We’ve come across some interesting places over the last few years of our young lives, and there is one certain aspect that we commonly rub noses with – and sometimes the smell’s not that sweet: ‘dog friendly’ vs ‘dog tolerant’.
‘Dog friendly’ means just as it implies, a place that welcomes dogs with open arms and hearts. It can be a country, like England, a town, like Carmel-by-the-Sea, a hotel, such as our favorite, the Cypress Inn in Carmel, a beach, like Huntington Beach, CA, or a store or restaurant, like Portabella, again in Carmel.
‘Dog tolerant’ means that dogs will be tolerated but rights and privileges are little to none and the facility may be rife with inconveniences. Believe us, ‘dog tolerant’ is no puppy paradise. Quite the opposite.
The problem is, ‘dog friendly’ is commonly used to describe either of the above so an adventure-loving dog has no way to know ahead of time what kind of welcome he or she shall receive upon arrival. Various pet sites help, like BringFido.com, but even they can be misleading as it’s hard to stay current on all the places in the world that are accepting of dogs.
What’s a dog to do? Ask questions, such as these, before your arrival:
- Does your restaurant accept dogs? If so, where? Make sure they aren’t disguising themselves as welcoming as we’ve had occasion to arrive at a restaurant only to be relegated to the outside of a patio, staring in at our humans from afar. They were just as glum about the situation as we.
- Does your hotel accept dogs? Is there a fee? The most welcoming places are free for dogs. However, if there is a fee, ask what this gives you. If it’s just the right to stay there, then it’s a penalty. Skip it. The best places at least provide dog treats, water bowls, and sometimes even a toy.
- Is there a place to go potty? It really is quite disagreeable if to use the facilities one must go outside the hotel grounds and beyond to find a grassy patch.
- Where are the local dog parks and beaches in relation to the hotel? Get specifics and keep digging until you get your answer. ‘Nearby’ can be code for several miles. Is it walking distance? How far?
A little sniffing about pays off grandly, making a trip a success instead of a disappointment. ‘Dog friendly’ is four paws terrific. ‘Dog tolerant’ is, well, a bunch of doo doo.
Remember, dogs are people, too!
Your faithful Cavaliers,
Happy & Lady Randolph