On July 1, a pet park will be inaugurated at Versova, Andheri. Located in the vicinity of high-rise buildings such as Raj Classic, Bianca and Sangeeta that are homes to many actors including Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Celina Jaitly, this park is expected to invite its own share of star power.
All the actors who own dogs, will get to frequent this walled-in patch of green that was once a dumpyard. “Around three years ago, on the urging of Shobha Khanna, a resident who had relocated from Pali Hill, we’d taken over a 100-year-old junkyard and, with help from the BMC and the then local MLA Baldev Khosa, turned it into a beautiful jogger’s park,” says veteran actor Meenakshi Thakur. Buoyed by this success and encouraged by fellow resident Lajjo Sahani, Thakur then approached the BMC commissioner with a proposal to turn the garbage ground into a pet park.
“With BMC officer Megha Gogate and K-ward commissioner Ramesh Pawar’s support, we quickly cleared it of all the weeds, fixed the broken gate, whitewashed the walls and put up two benches for pet walkers,” says Thakur, thrilled that her own ageing dog, Buddy, will soon have a safe place to take his evening walks, along with other pets. Dog food brand Pedigree will beautify the park, put up a puppy play corner and even pay for a watchman.
Thakur, who has already put up signs around the lane asking for ‘poop to be scooped’, plans to educate owners and walkers on ways to keep the area clean. She says, “If need be, we’ll scoop up the droppings ourselves or fine the owners to ensure that the dogs have a playground we can all be proud of.”