Doggy Fountain Makes A Splash

Lucy Gellman PhotoAfter a long afternoon of running, sniffing and barking, Oliver now has a place to quench his well-deserved thirst.

Oliver the pug and his mistress, Mary Mumper, showed up Sunday at the Union Street Dog Park for a celebratory inauguration of a new dog fountain.

A collaboration between the Friends of Wooster Square Parks (FOWS) and the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, the fountain has been several months in the making and arrives just as New Haven springs into bloom.

The initiative to add a fountain was spearheaded by Robert F. Musco, community organizer with FOWS, and Jean Dyer, vice president of service and technology at the water authority. 

“The water company has been absolutely fantastic to work with,” said Doug Hausladen, former downtown alder and now New Haven’s transportation chief. Despite a preference for cats, Hausladen has been involved in the months of conversations about the fountain. 

Since its opening in late 2012, the park has given large and small dogs a place to play with each other safely, and given refuge to owners who do not have time to take their dogs to parks in East Rock and Hamden. 

The park’s—and now the fountain’s—effect reaches further than a few hours of furry cavorting bliss. “Everyone is coming to realize that this resource is an anchor to the neighborhood,” said Musco, who has seen the area grow safer, cleaner and friendlier with the addition of the park.

“The fountain is due largely to the generosity of the water company, which has left us with money for other things [at the park] … They’ve taken part in a number of community initiatives,” Musco said. These include donated water services to several community gardens in New Haven, as well as other ventures intended to serve less affluent communities.

All were pleased at the fountain, but none so much as the dogs.

“I was expecting a Poseidon fountain,” Tom Breen, 25, of East Rock said with a laugh as he crouched down to play with several pugs there for a monthly Pug Meetup. “But this is pretty great.”

In the other corner of the park, Zoë Trotta (pictured), didn’t seem to mind the absence of a slow-carved marble monument either. She lowered her head, stuck out her long tongue to lap up the cool water, and almost certainly grinned as she raised her head, pricked an ear, and bolted off to play with her friends once more. 

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