With a canine population topping 75 million, America is home to more dogs than any other country on Earth. According to the Humane Society, 47-percent of households have at least one.
With ample outdoor space, beautiful weather and activities catering to canines, St. Petersburg is known as a welcoming dog-friendly city. It boasts approximately 63 pet-friendly hotels, vacation rentals, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds; 6 well maintained and easily accessible neighborhood dog parks; and a host of retail and restaurants that make it easy for locals and visitors alike to be out with their pets.
St. Petersburg & Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™
In June 2018, St. Petersburg signed on to participate in Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ movement to make St. Petersburg an even happier, healthier and more welcoming place for pets. The initiative includes 12 traits of a pet-friendly city, ranging from collaboration to reduce pet homelessness to restaurants and businesses that are welcoming to pets. For the complete story, go to (www.bettercitiesforpets.com/2018/06/22/st-petersburg-joins-better-cities-pets)
St. Petersburg Dog Parks and Classes
The benefits of dog parks for pets, their owners and the community at large are well-documented. Dog parks provide a safe place where pets can frolic and socialize without infringing on private property or impacting traffic and access to more exercise, thereby lessening the amount behavioral issues such as barking. Behavior problems are the number one reason pets are brought to shelters or abandoned.
The following is a list of local dog parks. Note they open 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes after sunset.
- Coquina Key Dog Park: 3595 Locust St. SE.
- Crescent Lake Dog Park: 1320 5th St. N.
- Kenwood Dog Park: 401 20th St. N.
- Lake Vista Dog Park: 1401 62nd Ave. S.
- North Shore Dog Park: 901 North Shore Dr. NE.
- Walter Fuller Dog Park: 7901 30th Ave N.
Additionally, St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of canine classes, including dog training at the following facilities. Be sure to call ahead for a schedule.
- Azalea Park Recreation Center: 727.893.7150; 1600 72nd St. N., St. Petersburg, 33710
- Bay Vista Recreation Center: 727.893.7124; 7000 4th St. S., St. Petersburg, 33705
- J.W. Cate Recreation Center: 727.893.7751; 5801 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 33710
- Shore Acres Recreation Center: 727. 893.7758; 4230 Shore Acres Blvd. NE, St. Petersburg, 33703
- Willis S. Johns Recreation Center: 727.893.7756; 6635 Dr. Martin L. King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg, 33702
Dog-Friendly Locations and Accommodations
For visitors and their pets – here is a sampling of popular downtown places. For a complete list, you will want to check out (www.bringfido.com/destination/city/saint_petersburg_fl_us)
The Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Inn and Suites, St. Petersburg Airbnb Rentals, The Hollander Boutique Hotel, Larelle House Bed and Breakfast and Studio at Craftsman House Gallery & Café.
Here is a sampling of some of the 108 pet friendly restaurants that welcome dogs at their outdoor tables. Bon appetit! Three Birds Tavern, Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro, Green Bench Brewing Company and BellaBrava.
If you really want to spoil your dog, show him/her off to the world or meet other owners, try these fun October events – The Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Fest & PAWrade (Call 727-798-5499 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information) and the Annual Pet Walk. Proceeds of the Annual Walk benefit SPCA Tampa Bay, the only non-profit, open-admission animal shelter in Pinellas County where every pet who comes in gets food, shelter, vaccinations and medical care for as long as it takes to find them loving home. http://spcatb.convio.net
Bottom Line: At the end of the day it seems we value dogs for many of the same reasons we value people. They offer companionship, amusement, guidance for spiritual growth, a buffer against loneliness and an opportunity to care for another living being. Unlike humans, however, they don’t judge or place conditions on their love and ask little in return. Fortunately for those of us who love them, this extraordinary friendship is unlikely to change any time soon.
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz
The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, by Patricia B. McConnell
Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog, by Emma Pearse
Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family and a Whole Town About Hope and Happy Endings, by Janet Elder