Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dog-Friendly Long Island or maybe I should say Dog-UNFriendly




I am a frustrated Long Island dog parent. We love taking our pug Gatsby places with us and he loves being out and about and getting lots of attention from all the people we meet. Anytime and anyplace we have ever taken Gatsby, there has been at least one person that excitedly exclaimed "Look!" "A pug!" Gatsby wags his tail and gives them the puppy dog eyes and makes strangers fall in love with him every time.

I find myself becoming more and more frustrated with the dog laws on Long Island. There are way, way too many outdoor places that do not allow dogs at all. In some ways, I understand the reasons for the restrictions because I see how many people have dogs for the wrong reason and teach their dogs to be aggressive or do not socialize their dogs often enough. Laws should be taking dogs away from these people, not punishing responsible, loving dog parents.

According to LIdog.org, 45% of Long Island's population has a dog yet we can hardly bring our dogs anywhere. Long Island is not considered a dog friendly environment. According to LI Dog, current laws are outdated and do not reflect the current status of dogs in our society: a part of the family. So when we go on a family outing, we want to bring the WHOLE family...we want to bring our dog!

On Saturday, I am planning on going apple picking, followed by a trip to some dog-friendly vineyards. It never occurred to me that my dog would not be allowed to go to a farm!! I can not even tell you how many hours I have spent looking up U-pick farm websites and calling farms asking if I can bring my dog.  The best answer I have gotten so far is from Wickham Fruit Farm in Cutchogue who said when asked if their apple picking is dog-friendly: "Well, we don't really like dogs here but is your dog small...can you carry him?" I'm considering buying a baby sling for Gatsby...no joke.

I have an inquiry e-mail in to Lewin Farms in Wading River asking about their dog policies. I'm hoping they get back to me sooner rather then later. My frustration is not in vain though...it is making me proactive. I am going to try and devote a blog post a week to reviewing and informing Long Islanders about places that are dog-friendly. I already have a detailed list of Long Island vineyards that are dog-friendly and will be posting that this weekend. After that, I am going to seek out places that I can bring Gatsby and post about them here. Someone needs to get the information out there!!
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