Tel Aviv called. And I answered!
Eurovision is one of my favourite celebrations of the year – the meeting of countries, cultures and languages enhanced by the worlds of music, fashion and social media. For years I attended parties in London where everyone was encouraged to dress up as the country they were supporting and bring along the respective foods and drinks. That changed last year when my beloved home-country won the festival and I just had to travel to Lisbon to enjoy it in situ. For quarter-finals, semi-finals and the actual final, we either entertained guests at private house parties or attended Eurovision itself. It was the first time in 51 years of participation that Portugal won the contest and therefore hosted it the year after. We put on a great show and that wasn’t limited to the venue or the show itself, visitors were delighted by the warmth of the Portuguese people, the flavoursome food, the cheap prices, the stunning architecture, the temperature, the landscape, the wines. It would prove hard to outdo Lisbon.
Being a huge fan of Tel Aviv and not knowing any other cities in Israel, I was very excited to travel out a couple of days before the actual final and at last be in the city for leisure and not (as always before) for work. To my surprise, every literature I read told me that this is the most dog-friendly city in the world, with 1 dog for every 17 humans. This may not sound like a lot of dogs to you (like it didn’t to me) but it all becomes apparent the minute you step outside and count a dog every 5 to 10 seconds. They’re everywhere: on the streets, on the beaches, inside and outside cafés, in cars, bicycles and motorbikes. They also make regular appearances in TV adverts and road billboards. This made me decide to dedicate a whole blog to Tel Aviv and how dog-friendly it is. Welcome to our May DogBlog from Tel Aviv!
I started researching, looking for dog-friendly businesses. It proved tricky, they don’t really label businesses like that. Only allowing dogs outside doesn’t necessarily make businesses unfriendly to dogs, since they’ll still offer water bowls without you asking, a dog treat and a cuddle. Equally, allowing your pets inside doesn’t mean that they will interact with them. But what really got me was people’s reactions when I asked them what cafés, bars and restaurants allowed dogs inside. Their faces, trying to understand my question, showed me that they weren’t used to being asked this. And eventually someone replied: “Why would we take them inside in this weather?”.
That made a lot of sense to me and contrasted greatly with London – and the whole of Europe – where the weather isn’t as kind throughout the year. Tel Aviv can reach 30°C in Winter and 40°C+ in Summer during heat waves. And even though the locals wouldn’t dream of going to the beach in December/January (I’ve been called mad for actually swimming in the sea then), tourists are glad of these temperatures in the middle of Winter.
So this willingness to sit outdoors with their dogs means that Tel Avivians aren’t that bothered about whether businesses are dog-friendly or not. Those I asked told me that they often assume that they can take their dogs anywhere unless told otherwise. This applies especially to cafés and bars, not so much to restaurants. These days you’ll even see dogs inside shops, although this really depends on the owners and managers.
Either way, even those businesses which don’t allow dogs inside, always place bowls of fresh water outside. Equally, lots of bars and cafés have dog treats available, sometimes for a small fee, sometimes free of charge.
Dogs in Tel Aviv are such an integral part of the community that you’ll see them accompany their owners when they’re out walking, jogging, cycling, roller-blading and eating/drinking. Hopefully, with time, some of these things will rub off on Europe – and the UK specifically – including the good weather.
For more ideas and recommendations, try:
Bars & Pubs – http://letmydogin.com/bars-pubs/
Cafés – http://letmydogin.com/cafes/
Restaurants – http://letmydogin.com/restaurants/
Shops – http://letmydogin.com/shops/
Photos and videos of your dogs, as well as business reviews, are always welcome on our Facebook and Instagram accounts
Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.
Top contributors in the last month:
1 – Dawn Scrivens
2 – Naomi Dunleavy
3 – Michelle Sharp
4 – Amanda Mcmullon
5 – Anitta Autumn
In the last month alone, we had a total of 1225 posts, comments and reactions. Keep ’em coming!!!!