Source: GMA Network
Imagine a city where dogs are allowed in high-end restaurants, offices and on the red carpet. Now stop imagining and buy a one-way ticket to Tel Aviv, Israel (and bring your pooch, because they have a dog lounge at Ben Gurion Airport).
Self-proclaimed as the “friendliest dog city” (Jerusalem Online), Tel Aviv has one dog for every seventeen residents. Add to that over 70 dog parks, four dog-designated beaches and the ability for dogs to pop into pretty much any café, shop or restaurant, as well as all public transport and even taxis. According to Jewish News, the population of dogs has tripled since 1996, with an estimated 30,000 dogs living in the city as of 2016. Shelters have a no-kill policy, hydration stations are on almost every block and vet services operate 24/7 for strays. Israeli dog owners were even invited to attend a premiere screening of Universal Pictures The Secret Life of Pets on the rooftop of the Azrieli Centre on July 11 (Times of Israel).
Source: Times of Israel
So naturally, when National Dog Day rolled around on August 26, Tel Aviv wasn’t going to hold back on celebrations for their favourite four-legged residents.
Thousands of dogs and their humans attended the city’s first official dog festival. While their humans took workshops on canine homeopathy and “dog emotions”, every dog had his day with a range of canine activities including massages, manicures, eating samples of gluten-free organic kibble, trying on boutique collars, and visiting a sushi stall for dogs, reported the Times of Israel.
Source: Times of Israel
But there is something deeper at play here than just a city of dog devotees. Israeli experts on dog-human relationships claim that dogs are replacing children for those waiting longer to marry. Orit Hirsch-Matsioulas, an anthropology student at Ben-Gurion University, states, “We still have a very strong memory of our collectivist past, and dogs help us cope with the loneliness of the postmodern present. We opened the apartment door to dogs and made them part of the family. People understand their dogs as their own children.” (Jewish News)
Next year, Tel Aviv is launching DigiDog – a digital service giving city pet owners in the city personalised updates on dog-friendly events, deals, PSAs and services from local companies. That gives us enough time to pack our bags. BRB, moving to Tel Aviv.