Is this the best place in the world to be a dog?
This metropolis might just be the most canine-friendly city on the planet. Find out why.
As the dog days of summer come to a close, there's one city where the party is still going on. Welcome to Tel Aviv, Israel, which is reported to be one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world – where it's common to take your pup to the store, a party or even the office.
According to the city, there’s one dog for every 14 residents – one of the highest rates in the world.
Last month, the coastal Mediterranean metropolis played host to a city-wide dog festival. Thousands of people attended workshops about animal emotions, got sneak peeks of new tech products for dogs, received free lessons from trainers and shopped for the latest in canine couture. There were also caricature artists on hand to draw that perfect picture of you and Fido, as well as therapists giving dog massages.
Of course, the dogs got to socialize as well. But that's nothing out of the ordinary in a city where dogs have their own dedicated beaches and more than 60 dog parks. The city also is home to an annual Doggie Run, which includes seeing-eye dogs for the visually impaired who want to participate in the 3.5-kilometer run.
Dogs in Tel Aviv also go to the movies together. Seriously. Earlier this summer, the city hosted a rooftop screening for pets and their owners to watch a hit blockbuster. So, which movie was it? "The Secret Life of Pets," of course.
"Dog owners note that Tel Aviv’s moderate climate, long stretches of coastline and largely flat terrain make it easier to own a dog here than in other cities," the Wall Street Journal recently reported. "Dogs also fit in with the generally informal vibe of Tel Aviv."
Its creative startup culture has given birth to several high-tech accoutrements for the canine set. Israeli entrepreneur Ron Levi created Dog TV, a television network to keep your dog engaged while you're away from home. Meanwhile, scientists in a Tel Aviv laboratory have developed a facial recognition tool for dogs. Tel Aviv native Tamar Geller is now a world-renowned dog expert who has trained the canine companions of A-List celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Affleck, Jon Stewart, Larry King, Ryan Seacrest, Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman. It's a city where some of the dogs are even famous on Instagram.
Gary Feurstein invented a dating app for dogs after he noticed all the pooches being walked around his Tel Aviv neighborhood. "I'm using the dog as an excuse for people to meet," Feurstein, who owns a honey-coated Bichon Frisé named Gribouille, told From The Grapevine. "It's the perfect icebreaker, it's the perfect way to start a conversation and get something going."
Indeed, owning a dog is not a bad entry point for human dating. A study conducted in Israel found that women find men with dogs more attractive.
It's no surprise, then, that the long history of dogs and their human companions may have started in this Mediterranean country. In 1977, a key find from an archaeological site in northern Israel established one of the first dates in dog-human anthropological history. The skeleton of a man and his puppy were found buried together under a house that could be dated to about 12,000 years ago.
Jennifer Bowman, an attorney from the U.S., moved with her family to Israel last summer. Their two dogs – a goldendoodle named Ted and a sheepadoodle named Lexi – also came along. They live in a suburban bedroom community outside of Tel Aviv with a park just down the street from their home. "Everywhere we go, people want to play with our dogs," she told From The Grapevine. "They're more popular than I am."
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Related Topics: Animals