I’ve alluded to Tel Aviv’s dog-friendliness, but I do not think I’ve fully outlined it on the blog. This may, in fact, be dog utopia. There is a dog festival (Kelaviv–a portmanteau of Tel Aviv and the Hebrew word for dog) coming up this weekend, but I have been most impressed by the quotidian benefits of being a dog in this city.
Joyce’s pub puzzle for Dublin could probably be translated for Tel Aviv and parks. Seriously, it feels like there is a park (sometimes a mini park, but a park nonetheless) every other block. Within this plenitude of parks, 70 are also dog parks. Apparently, that is 1.3 dog parks for every 250 acres. When actually walking around the city, it means that we never seem to be more than a couple blocks away from a dog park. Many of the dog parks also have agility courses set up, which is great for Finnegan since his primary activity at the dog park is leering at the other dogs while they play, and periodically going up to them, sniffing them, and then running back to us with an expression of “can you BELIEVE I just did that?! Another dog! Their butt! Me!” Here’s a gratuitous picture of Finn being amazing at jumping on one of the agility courses:
In that picture, you can also see one of the water bowl set ups. All the dog parks have at least one water source–some have dog drinking fountains, others have spigots with bowls and jugs placed around the park, etc. At least one dog park also had a bookshelf:
More so than the dog facilities in the city, the responsibility of dog owners here has really impressed me. Everyone at the dog parks is very intent on making sure that the water bowls stay filled, or that there are full water jugs by the bowls so that it is easy to keep the water supply high for the dogs. Often at dog parks in LA, if dogs would bark or play a bit rough, their owners would immediately pull the dogs away, and leave. Here, people tend to let their dogs play a bit rougher, as long as the dogs are comfortable. If there are issues between dogs (either at the parks or in the streets), instead of pulling the dog away, people seem to let the dogs sniff each other and interact. Once the dogs realize everything’s fine, they chill out.
Dogs here seem to be a lot calmer than anywhere else I’ve ever been as well. I’m not sure if it’s due to the tactics described above, or just that dogs are allowed pretty much everywhere here. I think since the dogs are with their owners pretty constantly here (seriously, we brought Finn to the bank with us. Every bar and restaurant seems to have as many dog patrons as people), they just seem less anxious overall. I think wherever we move after Tel Aviv will probably be a serious downgrade for Finnegan, unfortunately.
Our block in LA had three poop bag dispensers along the sidewalk. When we moved there, I was thrilled that there were free poop bags on the street, and mentioned it to everyone as one of the selling points of our apartment. When the management of the buildings changed, they purposefully stopped stocking poop bags. The explanation was people who did not live on the street were using the bags as well (…to clean up their dogs’ poop on our street, but okay whatever. I’m over it. Not really). Here, in dog utopia, there are free poop bag dispensers in parks, on trash cans on the sidewalk, all over the city:
I’m not sure what it says about me that poop bag dispensers are the ultimate in urban luxury for me, but if I get free poop bags, I do not even care.