No More Puppy Love

Local dogs feel the brunt of Cowperthwaite construction.

Zain Khalid

When construction of the new Cowperthwaithe Street grad student housing begins next year, the most disadvantaged Cantabrigians of all may be not sleepless residents of Leverett Towers but dozens of friendly dogs.

Pet owners who congregate daily on the path next to the Towers will have to find other places to walk their dogs when the path—a busy pedestrian hub for humans and canines alike—closes during construction.

Kirkland Masters Tom and Verena Conley walk their Bernese Mountain dogs, Jesse and Brandi, about five times a week. During construction, the Conleys will be forced to pray that Jesse and Brandi, also the House mascots, successfully dodge traffic on afternoon strolls by the river.

Conley says that his dogs won’t be the only ones upset by the change. “I get more done here than I do at meetings,” he said. “You need to have that space of meditation, where people can reflect, not look out for traffic, and unite with the animal world—we’re all animals.”

Quincy House Master Robert Kirshner also walks his dog, Astra, an English Bull Terrier vying for the role of Quincy House Mascot, in the vicinity—about four times a day, Kirshner said.

Neighborhood resident Nancy Lamb, owner of Ben, a Golden Retriever, and Axil, a Wire-Haired Dachshund, called the path the “soul of the neighborhood.” She estimated that about 12 dogs convene near the path on a good day.

“It’s good for the dogs and kids to get some contact,” she said. “You need that interaction, that impromptu conversation.”

Stopping to rub Axil’s stomach, Jennifer H. You ’05, a Mather resident, called her daily encounters with dogs “one of the most enjoyable parts of walking home.” “The community will certainly feel the loss,” she said.