Friday, June 29, 2012

Charleston Is Charming, Hospitable And Dog-Friendly-Places And Events To Take Your Dog

The movie called "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World" is about a man who is abandoned by his wife after the two of them hear the world is coming to an end in twenty-one days. I have not seen the movie as of today, so I cannot comment about what could have triggered the wife's sudden change of heart or whether the movie even gives you a hint. One may be left to speculate. It is a tragedy of enormous proportions to be confronted with such an inescapable causatum, but even a greater calamity of epic magnitude when your closest, dearest friend deserts you at such a hermetic moment. Such a thing would not happen if that closest friend were a dog.

The profound loyalty of a canine friend is well documented. Likewise, the attachment people have to their dogs. Considering another scenario of dire prospects, in a study by the American Animal Hospital Association, over half of the respondents said if they were stranded on a desert island, they would prefer the company of their pet to a human companion. That is, more people would rather find themselves in a "Pooch Lagoon" situation than a "Blue Lagoon." In my opinion, I am thinking the majority of respondents were female and obviously animal owners. Men tend to be more superficial about who they would want to be stranded with and only a animal owner would answer in such a dogmatic fashion. Woof. Woof.

Following are some more interesting facts about people and dogs. Many believe (I'm not one of them) we owe our survival as the superior species to our dog companions or else the world would be ruled by Neanderthals. I'm guessing Neanderthals were not pet-friendly. On an average, at least 70 per cent of the people polled around the world always sign their dog's name on a greeting card along with the rest of the family names. When it comes to travel, more than 20 percent of vacationing dog owners take their pet with them in the car when they travel. These owners take their dog on an average of five car trips per year. In a TripAdvisor survey, more than half of the 1,100 pet owners surveyed said they would only stay at accommodations that were animal-friendly when traveling with their pets. Americans are increasingly making provisions for their pets in their wills, placing their pet’s medical needs over their own, and planning vacations around their pets.

There is only one obvious question that needs to be readdressed as far as I am concerned; Who really is the master in this symbiotic relationship? Humans leave their home everyday to eke out a living while the dog stays home and waits for them to return to cater to their every need. When the two accompany each other on shopping excursions, the dog is pushed around in a cart seated on a pillow provided by the human for their comfort. Like slaves to royalty of ancient Egypt, the human baths them, feeds them, manicures them, massages them, and showers them with gifts. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. The whole "I am the master thing" just doesn't make the cut.

So, 63 percent of all U.S. households own a pet. Thirty-nine percent of those U.S. households own at least one dog. With those figures in mind, the tourist industry has become more pet-friendly conscious. Whether you are a person planning on traveling with your dog to Charleston or a local, there are accommodations and restaurants available to cater to your particular needs. One of Charleston's finest restaurants was named after an abandoned dog that took up residents on its porch and greeted its patrons. The dog's name was Poogan and the restaurant is Poogan's Porch. Poogan is no longer present, but he is remembered fondly.

The Lost Dog Cafe on Folly Beach was likewise inspired by a dog, whose name is Hocus. Hocus had a bad habit of just "taking off" when he felt like it. It was from these stints of disappearing that his owners came up with the name for their beach cafe. As cafes go, it really isn't that unusual. The most unusual thing about the café is pooches are welcomed.

Lost Dog Cafe features an all day breakfast menu with burritos, bagel sandwiches, and good coffee. It is advertised as a place where locals and tourists can eat, meet, and mingle, a gathering place. If you like it simple, Lost Dog Cafe is located on W. Huron Ave. Out of 146 reviews, 92 percent give it a high rating.

Two other pet-friendly restaurants are 39 Rue de Jean in Charleston and Red's Ice House on Shem Creek. The Rue has outside seating available; dogs are allowed at the outer tables. They must be leashed and under their owner's control at all times. Red's allows dogs on the outside decks where the views of Shem Creek are beautiful.

There are specific events scheduled through the summer months with the dog owner in mind as well. Once a month the James Island County Park Dog Park has a "Yappy Hour" for Charleston's dog lovers where they can reward themselves and their pooch after a long day at the office with live music and beverages. The next "Yappy Hour" is September 17 starting at 4:00pm and going until sunset. Dallas Baker and Friends will provide the music. Dog Day Afternoon on September 13, 2015 affords you the unique opportunity to take your dog with you to Whirlin' Waters Adventure Waterpark. Large dogs will have a blast in the wave pool, while smaller dogs can take a dip in Otter Bay to cool off from the summer heat. The time is Noon to 5:00pm. Cost will be $15 for your dog and free for you. Click on dog-friendly attractions for the complete list.

Following are some pet-friendly accommodations. John Rutledge House and Wentworth Mansion have similar policies. Wentworth Mansion has Garden Rooms with easy access to the courtyard and lawn. If traveling with your dog, reservations need to be made by calling the hotel directly as there are limited rooms. A $25 per night fee also applies. The Inn at Middleton Place accepts pets under 50 lbs (exceptions may be made) and ask that while on property your pet remains leashed or crated while left alone. The Inn has miles of scenic pathways where you and your pet can explore the surroundings. A $75 per pet fee is required with a complimentary "pet bag" of treats and toys upon arrival. Kiawah Island Golf Resort allows dogs in the villas only for an additional pet fee of $10 per night per unit. Dogs must be kept leashed and picked up after. They are allowed at the picnic table seating of the Night Heron Grill. Tides Folly Beach has an $85 per stay pet fee.

Here are some pet-friendly tours. Tour Charleston Ghost Tours welcomes dogs on their ghost tours. They have dogs of their own who may be joining the tour from time to time. Carolina Polo and Carriage Company allows dogs on the carriage tours for no additional fee if they are small enough not to take up a seat; otherwise for a medium to large dog, the fee is the child's fee of $12. Dogs must be well mannered, leashed and under their owner's control at all times.

There are two off-leash city dog parks in Charleston. Hampton Park Dog Run is located at the corner of Rutledge Ave. and Grove St. near College Park ballfield, this park provides a great and convenient location for dogs to play around. Hazel Parker Park Dog Run is located just behind Hazel Parker Playground at 70 E. Bay St., which provides green space for downtown and visiting pooch's. For a complete list go to dog parks.

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