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I went to the World Animal Day site and was totally floored by the hundreds of participating organizations from the world over! It really gives my heart a boost to know Americans are not the only people out there devoted to celebrating the human-animal bond. I am thinking of organizing an animal blessing event in Minneapolis this year. It will no doubt be very small scale, but it will be a start. More on this later…or, if someone reading this already knows of an organized event I can volunteer to speak at/perform a group blessing—I am an animal chaplain after all—in my area (or elsewhere if my travel expenses can be covered), I’d love to avoid reinventing the (hamster) wheel. 🙂

You can contact me directly at <> with ideas and/or suggestions.

Gracie O'Malleys—photo by Anne Anderson

Gracie O'Malleys—photo by Anne Anderson

Dearest Blog,

I was wishing, as I often do, that I could more easily bring my dogs with me into stores and restaurants when leaving them waiting for me in a sweltering car would be, in short order, a death sentence for them. The Europeans certainly got at least one thing right—they allow pets to accompany their humans just about EVERYWHERE—grocery stores, restaurants, trains, etc.! (I know this from my sister, Diane, who was a globetrotting flight attendant with United Airlines for many years, not because I’ve been off of U.S. soil myself. Now, if they’d just catch up in the smoke-free public places notion, I might hop a plane myself…)

Musing about the pros and cons of animal companions in currently humans-only places in the city, I dug out a news story I’d written in March 2006 for the Downtown Journal in Minneapolis. Here’s an excerpt: “Dog owners are your best eyes and ears on the community. Dogs and their owners are often out on the streets four-plus times a day,” said downtown Minneapolis resident and dog-owner, Katrina Mitchell. Traveling in our own makeshift packs, with “walking buddies,” may ensure safety in numbers, as well as increase a sense of community and promote healthful exercise for dog and owner alike.

“Out, out, damned Spot” On the flip side of the discussion, some folks strongly desire dog-free zones. Ken Sherman of the Sherman Group who recently purchased the Wyman Building (400 1st Ave. N.) immediately ousted 15 longtime resident office pets when his company took over the building’s management. “We don’t allow animals in our buildings. Animals belong at home,” he said. “We had issues with dogs walking through spaces, people-with-allergies issues.” He said he even knew of a Shetland pony that was brought in by a photographer in a building that allowed animals. Although he owns two dogs himself, he said: “I love my dogs, but I don’t feel I need to take them to work. I don’t think it’s a healthy or necessary thing.”

Dog-inclusive places, however, seem to be widely approved of and even sought after across America. “In Top 10 lists for bests cities to live in, Portland (Oregon), Seattle (Washington) and Austin (Texas) are consistently listed, in part because they’re so dog-friendly,“ said Mitchell. New York and California are sited as the most pet-friendly states overall. Portland has myriad companion-animal-related businesses, such as daycares, dog washes, dog parks, pet boutiques, spas, bakeries, massage studios, burial services, pet psychics, waste removal companies and pet photographers. There are also 268 listed dogs-welcome apartment buildings and 13 dog-friendly restaurants.

One such restaurant, the Lucky Lab Brew Pub, features a large covered patio with 30 picnic tables where there are a water faucet and drinking bowls, as well as doggie doo-doo bags provided.

See Spot Take the Spotlight—Clearly, I’m not alone in wanting my fair city to become more canine inclusive. I’ve nabbed the home page text from the Minneapolis-based website <>, shown here: Welcome to the Twin Cities Dog Lovers website, where we boldly take the dog and its owner where no two have gone before—together. Whether it’s movies, dining, travel, theatrical performances or special outings, we are working on fun ways to unleash the limits on what you can do with your dog and open up a whole new way of living for both of you. You’ll also find great resources, real-life stories, movie and book reviews, restaurants, dog-friendly businesses, and lifestyle links for people devoted to their dogs. We invite you to share to share your own stories with other Twin Cities dog lovers and encourage you to keep vital the love of dogs and a greater acceptance of their place in society.

Hmmm, sounds worth digging deeper into this concept. Look for more on this in future blogs.

Sincerely, Sid

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