Austin ranked second best in pet friendliness

Janelle Polcyn

Dog is man’s best friend and Austin is one of dog’s best friends, according to a new ranking list.

Austin was recently ranked as the second-best city for pet friendliness by apartment search engine Abodo. The city has also landed spots on several other lists for pet friendliness and accomodations in apartments, parks and businesses.

Many businesses in Austin and surrounding suburbs welcome leashed or carried dogs inside. Pre-physical therapy junior Abigail Schacherl said this trend aligns with Austin’s accepting culture. 

“A lot of people here are open-minded and kind of accepting of whatever people want to do,” Schacherl said. “Pets are really important to the owners. If you accept someone’s pet, it’s like you are accepting that person almost.”

Government junior Steve Escamilla, who owns two dogs, said he saw the difference as a pet-owner in Houston, compared to Seattle and Austin, which are more dog-friendly.

“I moved from Houston to Seattle, and I had my black lab with me,” Escamilla said. “She really thrived [in Seattle], so when I moved back [to Texas], I chose Austin because of that aspect. I take my
dogs everywhere.” 

UT alumna Whitney Hill said she is not surprised at Austin’s ranking.

“There’s always someone or something talking about pets,” Hill said.

There are special accommodations for pets throughout the city such as numerous dog parks, water bowls at restaurants, fenced in dog areas at bars and dog-friendly apartment complexes. 

Escamilla said these policies allow dogs in Austin to become socialized. 

“My dogs are incredibly friendly,” Escamilla said. “It’s easy to have my dogs interact with [my friends’] dogs because they get to interact with other dogs and humans
quite often.”

The dog friendliness characteristic of Austin makes it easier for dogs to grow accustomed to other animals and humans.

“If you’re going to have your dog out in public, they need to have lots and lots of practice,” said Kathy Grosch, deputy director of Therapy Pet Pals.

Therapy Pet Pals is an organization that incorporates dogs into community service, using them for therapy, primarily for the elderly. They train volunteers and their dogs to go into hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living, rehab and state schools. Socialization and temperament are considered when choosing dogs for the program, Grosch said.  

“I think it’s important for the mental health of people,” Grosch said. “Dogs calm people and entertain them. We see that in schools.”