Savannah, Georgia aims to be the World’s #1 pet friendly city

By admin, October 24, 2015

Sleepless nights, in-house accidents, rooms scattered with chew toys.

We have a new puppy.

Which means fun, chaos and becoming acutely aware of all the places in Savannah that allow and even cater to dogs.

It’s similar to when you are buying a car. Suddenly you start noticing that particular make and model everywhere.

Now that we have a puppy, I am amazed to see how many dog-centric businesses Savannah has.

Here’s proof Savannah is the world’s most Fido-friendly city.

Savannah is teeming with posh small boutiques that specialize in fancy-pants, freshly-baked nutritional dog treats (even gluten-free ones) and premium dog products: Retail Retreat in Sandfly, which also offers made-from-scratch, custom doggie birthday cakes and pupcakes; Oliver Bentleys on York Street in downtown Savannah; The Grateful Hound off Ellis Square; and the ever-multiplying locations of Woof Gang Bakery. Woof Gang just started construction on a River Street store which is their third downtown location with a fourth on Broughton expected to open in the next four weeks.

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“Savannah is a very dog friendly town,” said Paul Allen with Woof Gang Bakery. “People we speak to say their travel plans are made around having their dogs travel, too.

The success of Savannah-based TailsSpin epitomizes just how much this city loves canines. TailsSpin and their dizzying array of upscale dog food and products has expanded beyond their Habersham Village location and now has stores in Pooler and on Whitemarsh Island. Which is pretty impressive in a town that has three of the giant chain PetSmarts (two in Savannah and one in Pooler).

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TailsSpin was on the forefront of getting Savannah’s first ever city dog park working with the community as well as local government agencies, resulting in the 3-acre Herty Pines Dog Park in Daffin Park.

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“The city council members are always so very open to hear about pet issues, said TailsSpin co-owner Jusak Yang Bernhard. “Recently, TailsSpin’s team went in front of the council, trying to establish an ordinance for pets in hot cars. Efforts are carried through in making Savannah to be the leader on this effort for the state of Georgia.”

More and more hotels, bed and breakfasts and restaurants are becoming dog-friendly allowing dogs and even offering fresh water and treats like Collins Quarter which gives out free dog rope chews at their walk-up window. J. Christopher has a dog menu. Blowin’ Smoke Southern Cantina provides dogs with a rib bone to chew on.

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Today’s Wag-o-Ween trick or treating for dogs in downtown Savannah is expected to draw more than 1,000 participants with 100-plus participating businesses.

“When you walk downtown you will see that there are complimentary water bowls for your pup to stay hydrated and clearly marked in-ground receptacles are available for disposal of pet waste,” said Barbara Justice, owner of Retail Retreat in Sandfly and mom to Juni, Retail Retreat’s store dog and mascot.

“Best of all though, we have lots of events that celebrate the incredible bond that we have with our four-legged friends: Doggie Carnival in Spring, Dog Days of Summer in August, the Responsible Dog Ownership Day in September and Wag-o-Ween in October just to name a few. In addition, we have amazing local rescue groups that have wonderful events with animals on site to adopt and opportunities for visitors to donate.”

But the one improvement that would make Savannah even more dog-friendly?

A dog-friendly beach, many dog-lovers say.

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Bernhard says we need to allow our pets to share in the experience of going to the beach.

“We can set a schedule and rules to allow this to happen,” Bernhard said. “By doing this, Savannah will gain much more tourists and visitors, enhancing our economy.”

Currently, to take your dog to the beach, you have to go to either Hilton Head or all the way to Jekyll Island or St. Simons Island, Justice said.

“Like any other dog owners here in town, I would love to see a dog-friendly beach or at least a point of entry to the water.” Justice said. “Dogs give so much, we as their owners want to give back to them. And that is best done at one of the local stores here in town. At Retail Retreat, we aim to drive Fido barking mad with excitement with scrumptious, made with love, all natural treats and unique accessories sourced worldwide.”

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