Pet-Friendly Accommodations

As a pet lover, and guardian of two small dogs (‘cats that bark,’ I like to call them), I can tell you a thing or two about dog people. And cat people aren’t that different.

Growing up, we always had a cat in our home but, after buying my first condo, I decided to get a dog. An avid walker, I thought it would be nice to have a reason to walk and someone to walk with every day. Since George Clooney didn’t appear to be in any hurry to join me, and most cats don’t take well to being walked on a leash, my first dog came into my life. In hindsight, I may well have brought her home in blissful ignorance of the necessity of obtaining Board approval to do so (I’ve learned a lot about condominium governance since then, but I digress). One day not too long after Bear joined my household, my then-boyfriend offered to take her for a walk. A couple of hours later (two HOURS! Her legs were only 4” long!) he arrived back and stated “I think I met every woman in the neighbourhood!” Dogs are social magnets (and can obviously do wonders for your love life if you’re a single guy).

People who love animals and have chosen to share their lives, their homes, and their hearts with animals tend to be compassionate and unselfish. They have someone to think about besides themselves. They don’t have the time or inclination to bask in self-pity when there’s a furry little buddy purring reassuringly at their side or looking straight into their souls with puppy dog eyes.

It isn’t uncommon for people to have to surrender their pets to The Calgary Humane Society when faced with the sad reality of not being able to find pet-friendly accommodations. This is a heartbreaking fact when studies have proven that owning a pet has a positive effect on both emotional and physical health. Pets can ease loneliness and give us a reason to get out of bed on those days when we might otherwise spend the day there, feeling sorry for ourselves. Some studies have shown that just sitting quietly stroking a dog or cat can reduce one’s blood pressure.

Calgary boasts a plethora of pet groomers, pet stores, and doggy daycares as well as approximately 150 off-leash parks, a testament to the fact that there are a lot of pet lovers in this city willing to spend time and money on pampering Fido or Fluffy. Pet health insurance, once unheard of, is commonplace. Many hotels now welcome dogs. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver actually boasts two dog ambassadors, Mavis and Beau.

Yes, the pet industry is growing by leaps and bounds. A 2013 Globe & Mail article reported, “About half of Canadian households own some kind of pet, and Canadians dropped $6.5-billion on them in 2012, a figure that’s been rising steadily annually.” . That’s a lot of people and a lot of pets. And they all have to live somewhere.

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Written by Gayle Phillips