Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

The U.S. Needs More Pet-Friendly Cities

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Now that SVV and I work together, it’s hard not to want to take Ella with us everywhere we go. Being on the road and away from her two-thirds of the time makes for a lonely, sad-faced muppet in our household—and, subsequently, even sadder-faced humans—and anything we can do to extend our adventures together on this earth gets us excited!

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

Sure, there are plenty of trips she can go on, but we’ve been down that road before: taken her to a city that on its surface appears to be pet-friendly (*cough, Denver, cough*), but really, truly is not, so we end up compromising our adventures to keep her safe and happy. There’s nothing more stressful for pet owners than to have to leave their pup behind in a hotel room for long days on end or, worse, a locked car with the motor and air-conditioning running. So more often than not, she stays home with my mom and we count down the days until we’re all reunited again.

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

Luckily for us, though, many of Tennessee’s cities have jumped on the pet-friendly bandwagon, and the more we focus our work in the South, the more Ella is able to tag along. This past weekend, for example, we were blown away to find that the majority of shops, outdoor restaurants and other patios in Knoxville not only welcomed dogs, but genuinely loved them—Ella has never been so popular, and she had an extra pep in her step as people (and fellow canines, too) left and right stopped to admire her, lavish her with compliments or give her a pat.

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

For us, her humans, it was comforting knowing that everywhere we went around town, we weren’t going to run into any issues, nor did we encounter any “NO DOGS ALLOWED” signage. It was a rare treat compared to other places we’ve traveled that wouldn’t let her—even though she’s but six pounds, well-trained and hypoallergenic—inside.

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

Franklin, right near us, is another such city that has fully embraced pet owners, which makes sense given that the headquarters for Mars Petcare is just down the road. When we were in Williamson County a few months ago, we caught wind of what Mars is doing with its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ initiative, and as pet owners, we reached out and asked how we could be a part of this pilot program.

Kicking off June 16 in Franklin, Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™  aims to educate business, pet owners and communities alike on how to create a more empowering environment for all, with more than 80 local businesses opening their doors to customers and their furry friends.

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

The initiative also aspires to build truly “pawsome” communities by supporting shelters, homes, businesses and parks. The event—and program at large—will touch on these four key cornerstones:

  1. SHELTERS: Williamson County Animal Center will feature an on-site adoption event, including a Dog Walks for Donations program, where they’ll offer chaperoned walks of adoptable dogs downtown throughout the day.
  2. PARKS: The event will feature a pop-up dog park to showcase Nashville Civic Design Center’s work to create a safe play space for pets in urban areas. There will also be feedback boards to collect input from the public, as well as hydration stations for the pup participants.
  3. HOMES: Mars Petcare will provide on-site behaviorists and nutritionists who will offer tips and tricks on keeping homes safe for both dogs and cats.
  4. BUSINESSES: Mars Petcare will provide participating businesses with BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ materials and responsible pet ownership messaging. Many of the local restaurants and bars with patios will also be featuring a “yappy hour.”

We’ll be celebrating Ella’s seventh birthday next week at the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Franklin Celebration next weekend and would love for you local folks to join us!  It’s going to be a blast with several notable guests in attendance like Franklin’s own mayor, Ken Moore.

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

Here’s how the weekend will unfold:

Friday

2 – 4 pm Pet Adoptions by Williamson County Animal Center

  • Adoption drive in partnership with Williamson County Animal Center.
  • Walk adoptable dogs and for every 10 minutes walked, $100 will be donated to WCAC in support of their capital campaign!

2 – 6 pm Family Photo Booth, Pop-up  Dog Park and giveaways by Mars Petcare

  • Receive care and safety tips for pets in the home from behavior and nutrition experts from Mars Petcare. To commemorate the day, hop in the photo booth with your pets to get a free printable photo to take home with you.
  • Visit the businesses participating in the pilot program and pick up some pet-themed giveaways.
  • Experience an innovative dog park where cities can create more park space in urban areas by turning unused concrete space into pet-friendly green space.

2:30 – 2:40 pm Media Announcement/Remarks and Ribbon Cutting

  • Remarks from Mars Petcare North America, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and Downtown Franklin Associations.

4 – 6 pm Yappy Hour by Businesses

  • “Yappy hour” at local restaurants and cafes that currently allow pets on patios.

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

Saturday

10am – 1pm More adoptions, giveaways and showing of A Dog’s Purpose at the Franklin Theatre

Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly

So first of all, who’s coming? And secondly, for all of you other pet owners out there, I’m curious: What’s the most pet-friendly place you’ve visited? What do you think cities can do to better accommodate animals? On the flip side, what can pet owners do to be both responsible and mindful when taking their pups in public?

 

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Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly
Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly
Introducing Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets Initiative: Educating Cities Around the United States on How They Can Be More Pet-Friendly
COMMENTS
  • June 9, 2017

    I understand the struggle all too well of wanting to go out and about with a dog. I have a 95 lb German Shepherd and so many places are not dog friendly at all! Some that are don’t allow dogs over a certain size or of certain breeds. It’s hard because my dog is so well trained and friendly but I can’t really take him anywhere near me.
    Krystal // The Krystal Diaries recently posted..Where to Eat In MontrealMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      Oh, I’m sure that’s a HUGE problem, Krystal (no pun intended). I’ve seen many places that *do* allow pets say no dogs allowed over 25 pounds—that’s still quite tiny! I can’t imagine your struggle. Have you read Gizelle’s Bucket List? It’s a memoir written by an owner of a 160-pound English Mastiff in NYC, and it’s worth the read if you own a big dog (or even if you don’t). =)

  • June 9, 2017
    Jim

    Cool write up! We too, know the struggles of having a pup and traveling. On our last road around the country we were forced to make accommodations and really struggled with where was safe and easy to take her. Glad to see some cities making progress.
    Jim recently posted..Best Wakeboard Boats for the MoneyMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      It really is stressful, isn’t it? In a dream world, we’d take Ella on all road (and most air) trips with us, but the reality is that it stresses her AND us out and it just isn’t usually worth it. Would love to see more U.S. cities become like Europe where pups are allowed virtually anywhere!

  • June 9, 2017

    Yes, yes, yes! More pet-friendly cities, please! Right now Chicago has some okay patio areas for pups, but it’s a big city–they can do a lot better!

    I think the first thing cities can do is add a spot on their websites for visitors that clearly lays out pet-friendly areas. Don’t make me google all over creation for it!

    For pet owners bringing their pups (or cats–true story, I saw a guy with his cat out on a leash last weekend) out and about to the public, be mindful of your pet, whether she’s 6 pounds or 60 pounds, or 160 pounds. Pets act differently in public than they do at home, and it’s easier for them to get stressed out in new environments really fast, and cause them to act out. Owners need to tune into their pets and recognize when the furbabies are getting anxious or stressed out, and have a back up plan to get them out of that situation or calm them down–just like you would a child!
    Molly Strzelecki recently posted..photo friday: in the futureMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      That’s a great idea for CVB sites to do that. I remember looking at going somewhere in Georgia (Golden Isles, I believe?) and they had a pet-friendly filter on their trip-planning tool—so service-y! We went to the event yesterday, and for a town its size, Franklin had NINETY-ONE downtown businesses participating in this program and allowing pets inside. So cool to see!

  • June 9, 2017

    I’ve never travelled with my little pup, but where I live dogs are always allowed everywhere. She usually chills underneath tables and restaurant owners are always fine with that. It could be that restaurants are quite lenient with the rules when it comes to pets.
    Dominique recently posted..Utrecht – Rietveld Schröder HouseMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      I’m so jealous of my European friends for whom pet-friendly cities are the norm! Sadly, that’s not the case in the US—I’d say far more are anti-pets than are pro. So it’s super cool to see what Mars and Franklin are going!

  • June 9, 2017

    So cool to see efforts to educate business owners – I do know there are a lot of bad dog owners who ruin it for us (I live in a high rise with ~60 dogs) so I’m always grateful for the opportunity to bring my dog along. Hotels are now going above and beyond to make dogs feel welcome, which is so nice! (In fact, I swapped credit cards this year to IHG rewards as we’ll be staying at lots of Holiday Inn Express hotels as they are great dog-friendly road trip stops)
    Leigh recently posted..Ohio’s First Adventure: MariettaMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      That’s so awesome to know about IHG properties! I remember when we took her cross-country and tried to stay at a couple different Marriotts—they claimed to be “pet-friendly” and then wanted $150 (PER NIGHT) as a non-refundable fee. Hmm.

  • June 10, 2017

    Yayyy!!! I actually work for Mars Petcare, so I was super pumped as a regular reader to see your post. I’ll probably be stopping by on Friday. 🙂
    Aubrey recently posted..More than the Goonies: Visiting Astoria, OregonMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      WHAT! I had no idea!!! Were you there yesterday?

      • June 17, 2017

        No, I stopped by this morning. I was going to stop by yesterday and say hi, but I got caught up in something else and didn’t make it! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
        Aubrey recently posted..Seattle: Chihuly Garden and GlassMy Profile

  • June 12, 2017

    Great, that is an awesome place and it have so many good things to enjoy. i really like beauty of these places and so stunning photos you shared.Well there are the lot of thing those attract peoples. I love pets.

  • June 12, 2017

    One more reason to love Franklin. I’m obsessed with that city! Reallllllllly want to live there!
    Karla recently posted..Help for Indiana Schools: Autism ResourcesMy Profile

    • June 17, 2017

      You should! Then we can take our pups for happy hour dates 😉

  • June 26, 2017

    Those dogs are so cute. Love finding these great little places in each city!

  • August 11, 2017

    Hi, Kristin!
    The way you describe the city comes close to a paradise for dogs. I have been living here in Honduras for the last 9 years and to be honest animal shelters could probably make a killing! Maybe not. Still, stray dogs and cats are everywhere and almost every family has at least one dog (those are no stray dogs, of course). I have been having a Chihuahua for a couple of months, well, it is actually my neighbor’s dog, but I take care of her. Imagine a 6ft1 guy with a little dog in his arms, hehe. She is great!
    Arthur recently posted..What Medicine Can You Give Dogs for Pain?My Profile

    • August 14, 2017

      It’s crazy how hard it is to find great cities like Franklin that adore and welcome pets! I think a 6′ 1″ guy with a Chihuahua sounds amazing, Arthur! I’d love to run into you two in the street, ha. My husband isn’t as tall but he has a tiny little white dog and has more people wanting to stop and talk to him (and Ella). I think it’s an instant girl magnet 😉

  • August 22, 2017

    Yes, you are right! People, especially kids love to pet her!
    Arthur recently posted..This Is How To Know That A Calico Cat Is FemaleMy Profile

  • August 30, 2017

    I’ve never travelled with my little pup, but where I live dogs are always allowed everywhere. She usually chills underneath tables and restaurant owners are always fine with that. It could be that restaurants are quite lenient with the rules when it comes to pets.

    • September 1, 2017

      Lucky you, Camila! The US is definitely behind when it comes to how we treat our animal friends.

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