A LEADING animal charity is planning to open a members-only dog park where pet lovers can also meet for singles nights.
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) came up with the quirky venture to fund some of its rescue and rehoming operations.
"Later in the year we hope to be opening our off-leash dog park, it would be a members' dog park where animals can play in a safe environment," the society's Orla Aungier told the Herald.
"All the animals have to be members so that we know they've been vaccinated and microchipped for safety reasons.
"There will be a lot of stimulating things for them to sniff, and tunnels, that kind of thing. I think it's going to be just over two acres.
"It's the idea of having somewhere safe. Socialised dogs are happy dogs and safe dogs, so having the opportunity to play and meet other dogs will sort out problems like aggression.
"It's also an opportunity for dog lovers to meet other dog lovers. We have been toying with the idea of singles night, which would be great."
The DSPCA costs €2.2m to run annually, most of which is raised through donations, but the charity now hopes to become more self-reliant and reinvest all of its profits from the dog park in Rathfarnham and other new developments into its rescue centre.
"The dog park is the last phase of our new development, which includes a new veterinary clinic, a pet boarding centre and a dog training academy," Ms Aungier said.
"We would refer to it as a social business model, we really feel that the work we do at the Dublin SPCA is important, so we have to try to ensure that we can guarantee the revenue that we need every year to run it."
The vet practice only opened last week but hundreds of clients have already been welcomed to the new premises.
"We had an amazing first week really, I've worked as a vet in the UK and I would say that we were about three or four times busier than a normal practice that opened," head vet and clinical director Fionnuala Rogers told the Herald.
The boarding centre takes up to 30 dogs and 30 cats and offers extra large suites for animal families. It opened last November.