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North Shore's first dog library opens in West Van

You’ve heard of little libraries? This one’s for the dogs.
Ingrid Zuch and sable poodle pup Izabella at the newly constructed Dundarave Dog Library stocked with doggy toys and treats in West Vancouver. Zuch’s daughter Suezette had the library installed to give dog lovers a place to connect and share. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

By now, most people would have encountered free, street-side little libraries, where they can grab a book or drop one off. This one’s for the dogs, though.

“It’s West Van’s only and first dog library,” said Suezette Zuch, founder of the Dundarave Dog Library. “It’s for people that love dogs, and dog walkers, dog owners, or anybody just curious about a dog.”

Zuch saw someone doing something similar on Cambridge Street in East Vancouver and applied for a grant from the West Vancouver Foundation. While she was waiting to hear back about her application, her beloved Aussiedoodle Charlotte was killed in a tragic incident.

“She was run over in an off-leash park where the driver drove on the grass of the park,” Zuch said, holding back tears. “She was only a year old when she died.”

Zuch said she wasn’t sure how to go about completing the project while mourning Charlotte, but then, along came Izabella, her now-11-week-old standard poodle, and Zuch carried on, making the library something of a memorial to her departed pup.

She sourced three library boxes from a builder in Chilliwack and has now installed them in front of her home on the 1400 block of 22nd Street in Upper Dundarave. It’s loaded with everything from leashes to collars and toys.

“Ultimately, it’s all free in there,” she said.

Zuch has been posting pictures and videos of the library and the uber-cute Izabella on their own Instagram feed: Dundarave Dog Library. They are hosting an official launch event on Saturday, July 15 from 4 to 6 p.m.

More than a place to pick up an empty poop bag or some liver treats when a neighbour has forgotten theirs, Zuch said she sees the library becoming a gathering place where people with a love of canines can connect and share. Each day, the one in East Van sees 150 to 200 people nabbing a milk bone and dogs getting nose-deep in one another’s hindquarters.

“It's just a place that is all about dogs. People love dogs,” she said. “It’s a place where the dog can be safe while the owner is looking for something new for the dog or just to make the dog happy, because, ultimately, if the dog is happy, the owner is happy.”

Some of the supplies were donated by West Vancouver’s Pet Lux grooming and supply shop and the SPCA, but Zuch said she hopes to see visitors adopting the take-something, share-something spirit of little libraries and contribute fresh stock, or items that their dogs have either grown out of or turned their wet noses up at.

“I think that it definitely serves a purpose,” she said. “Somebody else might find a use for it.”