In my humble opinion, Sydney has one of the most wonderful pet communities. Most weekends you can find a festival, market or pub event centred around pets - mostly dogs. We mark their birthdays or 'gotcha days' the day they were adopted with parties and photos that go straight to our pets very own Instagram page, shared with all our dogs Instagram friends - other dogs of course. They are a part of our lives and we want to bring them where ever we go. We treat them like our children and we love doing it, some pets you could argue live better than some children. For many they are the only children we will have.
It should come as no surprise, that the pet industry is one of the fasting growing sectors in Australia with pet owners spending a whopping 13 billion on pet services and products in 2019. There are vet visits, uber for pets, pet insurance policies, treatments, beds, grooms, outfits, treats, raw food, puppy school, day care, walking, boarding, training, photoshoots and even pet birthday cakes - basically anything you would spend on a child, you can spend on your pet. So why is it there is so much push back from councils, government and landlords when it comes to how to treat our fur kids? It seems that every other week there is a petition to keep a dog park or beach open, we hear of council threatening pubs and cafes with huge fines for allowing dogs into venues. They say it's a threat to health, yet 61% of Australian households have a pet that lives with them and those people aren't getting sick from this co-habitation, in-fact quite the opposite. The known benefits of pet ownership include increased mental and physical health - lower rates of cardiovascular disease, decreased loneliness and social isolation, and better immune systems. The flow on is less time lost at school and work and increased productivity and less stress on the health care system. More and more, Australians rent their home, 30% in 2019, and just about all of them with a pet have a story about how hard it was to find a place to rent that accepted their pet. The RSPCA estimates up to 30% of surrenders are because the owner couldn't find a home to rent that allowed their pet. It was homelessness or surrender. It seems like council, landlords and real estate agents are out of step with what matters and what benefits us. Is it fear of litigation? Nanny State over-reach? A few anti-pets people shouting louder than the rest? What's important is that we do what we do best. Support each other in nourishing this lovely community of people who care for pets and each other. If you know of a great pet friendly establishment, service or area, share it in a comment below, so we can continue to see the benefits for us and our pets alike. If you have any questions about your rights when it comes to pets, you can find information at the links below.