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Recently, I wrote about the trials and tribulations of renting with a barking dog, and looked at some of the reasons your poor pup might be upsetting the neighbors when you are not at home, as well as when you are sitting in the same room. I also offered some advice about how to curb the barking and erase the issues it might be caused by (i.e. offering up background noise to drown out noises that lead to barking, blocking provocative views, etc.). Yet, I want you to close your eyes and imagine an apartment building in which barking would never draw a frown or negative comment. Imagine, if you will, an apartment building in which one of the only ways to gain access to a rental is to own a dog.
In early September 2018, several news outlets announced the creation of a Danish apartment property called Hundehuset or “Dog House”. Created in response to demands for dog-friendly housing, the builder decided to make an 18-apartment property reserved exclusively for those with dogs. You cannot, in fact, rent one of the apartments without also being a dog parent!
Slated to be built on the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark, it has received praise from the country’s largest association for dog owners as well as props from people all over the world.In fact, to ensure that the structure and the interiors were actually dog-friendly, the builders hired Lise Lotte Christensen, the Danish Kennel Club’s behavioral consultant to help them choose the right types of flooring and work on the garden layout to ensure dogs had places to run, play and even bathe.
Of course, like all things in life, this project does have some restrictions or limits. Dogs cannot weigh more than 99 pounds (which, let’s be honest, is not such a restrictive policy), and this is merely due to size limits inside of the building rather than a problem with larger breeds.
And if you are feline fancier, cats are also welcomed here. However, the same design team also indicates that a cat-friendly complex is also in the works with news about its design, location and opening dates to be announced.
Does this mean that pet-friendly apartments are going to be become more and more common? They already are, and this new building is not a trigger or underlying cause for the creation of more properties of this kind. Instead, and here’s the good news, it is more of a reflection of a trend that is growing in all corners of the globe.
As I noted in my earlier article, many millennials are purchasing homes so that they can have pets. Yet, not everyone is able to afford housing in major urban areas, and so there must be a balance. This is being created by more and more apartment building owners changing to dog-friendlier policies. The whole concept of dog-friendly or dog-oriented accommodations, housing and activities is really going mainstream.
As an example, there are already more and more pet-friendly hotels and they are not limited to the off-highway motels that so few of us enjoy visiting. In fact, a recent article identified 15 of the best dog-friendly hotels in the United States, and I’ve promised Janice and Leroy that we might be paying a visit. These include:
So, dog-friendly travel has gone entirely mainstream where travel is concerned, but high-end hotels are not the only places welcoming to those with dogs. As one article explained, many public or community pools are also blocking out windows of time in which to make aquatic programs or pool hours available to dogs. A major benefit of community events of this kind is that they are often underwritten or sponsored by animal-based organizations.
As an example, the pool cited in the article, the “Brownsville Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Program partnered with the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center to offer adoption services at the event.” Noting that an increase in dog-friendly places and activities is only going to help dogs that might otherwise be without homes. As one of the organizers noted, “The more places you can take dogs, the more will be adopted and the less will be in the shelter.”
The fact that pro-dog activities are also meant to encourage adoption is just the proverbial cherry to more and more dog-friendly locations.
And while it is ideal to be able to find housing with a dog, or two, and even take trips or head to the community pool for an hour of swim-time with dogs and their pet parents, there is even more in the way of dog-friendly policy.
Consider the concept of dog-friendly workplaces. From companies allowing their staff to take pawternity leave for a week or more after bringing home a new dog, to companies that turn their offices into dog-friendly workspaces, the mental and physical benefits of such policies are being recognized and encouraged.
An article in the Miami Herald identified eight of that city’s largest, dog-friendly firms, noting that “Studies have suggested that having pets in the workplace provides benefits: stress reduction, social support and performance improvement…While the number of pet-friendly workplaces has risen in the past few years…Tech companies including Google, Amazon and Glassdoor make up the majority of pet-friendly spaces.”
Yet, there is another firm that has been welcoming pets for decades and it serves as the perfect illustration of the good sense in welcoming dogs into even more delicate settings. Replacements is a company that specializes in selling dinnerware and place settings ranging from fine bone China to less costly options. Yet, even with such delicate goods, they’ve had a pro-dog policy in place for more than 20 years.
As an article noted, “A walk through the warehouse and you’ll see dogs riding on carts pushed by their owners or perhaps encounter a cat or two. An opossum riding high on the shoulder of her human friend even graced the company’s retail store with a visit.” Yet, science backs up the company’s policy, and a research team from Virginia Commonwealth University found that “tress actually decreased throughout the day among those who brought their dogs to work, while stress levels significantly increased for those who left their dogs at home…employees overall had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”
Universities are sitting up and taking notice, and many are also taking steps to expand resources for dogs and their owners to flourish on campus. From exercise yards and dog rest areas, to special opportunities for service dogs, many universities and colleges are re-examining what they can do to nurture a more dog-friendly setting.
If you scroll through headlines, you’ll also see that dog-friendly policies exist in an array of other, more unique settings. For example, one author is penning a guide to America’s dog-friendly hiking trails, while another community is offering yoga and Pilates classes in which dogs play a role. Farmer’s markets around the country are promoting activities that dog owners will appreciate and there are scores of restaurants that make dogs welcome inside (instead of remaining tied up outdoors). One in Miami even serves a Saturday Brunch meant for dog owners to enjoy a meal with their furry friend.
There are also craft breweries and vineyards encouraging dog owners to bring their pups, and lest the dating scene miss out on dog-friendly options, there is even a new dating app that ensures you meet only those who are fellow dog enthusiasts and fans.
Naturally, not all cities embrace dogs everywhere. Recently, I was visiting Denver, CO and was delighted to see lots of “dog stations” with multiple water bowls, rods full of carabiner clips to use with your dog’s lead, and full access from within the restaurant, café or shop. In other words, you might step inside and still keep an eye on the dog.
I was curious to know if other cities had the same pro-dog stances, and discovered that there are quite a few with restaurants, beaches, parks and employers that embrace and welcome dogs.
So, there are apartment complexes, hotels, companies, universities, scores of businesses and events, and even entire cities that are as dog-friendly as you might desire. With the “millennial” love of pets, it is likely that this trend is going to just keep growing. In fact, evidence of the support and interest in the needs of pet parents can be seen in the different apps and services that are building up around pet ownership.
Consider Pet Connect, the app that helps you find everything from pet food to doggie daycare in your geographic location. The app is also designed to hold all of your dog’s medical records and vaccination details in case of emergency or if a provider requires that information.
Clearly, I am not alone in my insistence on including Janice and Leroy in many of my major life decisions. I chose to blog because I wanted more time at home with them, and I don’t book a holiday unless I have options to take them with me or arrange perfect in-home care. Clearly, it’s a dog’s world in my home, but it looks like it is becoming a dog’s world everywhere else!