Fido and Spot will soon have a place to quench their thirst after playing at the off-leash Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park.
The city of Santa Fe is installing water lines at the park this week that will feed three drinking fountains for pets.
The project, which started Monday and is expected to be finished Friday, reinforces Santa Fe’s reputation as a dog-friendly city and enhances residents’ overall quality of life, officials said.
“Dog parks are for dogs, but many, many human friendships have been formed at the dog parks — folks go daily,” City Councilor Signe Lindell said in an email. “I believe the Ortiz park is the most utilized park in the city.”
A group called The Dog Park Project, a nonprofit created to work in partnership with the city to make improvements to the dog park, initiated the work, said John Muñoz, the city’s parks and recreation director.
“The Parks and Rec Department has been working with The Dog Park Project to improve this wonderful asset in our community,” he wrote in an email.
Muñoz called the dog park “a great open space” with 138 acres of trails, arroyos and hills with spectacular views.
“This [is] the largest [dog park in Santa Fe] where dogs can run and play safely off-leash,” he wrote.
Jane Larson, co-founder of The Dog Park Project, said the fountains were donated by the late Bill Thornton, a dog lover who served on a number of charitable boards, including the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society.
“John Muñoz … and his crew have been amazing partners and worked diligently with us to fulfill Bill Thornton’s dream of having fresh water available for every dog at the park,” Larson said, adding other city officials, including Lindell and City Councilor Renee Villarreal, were also instrumental in getting the project off the ground.
“We are so grateful for their hard work and dedication,” she said.
The city said portions of the park were temporarily blocked off to install the water lines. But if everything goes as planned, Fido and Spot should soon have free rein — and free drinking water.