Paws-itive place during pandemic
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/05/2020 (1124 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s just after 5 p.m. and a handful of energetic goofballs is enjoying an outdoor playdate downtown, running, roughhousing and slobbering all over the place.
At Bonnycastle dog park, nothing has changed for the carefree canines, who are oblivious to the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc around the world.
For their owners, the off-leash park on Assiniboine Avenue has been a welcome distraction from the pandemic, bringing some much-needed comfort during a difficult and uncertain time.
“I don’t know what I’d do without this place,” says Caroline Nicholson, as she scratches her well-behaved, two-year-old corgi-Rottweiler mix Chichi.
The 27-year-old walks regularly to the park from her Osborne Village apartment, and she’s thrilled the city didn’t close its gated doors once the coronavirus hit Winnipeg.
“I’m not seeing my friends as much, but I’m seeing these people daily,” she says.
As another couple of dogs arrive at the fenced park, pet owners talk and mingle a little. Everyone seems to be in good spirits despite the pandemic, and the bone-chilling breeze coming off the Assiniboine River. No one is wearing a mask, but they’re keeping their distance in the tiny park.
“It’s nice to be able to be in the same place as someone,” says Isabelle Ly, who brought her two-year-old mini-golden-doodle Parmesan to Bonnycastle for some socialization.
Ly, the company manager at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, hasn’t been bringing “Parmie” to the park as often during the pandemic because she’s working from home, so getting out when she can is a pleasure.
Melissa Dvorak, whose 11-year-old black greyhound Dexter was milling around and making friends, says places such as Bonnycastle are more meaningful than ever.
“Distancing, but still being able to be together, I think, is so important.”
“Distancing, but still being able to be together, I think, is so important,” says Dvorak. “It puts some normalcy in the world.”
As a husky-shepherd cross named Titan stops to sniff Nicholson, she knows she’ll be back again soon.
“This is our happy place…,” she says. “It’s like therapy.”
— Stacey Thidrickson