Is Florida Dog Friendly?
I have lived in Florida now for about 10 years and have always been hoping that we would be able to find the perfect city to live in that is completely dog friendly. I have lived in Daytona Beach, Palm Beach, Naples and Miami and still have not felt that my dog is welcome or at home yet.
To start with, there are very few Florida beaches to take your dog to – and those beaches have MAJOR restrictions like the beach is only open for dogs on certain days and only at certain times during those days, dog owners must pay additional fees to enter the beach, which to me is discrimination. Aren’t all beaches in Florida, public? Usually, we all pay to park our cars, but then the beach access is free. Why do only dog owners have to pay extra? Where is this money going and to whom? People shouldn’t have to search high and low and drive long distances to find a dog friendly beach.
Regarding restaurants, there are still several Florida restaurants that will not allow my dog to sit outside in their outdoor patios. This really confuses me, why will they allow squirrels, birds, ants, geckos and every other animal to enjoy their patios except my dog? I actually prefer sitting inside anyways, because the cigarette smokers ruin any chance at actually enjoying my experience “outdoors” anyways. I absolutely love the idea of sitting outdoors to enjoy the beach atmosphere, ocean breezes, etc. but unfortunately the second-hand smoke invading my lungs I do not love, neither do my dogs. There are just a handful of Florida restaurants that will allow you to actually bring your dog inside. There are a few, and when we find them, we will post them on DOGZAR.com.
Don’t even talk to me about Florida condominium living and dogs. The way I see it, usually a home or a condo is one of the largest investments a person will ever make in a lifetime. Most of us only have one or two dogs and the reality is they live as our family members, in our homes (and in most cases, in our beds too). Dogs have been a huge part of all stages throughout my life. I have had dogs since I was a baby, throughout my childhood and adulthood and I’m sure I will have dogs when I am a senior citizen. For the elderly, dogs not only bring unconditional love and constant companionship, they are a healthy lifestyle choice as well. It gets people out and about, with daily walks and socializations. Unfortunately, there are very few condominiums that allow dogs! To me this is crazy, these are our family members. And for those condos that allow dogs, they have MAJOR restrictions like only one dog, weight under 15 pounds, dogs not allowed to walk on the floors they must be carried and dogs not allowed in any common areas! Why is it that ultra luxurious hotels like Loews, the Four Seasons and Kimpton allow dogs of all sizes to enjoy their hotels, but in condos – our actual homes, they will not?
Florida needs to move forward and accept the fact that most households have dogs, they are family members and we spend a fortune on keeping our dogs safe, healthy and happy. Even during our current financial crisis in the world, the amount of money we spend on our dogs has not been affected, it has actually increased. Restaurants need to open their doors to our dogs, they need to make ALL our beaches dog friendly without additional costs to dog owners and condominium associations need to change their rules on dogs and make all condos dog friendly. If most households have dogs and Florida doesn’t become more dog friendly, what is keeping people from finding somewhere else to live? We have investigated several cities throughout Florida and our search will continue.
DOGZAR is excited to begin our search for the world’s most dog friendly places to live.