Many people say that it is unfair to have a dog if you don’t have a yard for them to run in.
When we lived in New Jersey, neighborhood dogs who had yards to run in rarely if ever ran around.
Even worse, people who had yards to let dogs run around in never took their dogs for walks. The dogs asked to go outside, did their business, and asked to go back in. There was no exercising and very little socializing.
It was not until I moved to an apartment community that I saw well-exercised and well-socialized dogs on a large scale.
Here is a brief list of the benefits we have discovered of apartment-dwelling dogs:
• Walks — This may sound simple, but there is no let-the-dog-out option when you live in an apartment. Apartment dogs must be taken out on a leash for a walk at least a couple of times a day, every single day. This provides opportunities for exercise and socializing for both your dog and you.
• Dog walkers — Yes, there are dog-walking services in more suburban or even rural areas. The caveat to that is that the dog walker may not be centrally located, and so you will need to consider the travel time he or she would need to get to you on short notice. In an apartment community, especially one that has a liberal pet policy, a dog-walker could have multiple clients in the community, and will likely live locally. That can be a great thing. We have a couple of really good dog walkers right here in our building.
• Playdates — Once you and your dog make “friends” with your neighbors, you can invite them to meet at set times to walk together, you can make dates to meet at the dog park, or you can offer to watch each other’s dogs when the need arises. We love having doggie houseguests. As a matter of fact, we are hanging out with our neighbor, Hank, for two weeks while his mom is travelling. Stay tuned later in the week to read a profile of Hank.
• Networking — This is the best of the best of benefits of having an apartment dog. In a community that allows dogs, there will likely be a lot of dogs and a lot of dog owners to share ideas with. Through your dog neighbors, you will learn about local pet stores and services, including dog walkers; you will hear about what foods and medicines and toys work best and which don’t work well at all; you will learn about products and illnesses and cures that you would not otherwise have access to. It is a tremendous benefit and an invaluable resource.
I think my dogs have a pretty good life now that we are apartment dwellers!
Jill Aronson is an SLDogPAC board member who lives in the South Loop with her dog Leo.
© 2010 Jill Aronson. This article originally appeared at Examiner.com.