The debate in my house in recent weeks has revolved around our upcoming summer vacation and our dogs. My boys want to bring the dogs along, but finding a pet-friendly vacation area isn’t easy. Sure, there are many places that have pet-friendly hotels, but I don’t want my dogs cooped up in a hotel while we are out because they aren’t allowed in the shops, the parks, or on the beach.
I started to wonder … is there such a place as a truly pet-friendly city? One where dogs are welcomed on public transit, in stores, and on beaches? If you are looking to move to a city where your dog is a part of the community, then consider Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, it’s too far for us to travel this summer, but the more I learn about Portland the more I like this gorgeous city.
The dogs of Portland even have their very own website – PortlandPooch.com. This site keeps dog owners informed about dog parks, dog-friendly apartments and rentals, dog-friendly businesses, and the businesses that cater specifically to pets – pet photographers, pet psychics, holistic pet care, pet massage therapists, dog boutiques, dog daycare, walkers, groomers … you name it, you’ll find it. There are even restaurants with sidewalk cafes that not only allow dogs, but cater to them.
Portland hosts several dog-focused events, such as Dogtoberfest, complete with pet vendors, music, and a street fair. The Dog Show on the Beach is an annual event where dogs compete in a variety of categories, with money going to a local animal shelter. The Rose City Classic Dog Show is a little more serious – it is one of the largest dog events in the US. Dogust Day is held every August and features games, a doggie splash, food vendors, and prizes.
You’ll find plenty of places for your dog to run, splash, and play – Portland has 32 dog parks, the nation’s most per capita. It is probably one of the most organized groups of pet parks I’ve come across – they even have their very own Facebook page. Sellwood Riverfront Park allows your dog to enjoy off-leash time to run, fetch, and swim in the Willamette River. The 1,400-acre Sandy River Delta is a great open space to take your dog – even though it isn’t designated a dog park, this vast delta is a popular place for pets and their owners.
Here are a few pet-friendly neighborhoods in Portland if you are considering visiting or moving to this pet-friendly destination:
Hidden Springs – Located in West Linn, Hidden Springs is a picture-perfect neighborhood filled with parks. It is near the Mary S. Young State Recreation Area, a 128-acre park where dogs can run off-leash.
Hillendale – This Oregon City neighborhood is named for Hillendale Park, a 16-acre wetland preserve. The community is near several off-leash dog parks, including the Lusher Farm Dog Park.
Northwest District – This unique Portland neighborhood combines a wide array of housing options with shops, restaurants, and bars. It contains several parks, including Wallace Park. This park contains an off-leash area for the dog in addition to play areas, ball fields, and public art.
Hazelwood – Wide open green spaces give your pet plenty of play space, while beautiful Cherry Park features an off-leash area.