Travelling around North America and Europe, it was a shock (Oh yes, a pleasant one) to see dogs of all shapes and sizes sitting in restaurants, trotting around fancy department stores, sharing the elevator of a 5 star hotel and getting ready to board a plane; in the cabin, thank you very much.
I have always considered my pooches pretty lucky, they get to go to the beach, holidays and bike rides on a regular basis with me. However, if I could have it my way my dogs would go everywhere with me. Quite frankly I enjoy their company!
Sadly though for Australian dogs and cats, Australia may not be the lucky country.
In the last 12 months alone, dog ownership has dropped by 100,000 and cat ownership by 200,000. Research has proven the enormous benefits that pets have on our lives so why are the numbers dropping?
Australia’s most beloved and high profile veterinarian, Dr Chris Brown has asked this very question and in June 2016 kick started the “Keep Australia Pet Friendly” campaign. Dr Chris is making his way around our beautiful country campaigning to keep Australia pet friendly. But it is not just about keeping it pet friendly, Australia needs to become “pet friendlier” to move inline (or better to be a leader) with other countries. He has written an open letter to Australia, urging community members and policy makers to consider Aussie pets in their decision making. Read Dr Chris Brown’s letter here on the Pet Positives blog.
While Europe and North America certainly have a much more “open door” policy for dogs in public places, you will not find them off leash running amuck in the streets and dining facilities nor in native fauna and flora reservations. They all still have regulated policies, where dogs are and are not permitted. With that said the majority of dogs appear to be well socialised and certainly familiar with displaying appropriate calm behaviour’s one would expect when inside a china shop!
I remember a few years ago after taking a seat at an outside dining area of a popular cafe with my small Papillon dog. I was told I would have to “tie him up” to the fence nearby; declaring it was due to “Health and Safety Regulations”. I have often wondered if that cafe was any good, since I promptly got up and left. I chose to support a cafe nearby who allowed my pooch to join me.
With all the terrible things happening in the world today, many more people are less inclined to jump on a plane and head overseas on holiday, now favouring the idea of discovering this truly amazing and beautiful country that we live. But with a pooch or two in tow you just can’t jump into the car, motor-home or hook up the caravan and head out onto the big open road to see where it takes you. You need to do lots of research to be sure the places you plan to end up will accept your beloved dog.
So what can we do to help keep Australia pet friendly and maybe just make it pet friendlier?
– Support the place that accepts your pet. Frequenting a facility sends the business owner a positive message that you appreciate that they accept your pet
– Work your social media! Share your pet friendly discoveries with everyone
– Lead by example. To encourage change, pet owners must display responsible pet ownership
– Write to your local, state and federal ministers. Tell them you want the rules changed to allow pets on public and commercial transport, at restaurants and cafes and to increase responsible pet ownership education and acceptance by holding greater pet-friendly events across the country
– Follow The Keep Australia Pet Friendly Facebook
– Join the #keepauspetfriendly social media campaign
As a child my pets taught me about responsibility. They taught me how to care for something greater than myself. I could never have imagined a childhood without the unconditional love they gave me. I could never image my adult life without the love of my pets.
Together, we can #keepauspetfriendly
Author Bio: Nikki is pack leader at Pressplay Pets, a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting. She is also proud mum to cute and cheeky Papillons ‘Amber’ and ‘Indy’ and one crazy Rainbow Lorikeet named ‘Ralph’! Follow my Facebook and Twitter.
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