Owning a dog in an urban environment like downtown Vancouver poses unique challenges. Small apartments do not allow dogs to run around and neither do they allow for backyard romps. In addition to the impact of limited space, apartment-dwellers must be mindful of the noise that their furry friends make. Loud barking or the clickety-clack of claws on hardwood probably won’t get you any Christmas cards. And, with Vancouver’s notoriously limited rental market, pet-friendly apartments are at a premium.
Dogs help break down social barriers.
The most important consideration for future urban dog owners is to choose a breed that can thrive in a small space. Kate, from Bosley’s in Yaletown, explains that choosing a small dog isn’t always the best bet; some small breeds are too high-energy to confine to an apartment. Larger breeds like Great Danes and Greyhounds may seem like odd choices for apartment dwellers, but they are couch potatoes at heart and can happily adjust to a small space. The other important consideration, according to Kate, is “Where is it going to pee?” Having a bladder evacuation plan is key prior to bringing your pooch home.
Clearly, though, these challenges are not stopping Vancouverites from owning dogs. A stroll along the Seawall will net you countless dog sightings. In addition to the Seawall, public parks are a vital part of the urban dog’s lifestyle, and luckily Vancouver has dozens of off-leash areas that carve out dog-friendly spaces amidst our beautiful city of glass. And, of course, rain never gets in the way of off-leash fun—in fact, determined dog owners seem to see perma-drizzle as an opportunity to break out some fashionable doggie raincoats.
Larger breeds like Great Danes and Greyhounds may seem like odd choices for apartment dwellers, but they are couch potatoes at heart and can happily adjust to a small space.
The benefits of owning a dog go beyond exploring and enjoying Vancouver’s public spaces. Research shows that people talk more to others when they are walking their dogs. It turns out that dogs help break down social barriers and act as conversation starters. In a busy city like Vancouver, we can all use some more socializing—not to mention exercise and the sheer stress-releasing joy of spending time outdoors.
Taking on the urban dog lifestyle requires thought and planning. For more information on dog ownership in Vancouver, read A Dog’s Guide to Living in the City. If you decide that dog ownership is not for you, Vancouver Animal Control and the BCSPCA are always looking for volunteers.
If you are an urban dog owner, come out to Yaletown’s 5th annual Dog Day Afternoon on July 7 at Coopers Park. Learn about the great services the neighbourhood has to offer and enjoy dog-related activities. Introduce your pooch to some new friends—and you may find yourself making new friends too!
By Roma Ilnyckyj, guest blogger. Roma is the summer Communications Intern at the Roundhouse, and she is a student in the Print Futures: Professional Writing program at Douglas College.