Delhi’s first dog park is now open for to furry friends 

To cater to the needs of pets in the city, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has converted an old park in old Rajendra Nagar into a pet park 

Discussions on animal care are generally lost in the cacophony of our day to day life. However, it can’t be denied that Delhi is full of animal lovers — domestic as well as wild. People love keeping pets, taking care of them like a parent, going out with them, and pampering them like family.

Catering to demands of pet lovers, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has converted a park, in old Rajendra Nagar, into the city’s first ever dog- park. This park was earlier allotted to the local residents, but has now been converted into a dog park spreading over 1.5 acres — it has swings, green patches for canines, and dog cartoons adorning the walls. 

During the pandemic, when everyone was trapped inside their home, it became a mental toll on pets and humans alike. Pets started to show behavioral changes, suggesting home sickness, mental health problems. 29- year- old Riya Rai says, “I have four pets and I always take them for a morning walk, so, nothing much changed for me. But this has a lot of things where my dogs can enjoy their time. Pandemic was harsh on them as well. We just talk about ourselves.”  

Murals at the recently opened pet park in old Rajendra Nagar in Delhi

Another resident, Prem Nath Bhardwaj, who has one dog also feels that it is an interesting concept and more such parks need to be inaugurated. “I am impressed with the idea that a park is developed keeping dogs in mind. We see this kind of concept in the West. Now here too, we have this park.”

Dog parks are not new to India — Bangalore and Hyderabad have their own dog parks. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is also planning to develop a dog park in a one-acre area near Jangpura in South Delhi, and it is expected to be completed by March 2022.  

 

 Need for a dog park

In the last couple of decades the number of pets in India has increased manifold. The love of urban India towards pets has increased dramatically. As per the data site Statista, between 2014 to 2018, the number of pets increased from 13 million in 2014 to 18 million in 2018. And interestingly dogs are favoured compared to felines. In 2014 the number of pet dogs stood at 11.84 million while the number of cats stood at just 1.1 million. Even in 2018 this gap couldn’t change and the number of pet cats stood at 1.38 million.

Samay Raj, a dog lover and a resident of Rajendra Nagar says, “During the pandemic people felt alone and they started to keep pets, but managing pets is not an easy task. When you adopt a pet, you are in a way a parent. You have to take care of their each and every need.”

Structures for behavioural enrichment have been erected in the pet park

“When we talk about cruelty against animals, we think that someone killed an animal or hit them. This is not it. Cruelty is also when you leave your pet on the streets because you can’t take care of them. These parks which take care of the needs of pets are a really good step. In the West these are quite common and activities like dog races etc are very much appreciated.” Raj added.

Since India has no regulations on pets and anyone can adopt one. Raj feels that dog parks are a necessity. They help in improving the mental health of dogs, “These parks help in behaviour enrichment. Many people here live on rent and they have very small space. So, animals, especially dogs, feel trapped, and suffer from stress and other mental health problems.” 

 

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