If you’ve seen more than one sophisticated poodle sitting outside of Parc or a friendly pit bull in a beer garden and think there seem to be more dogs taking advantage of city living, you aren’t hallucinating canines. Philly loves its dogs, and it’s showing in the reactions of neighbors and local businesses.
“Every year our adoption numbers have increased,” says Ray Little, whose title is Director of Lifesaving at the no-kill animal shelter Saved Me. “I go back 30 years — nowadays you can’t walk down the street without seeing numerous people walking their dogs.”
Catering to the neighborhood pups are groups like Queen Village K9, a volunteer organization that maintains the dog run at Mario Lanza Park at Second and Queen. The group is an offshoot of the Queen Village Neighbors Association.
“It seems like everybody has a dog — it’s really cool because Philly’s such a great city for dogs,” says Tina DiCroce, QVK9 co-chairwoman. “It’s really nice to be able to not just go to the park and look at your phone, but get to know people in your neighborhood and build friendships and socialize your dog.”
DiCroce took an interest in QVK9 last year after adopting her Labrador mix from a New Jersey animal shelter. The group meets weekly to clean up the dog run and holds events to raise money for maintenance and improvements, like Yappy Hours and holiday parties. Members chip in $50 annually.
“The worst thing is when I used to go to a dog park and the people wouldn’t interact with anyone,” says DiCroce. “They don’t introduce themselves. Now that we’ve built this community, people are more sociable.”
Be a good four-legged neighbor:
Ray Little of Saved Me animal shelter tells us what to keep in mind at the dog park:
• Bring water in case your pooch gets overheated.
• Keep your dog on a 6-foot leash that isn’t retractable.
• Older dogs may not be as tolerant of younger dogs who are more energetic.
• Make sure that your dog is playing appropriately with other dogs.
• Unless it’s a fenced-in area, keep your dog on the leash.