Being a big fan of dogs, I was pleased, and surprised, that Buffalo has been ranked as one of the top ten dog-friendly cities in the US. Petlisted.com attributed the high ranking to “greenspace proximity, dog parks, walkability, and other metrics.”
It’s easy to see that Buffalo is a dog-lover’s city, but it wasn’t always that way – not by a long shot. It wasn’t until a few years ago that dogs were even allowed on restaurant patios – in the study, the ranking is still low in that category. Seeing pooches on patios is still not an overly common sight.
Buffalo is also a bit lacking in the dog park category – The Barkyard at LaSalle Park is nice, but man could it use some enhancements. Hopefully with the new and improved Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park (including an enhanced dog run), Buffalo pups will have a better time of it (and owners too).
The Olmsted Parks System (and other parks) is one of the reasons that Buffalo scored so high in the study – these are the places that the pooches want to go, even though there are no off-leash areas.
There are also no real “dog-friendly” beaches along the waterfront. Yes, there are dog owners who have found “windows” to allow their pups to jump in the water, but other than that, there’s not a lot for the hot dogs to look forward to in the summertime.
Buffalo scored in the 84th percentile for walkability.
To date, the best place that we have found for our dog is the Ellicott Island Bark Park in Amherst, NY. The park is a dog’s aquatic daydream, with all of the water access points to splash around in. Plus, it’s all off-leash – an entire island dedicated to the dogs!
If you ever do a search for “incredible dog parks” on the internet, you will find some pretty spectacular places out there. Personally, I love to see the ones that are akin to adventure parks for pups. Then there are the indoor/outdoor cafés that are actually geared towards the dogs, while their owners sit at a bar (coffee and/or booze) waiting for their furry friends to get tuckered out. Heck, at LaSalle Park, the dog owners just stand around anyways – why not give them a nicer place to hang out and wait?
I’m very happy that Buffalo is being recognized as a dog-friendly place, but that doesn’t mean that we should be resting on our haunches. Instead, we should be looking at ways to elevate the dog scene. After all, a happy dog means a happy dog owner. And there are a heck of a lot of dog owners in Buffalo, so let’s shake a leg!