Updated: May 8, 2020
Eugene has always been considered a pretty dog friendly town. I've lived here my whole life and I've always thought so. I have fond memories of taking my dogs to play in big open fields. Or on car rides to go spend a day running on the beach. The Pacific Northwest is a great place to have animals. Endless nature to explore with our four legged friends. Is access to the great outdoors everything though when it comes to spending time with your dog? The ability to take your dog with you various places is also part of the fun. At least it is for me and my rescue pup Dany.
So what makes a town dog friendly?
According to numerous sites on the interweb (yes, that's what I call it), cities are considered dog friendly based on things like: the number of dog parks available per # of residents, number of dog friendly restaurants, walk-ability and housing (costs and rental options with pets). San Francisco is ranked one of the dog friendliest places (if not the most) in the United States.
They boast a large number of dog parks per residents. Dolores Park is a popular spot in the busy Mission District where people picnic and dogs run free. The city also boasts an impressive 174 dog-friendly restaurants, as well as 3 dog friendly shopping centers. My husband and I were there in August for our anniversary and I can attest first hand - dogs everywhere. Seriously. In restaurants, hotels, buses, apothecary shops and even a Walgreens. They were on practically every block, walking somewhere with their owners. Most off leash, sauntering down sidewalks that ran by houses and businesses alike.
As last year's downtown dog ban and current puppy ban tells us, Eugene is not as dog friendly as we should be for a population of over 160k people. We have only 4 full service dog parks in our whole area. There are 2 additional off leash dog areas, but no trash service is provided (so be prepared to hold onto that nice warm poop bag for awhile).
According to Yelp, there are 30 restaurants in the Eugene area that allow dogs. Not bad, but I'd hope for more considering how many restaurants we have here now. The majority of hotels in our area seem to allow for dogs, but only 3 have either no pet fee or a fee of $25 or less. Other hotels will typically charge $25 a day or $100 a week pet fee.
That's nothing compared to the pet fee you can be expect to be charged when renting. It can range anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the rental company. That is if you can find a rental in this area that allows pets. I did a search and found only 83 rental listings that allow pets out of over 200 listed rentals. Most only allow 1 pet and almost all impose a weight limit for dogs. Discriminating against bigger dogs who are thought to be more aggressive and destructive. This leaves many people with pets with a tough decision to make. Lose their pet and find a house or keep their pet and struggle to find affordable housing. It shouldn't have to be a choice.
Ok, so how do we really make our city dog friendly? More pet friendly businesses would be a good start. A simple pets welcome sticker in the window would let dog owners know their pets are welcome inside. Or dog rest stops in various locations around downtown and other busy areas, that offer a water station, poop area with bags and garbage.
Dogs are part of our culture and our city. It's time we accepted it and made them feel more welcome.
Do you think this is a dog friendly area? What is your experience renting with a dog? Leave your comments below!