Have you seen those adorable viral videos of Providenciales (the puppy island) in Turks and Caicos, or the Yoyogi dog park in the Shibuya area of Japan? Well, it’s now time to lay out the welcome mat for our own exclusive doggie retreat. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s Dog Park in the booming development epicentre of Gachibowli, Hyderabad, is all set to open its doors for you and your furry friends. And it’s not your typical dog park where you take your best buddy for a quick poop and a gander.
The mastermind whom we can all thank for this initiative is Harichandana Dasari, IAS, GHMC Zonal Commissioner and a self-proclaimed dog lover. The zesty 33-year-old says the project came to fruition when, about a year-and-a-half ago, a couple of people tweeted to KT Rama Rao, Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development and Brand Hyderabad, that they couldn’t walk their dogs on the streets due to lack of proper footpaths and severe encroachment in certain areas.
Following up on this mission, Harichandana explains, “During my recce of the city, I received some complaints about an old park that had become a dumping ground because of the carelessness of a few construction companies. The location was good and we started by clearing the dump yard; in fact, about half of the total cost of ₹1.1 crore went into the clearing process.” While an inauguration date hasn’t been cemented yet, the city can expect the park to be opened within a week to 10 days, according to Harichandana.
Arundati Rao, whose Golden retriever Sage is well-socialised, is extremely excited to gallop around the turf and make use of most of the facilities on hand. The bone-shaped park covered in paw-friendly artificial grass turf features a walking track, a still-to-be-completed eatery, a Loo Café, ramps, two splash puddles in the shape of paws, hoop-jumps, weave posts and other fun obstacle courses. The equipment was sourced from Commando Kennels in Kompally, Hyderabad. Plus, there’s a separate area for smaller dogs, and the whole park is vibrantly painted with dog-related artwork along the inside walls.
“Hyderabad needs a place like the Dog Park, and this area of Gachibowli in particular is thriving with such facilities,” says Arundati, “Taking Sage for walks, and to the many pet-friendly eateries like Café De Loco, Hummingbird Café and Autumn Leaf Cafe is great, but keeping your dog exercised and changing their scenery is really important. These places also change people’s relationships with their dogs for the better.” Pet owners like Arundati will be expected to pay ₹10 per pet for entry and can make full use of the facilities, rest assured everything on the premises has been greenlighted and certified by Kennel Club of India.
- Dog Wood Park, Florida Boasting 42 acres, this park has 10 miles of trails and a two-acre swimming lake where dogs and humans can cool off.
- Bois de Boulogne, France Bask in this off-leash pet destination among the greenery, with views of the Eiffel Tower.
- BeatrixPark, The Netherlands
- Nestled in the South of Amsterdam, dogs and humans alike can enjoy the fresh crisp air for which the Netherlands is known.
Dr Abdul Wakeel, a veterinary doctor who has also worked arduously on the development of the dog park, says he’s looking forward to the inauguration largely because he sees the city as a dog-friendly capital. He adds, “We have plans to open more parks in other areas, like Secunderabad. This will make it easier for dog lovers across town to have their own place to hang out.”
Harichandana continues, “We’ve been flooded with requests from dog owners in the city asking for dog parks in their localities, and even from cities like Chennai.” Creating parks and other purposeful recreational spaces can help prevent misuse of available land, she adds.
The GHMC wants to work closely with dogs and pet-parents to engender a lifestyle beneficial for both humans and canines. Dr Abdul is particularly happy that the park will have occasional vaccination drives; he points out that vaccination is mandatory for dogs that visit the park. Harichandana looks forward to making the most of the amphitheatre by screening animal films and is also delighted about setting up a café (yet to be completed) with menus in Braille for total accessibility.
Perhaps, you can now call Hyderabad the City of Pearls and Paws.