24 hours a day — so no late-night jacuzzi parties for the small pooches.

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