If you are an obsessed animal-lover like myself, you probably wish that our companion animals were allowed to come everywhere with us, no matter where we go. As more and more research is giving scientific backing to the claim that pets improve our emotional and physical well-being, it seems that more and more places are allowing some wiggle-room in their “no pets” policy. In fact, a lot of places are abandoning them altogether in favor of welcoming our four-legged friends as customers, passengers, and visitors! Check out the following places that are progressive pet lovers:
- Public Transportation – Up until pretty recently, animals were not allowed on most (if not all) public transportation systems. Amtrak decided to change all of that in March of 2016, when they unveiled their new pet transportation policy. Each passenger is entitled to have up to one pet and/or carrier allowed with them on the bus or train! The only bummer is that the pet does have to be contained in a carry-on-sized carrier or tote – so it appears that the larger dog breeds (or even medium sized breeds) are left out of this scenario. But, this is a good sign that in the future hopefully the ones left out will be included eventually! Small steps are better than no steps at all, right? Eventually, animals will be able to go everywhere with us, and travelling with them won’t be a hindrance! Now, Greyhound just has to get with the program and follow suit with their own animal-loving laws.
- Hospitals – There are many hospitals in the last couple years that have slowly been opening their doors to animal visitors in order to help patients during their recovery and treatment. Not only have therapy and rescue dogs been allowed to visit the children, seniors, and everyone in between – but the patients’ OWN pets have been granted permission to visit them! Especially with long-term hospital patients who could use all of the love and cheering up they can get. Imagine spending days, weeks, or months inside of a room that isn’t at your home, and where you cannot see your loving companion animal. I don’t know about you, but even when I am apart from my dog for a mere few hours, I miss her dearly – I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing her for weeks or months! Visits from pets boost the patients’ morale and mood, which in turn encourages them to fight for a speedy recovery – there are many scientific studies that are finding links between animal companionship causing rapid healing among patients! A very basic explanation for this phenomenon is that animals put humans at ease (especially when they already have a strong bond), which relaxes the patient and drastically reduces their stress and anxiety. Since stress and anxiety is actually very physically harmful to the body and its organs/processes/bloodflow, their circulation is therefore improved, and their body functions more effectively which allows them to heal quicker.
- Homeless Shelters – The homeless population already has a difficult time finding a place to rest their head for the night, let alone finding a place that also allows their dog friend to spend the night with them. Some shelters are allowing their occupants to board their pet there overnight, which enables them to avoid separation from their animal. There are so many different situations of homelessness, ranging from a family whose sole provider lost their job, to a widow who lost her husband to an illness or accident. Many women who are victims of domestic abuse flee their home for safety, which then leaves the mother, her children, and all of their pets in need of shelter. Luckily, there are a lot of women’s shelters that don’t turn away pets in such situations! Especially in these harsh and difficult economic conditions, many people are only a paycheck away from being homeless, so a drastic and/or tragic life event can land them in a shelter, living out of their car, or even spending their nights on the streets. As the negative stigma and judgment around homelessness is changing, lots of shelters are realizing that when they allow pets, it allows them to care for homeless individuals more effectively.
- Gyms – Okay so in comparison to the other places on this list, this seems sort of insignificant. Most people can bear to leave their animal alone for the hour or two that they spend at the gym – but this is still a cool concept! Much like walking your dog gives you the motivation to exercise and focus on your own health, some gyms are not only allowing dogs to join their fitness activities, but they are catering to them and encouraging them to come! I don’t know about you, but this would actually make me want to go to the gym for once…I mean how hard is it to just get some doggy treadmills at the very least?
While we still have a long way to go before our society establishes an all-encompassing law that allows companion animals everywhere, we are making great progress! Just stop and think: decades ago, animals weren’t allowed at ANY of these places. For too long, “cleanliness” and “safety concerns” have been the excuse for banning pets from places, but after more places are allowing (or even encouraging) four-legged patrons to their businesses and facilities, they are finding that their conditions are doing nothing but IMPROVING! Everybody wins in this scenario – the business, the owner, and of course the animals.