Tag Archives: San Francisco

America’s pet friendly rental markets

Finding rental housing when you own a dog (or two, or more) is a big issue here in Christchurch.  Our housing market has done some very weird things since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with sky-rocketing property prices and escalated rental costs (people getting their homes repaired move to temporary accommodation – paid by their homeowners insurance, adding to the competition for rental properties).

Those people who did not own their homes pre-quakes and were dog owners have been some of the most severely affected by the increases.

And so this article from Forbes Magazine caught my eye.  It’s about renting housing in the USA when you are a dog owner; the largest 25 property rental markets are compared.

Pet friendly rental markets

Three factors were used to rank the rental markets:

a) the percentage of landlords willing to allow pets (counted by reading the ads for rental properties)

b) the least expensive pet fees.  That’s a fee that you pay on top of any deposit because you own a pet.  Most fees are refunded when you leave the property in good condition.  Others are simply higher rents for pet owners that are non-refundable.  In Christchurch, pet fees, particularly in terms of higher deposits, suddenly appeared on many properties where there were none before.

c) and my favorite criteria:  a high concentration of pet stores and services.

The western cities of San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Oakland and Portland topped the list.

Sadly for dog lovers, the survey revealed that landlords are much more tolerant of cats than they are of dogs.  And the larger the dog, the harder time you have when renting.  Only 4% of landlords were prepared to allow large breed dogs like a St Bernard.

What this information reinforces is that dog ownership costs money.  If you are considering adding a dog to your pack, spend some time considering your income and life situation before making the commitment.

Source:  The Forbes article cited used data from this Trulia Trends report

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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The dog mayor of San Francisco

On Tuesday (18 November 2014), Frida the Chihuahua was sworn in as Mayor of San Francisco for the day.

Frida, after her swearing in ceremony (photo by NBC News)

Frida, after her swearing in ceremony (photo by NBC News)

Frida earned the honor because her owner had the winning bid of $5,000 at an auction to benefit the Department of Animal Care and Control, which runs the city’s animal shelter.

“We applaud Mayor Frida’s ability to rise above her humble start as a single mom in an animal shelter to Mayor for the Day,” said Miriam Saez, acting director of the Animal Care and Control Department.

Frida

At the end of the day on Tuesday, Frida’s retirement package included a dog bed, toys and a gift basket.

Go Frida!

No pets left behind – pet disaster planning in San Francisco

The City of San Francisco is providing leadership in the area of disaster planning for pets.  Following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when  pet owners were refused shelter if they brought their pets with them, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 made federal funding available for authorities to plan to help companion animals that are affected by disasters.

In San Francisco,  pet-disaster responders will have authorised training and they will use a network of 125 temporary shelters to evacuate animals.  Injured animals will be treated in a $300,000 mobile animal disaster medical command unit (funding for this is still pending).

Best of all, the city’s department of Animal Care and Control has a No Pets Left Behind policy.  Whenever a citizen is rescued, their pets will be rescued too.

For those of us who have lived through a major disaster like Christchurch’s 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, we know the importance of having supplies and an evacuation plan for your pets.  It’s also a challenge to get authorities coordinated to respond to animal welfare problems during major events.

Read more about San Francisco’s disaster planning in this New York Times article.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dog friendly shopping in Colorado

****This is a re-print of my column that appeared in the December 2010 issue of NZ Dog World magazine.  Since that magazine is currently available to NZ Kennel Club members only, I’m re-publishing it here because it is a topic I’m passionate about.****

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I thought I’d share my experience of dog-friendly shopping in the state of Colorado, where I recently traveled for my business.

Colorado is a state that clearly values the companionship of dogs.  They were everywhere:  in trucks, cars and – unlike New Zealand – they were welcomed in many shops and public shopping areas.   On my flight from San Francisco to Denver, there was even a passenger who had a small dog in a carrier.  (Many U.S. airlines now allow small dogs into the cabin as carry-on luggage.)[1]

I wished my Daisy could have traveled with me to enjoy the sites (but she wouldn’t have appreciated the long flight or the required three-month quarantine on our return to New Zealand).

Dogs welcome

Dog owners could easily identify shops where their dog would be allowed to enter.  These shops displayed a Dogs Welcome logo in their window.  Interestingly, these shops sold clothing and footwear for people and were not just pet stores.  An outdoor mall in Castle Rock went a step further by providing grassed park areas and dispensers of plastic bags for dogs to have a ‘comfort stop.’

Other shops made up their own signs, such as one retailer whose sign proclaimed, “Four Legged Friends Welcome.”

I asked a shop attendant if they get many shoppers accompanied by their dogs.  She replied, “Yes.  Lots.  Particularly on weekends when people who work all week want to be out with their pet.”

Dog rest stops

I noticed that many communities welcomed dogs in their shopping areas by providing bowls of water for passing dogs to drink from.  I quickly became accustomed to seeing these ‘dog rest stops’ in virtually every town that we visited.

Rest stops varied in style and offerings.  Some were simply a single water bowl or raised water bowls.   Pet shops would often include extras, such as a bench for owners to sit in.  In Manitou Springs, a popular tourist destination at the foot of Pike’s Peak (elevation 4,800 m), a sweet shop provided vending machines with dog treats.  For 25 cents, a passing dog owner could purchase a handful of treats.

Good behaviour required

In all of the communities I visited, dogs and owners acted responsibly.  There was never a pile of poo left on the footpath and dogs didn’t jump on passers-by.  Responsible dog ownership is clearly essential for communities to embrace dog-friendly shopping.

And so, I leave you with good wishes for the summer holiday season and encourage you to think:  Is dog-friendly shopping appropriate for New Zealand and, if so, what will it take to get dog-friendly shopping established here?


[1] The dog carrier is considered the single piece of carry-on luggage for the owner; the dog must have current vaccinations and is not allowed out of the carrier during the flight.

Additional photos of my trip can be found in this blog post.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand