The party is in Bettendorf.

Those who do not wish to compete with the big dogs — literally — now have a place of their own.

And, by all appearances, the little dogs knew it.

At Saturday’s ribbon-cutting for the expansion of the Crow Creek Dog Park, small, elderly and timid dogs were turned loose on their own playground. No more running from the giants. No more being stepped on. No more fear.

As soon as the gates opened, a dozen small dogs tore across the park. When a newcomer entered the park, it was as if someone shouted, “New guy!” The dogs bounced at each other like long-lost litter mates.

“People have wanted a small-dog park for a long time, but we were reluctant to cut up the dog park,” said Kathleen Behncke, chairwoman of the highly active Crow Creek Dog Park committee. “Honestly, it was so hard to get the first dog park (in 2007) that, when we went and asked for another acre, and they said, ‘Sure!’ I couldn’t believe it.

“I’d expected a year of begging.”

How could the city say no?

The dog-park committee raised about $10,000 from its annual fundraiser, Dogtoberfest. The money went to expanding the fence into the small-dog portion of the park and adding a concrete slab at the entrance.

“We stopped going to the big-dog park,” Tanya Duncan of Bettendorf said of her former routine with her Jack Russell mix, Bodi. “He thinks he’s a big dog, and the big dogs don’t really get him. I was worried about him getting hurt.

“We’re really thankful for this addition. Now I can feel Bodi’s safe.”

Safety was a primary motivation for extending the park and giving small, shy and senior dogs their own space. But the expansion should not be regarded a snub to big dogs, many of which took great interest Saturday in the smaller breeds on the other side of their fence.

“If you’ve got a big dog that wants to romp, you are welcome right over there,” Behncke said, pointing toward the original section of park. “These little guys need to get their socializing and exercise in, too.”

The next step: Naming the park.

Committee member Annette Horvath said the group is asking for suggestions and wants a name that reflects the acre’s mission of giving space to the little guy and the senior citizen.

“We have a T-shirt and treats for the winner,” she said. “We’ve been excited about this, but look at the dogs. It’s like they know it’s for them.”

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