Jamie Curtis watched as her two Chihuahuas, Gizmo and Ozzy, raced among much larger dogs at Gilbert’s Cosmo Dog Park on Monday.
“Right now, it’s all big dogs,” the Gilbert resident said.
But a new timid-dog area opening this summer at the park will offer a less intimidating environment for small dogs such as Gizmo and Ozzy.
“I think it will encourage more small dogs to come,” Curtis said. “Even for me, I get nervous with all these big dogs around.”
Gilbert has fenced an area near the park’s doggy beach, but separate from a larger fenced area, which will be exclusively for small, older or shy dogs whose owners want to keep them separate from larger dogs.
The new timid area, which cost the town $20,000 to prepare, opens June 22.
The doggy beach will continue to be shared by all dogs.
The idea came in response to concerns from dog owners, some saying that, among others, pit bulls had attacked their more timid dogs. Police reports show a handful of incidents involving dogs and owners at the park.
The park, which opened last summer at 2502 E. Ray Road, got rave reviews from many dog owners and was recently named best dog park in the nation by Dog Fancy Magazine.
Gilbert resident Margaret Occhipinti, whose campaign promoting the park led to the national recognition by Dog Fancy, said she plans to use the new timid area for her beagle puppy. She also has two large Bernese Mountain dogs.
“When she gets older, I’m going to take her over and socialize her,” she said. “I think it’s nice for smaller dogs to have a place to run and frolic.”
Assistant town manager Tami Ryall said that while the town is proud of the park’s designation as best in nation, Gilbert has planned maintenance and additional improvements to make it cleaner, safer and better. The renovations will close the park July 15 through Aug. 15.