If I’ve been in a conversation with you for more than five minutes, chances are I will have pulled out my phone and shown you at least one picture of my dog, Littlefoot.
I can’t help it. I am officially one of “those” dog owners.
I even threw a birthday party for Littlefoot this year and forced him to wear a “birthday boy” bandana. And you know what? It was freakin’ adorable. And my friends got to eat Funfetti cake and enjoy free drinks for an evening. So, I think it’s safe to say that we all came out winners there.
Non-pet owners in DC often say to me, “Oh, I just can’t handle the responsibility” or “Oh, isn’t it hard to schedule your life around your dog?” (To which I always look perplexed and want to respond, “You know you are talking about responsibility to a girl that eats hummus several meals a week because she never has groceries, right?)
But these are valid concerns. Not everyone should have control over another living creature. In fact, I wish more people would adopt this attitude when choosing to procreate (cough* Teen Mom cough*).
Washington, DC is not always considered the most pet friendly city, but with the growing amount of dog parks and dog themed happy hours that reputation seems to be quickly changing.
Here are some tips and recommendations for keeping your DC pooch healthy, happy, and ready to rock in the nation’s capital:
1. Pet health care that won’t kill your piggy bank:
If you are like me, you might feel a wave of terror when you Google search “veterinarians in DC” and begin researching the results. It seems like every vet in this town has at least one horror story left in its reviews. While this is not uncommon, accidents and mistakes can happen to even the very best veterinarian, I still became increasingly afraid while searching for Littlefoot’s primary DC vet. This fear eventually led me to begin taking Littlefoot to Friendship Animal Hospital in Friendship Heights, despite the accompanying price tag and distance from my apartment.
To save money, I recently discovered the wonderful Washington Animal Rescue League. Each Wednesday from 5-7pm, the Washington Animal Rescue League offers a medical clinic for feline and canine vaccines. Dog vaccines are $10 each, while cats’ are $15. They also offer microchipping for $30. No appointment is needed, and there is hardly ever a wait time. The League also offers on every second Monday of the month, a free spay or neuter service for pit bulls. For more information check out their website here.
2. Fido wants to booze it up too:
Happy hours geared toward dog owners are gaining popularity in DC. Here’s a list of some of the places that want you to know that cocktails and dog tails can still be cool when mixed:
- Every Wednesday through September 28th, Helix Lounge features a dog happy hour from 5-7pm. Proceeds benefit the Shaw Dog Park.
- “Pooches on the Patio” is every Saturday throughout the summer at Union Pub. Dogs are also welcome year-round on the patio.
- “Argo-Mutt Happy Hour” is every Saturday from noon to 5pm at The Argonaut on H Street.
- Cantina Marina, in Southwest DC, has a dog friendly happy hour every Monday from 4-7pm. Seating is hard to come by and the food is slightly overpriced for the portions. But the view of the water at sunset almost makes up for these deficiencies. Almost.
- “Canines on the Courtyard” is hosted every Wednesday, 5-8pm through Labor Day at the Washington Hilton.
- Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own hosts a dog friendly happy hour daily from 4-7pm.
For more information on human drink specials and locations please see the links highlighted above.
3. Getting around DC with your pet:
Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats are allowed on the DC metro. But they must be caged or be a registered service dog. Since carrying Littlefoot around in an enclosed bag feels a little too Paris Hilton to me, I prefer to opt for the Dorothy and Toto style bike basket instead.
The initial list price of a Snoozers Buddy Basket may at first seem daunting (around $40-$50) but is well worth the price when living in DC with a dog that weighs 25 lbs or less.
The basket installs easily onto most bikes and can be taken off with the quick release of two buckles. It also comes with a built-in safety attachment that clips directly to your dog’s harness or collar.
With our basket, Littlefoot and I have the freedom to check out dog friendly places all over the city without having to put on some serious hiking boots.
The only down side is that tourists routinely point at us, screaming “that girl’s got a baby fox/wolf in her basket.” Apparently, I’m the new Steve Irwin. It’s totally plausible that I’m riding around with a feral creature in tow.
4. Bloomingdale specifics:
In my opinion Bloomingdale is the most dog-friendly neighborhood in DC. And since I live in Bloomingdale I do recognize my own serious neighborhood bias. But with the opening of the LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale Dog Park, I now feel justified in my pride. The dog park is brand new and has a friendly community feel. It is located at 3rd and V street, next to the community garden and new playground. The park closes daily at dark.
Bloomingdale also recently welcomed an all-natural pet store called Green Paws to the neighborhood. Located at First and Seaton Place NW, Green Paws offers environmentally safe products with an emphasis on pet nutrition and health. The owners go out of their way to supply any specific customer requests, and their dog Miles is usually on site to welcome human and other four-legged customers.
If you have any other helpful tips or pet friendly DC recommendations be sure to send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them below in the comment section. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get invited to Littlefoot’s next rockin’ birthday party.