"You have a dog and you live in an apartment?”
“Yes”, replies Mum.
“So… there is enough space?”
“Well, yes, I have all I need. The kitchen, living room, bathroom and my bedroom. And oh, there is also a balcony.”
Mum senses a sigh of relief goes over the stranger’s face. As if the balcony space makes it all better for her to own a dog.
Insights into Australian Pet Ownership
A total of 69% of all Australian households now own a pet, with almost 50% owning at least one dog and 30% owning a cat, according to a survey conducted by Animal Medicines Australia. that equates to roughly 5.1 million dogs, indicating dogs continue holding its coveted position in being the most popular pet of Australia.
However, some people may think dog ownership is more ideal if they lived in a house with a big backyard, and that apartment living is less ideal and restrictive due to the lack of perceived 'space'.
Being an apartment dweller myself, I can say that this cannot be further from the truth. However, it really does boil down to the type of dog you are, your temperament, the level of activity and exercise you require, and what you like to do during the day with the humans are at home, or not at home.
For me as a cavoodle/cavapoo (Cavalier King Charlies Spaniel x Toy Poodle), apartment living suits me just fine as I love sleeping at Mum's feet whilst she works during the day, taking a nap in one of my dog beds spread throughout the apartment or sometimes even on her bed! No big house nor a big backyard required.
Out and About in Melbourne
Approximately 35% of the dogs in Australia are found in Victoria. As dog ownership continues to rise amongst all demographics, it is therefore of no surprise why an increasing number of dog friendly places and options are popping up all over Melbourne and the rest of Victoria for us to enjoy, hence making it such a wonderful place for me to grow up in.
Melbourne, in its truest and most glorious form is vibrant, eclectic and energetic, and I believe, one of the most dog friendly cities. As dogs, we really have the ability to have a pampered life with the numerous options available to make sure we are always of the action:
- For the outdoors type: dog friendly parks (fully fenced or off-leash), nature reserves and trails, and dog friendly beaches for us to meet and greet other dogs and do some exploring
- For the foodies: loads of dog friendly cafes, restaurants, pubs, wineries, breweries where we can eat, drink, dine and wine alongside our humans. Some also have a dog menu so I can get my puppicino fix or a delicious dog cookie or two
- For the getaway type: hotels, Airbnb's and holiday stay homes where we are welcome to stay overnight
- For the shopaholics: retail shops which allow us to go inside with our humans and shop with them, and dog friendly markets where we can try and goods before we buy
As you can see, the word boring does not come to mind when it comes to describing what life can be like living in the city of Melbourne. After reading all this, what is it like for me, you may wonder?
A "Day in the Life Of" Lachie
During the work week, the alarm clock sets off at 7 am each day, and after a bit of cuddling (and snoozing on Mum's behalf), we finally get out of bed and it's up and out for our first walk of the day. It's usually a quick stroll around the block for my first potty break as I normally like to have my breakfast at 8 am sharp!
As soon as we leave the apartment, everything outside is a mine of opportunities. They say the world is your oyster. I say, the world is my playground. Every tree I get to sniff, every dog I get to greet, every neighbor or a friendly stranger I get to cuddle with; every single trip Mum and I make together is a new adventure. A smorgasbord of sensory experiences and fun memories.
We head back home for Mum to start her work, but whenever she needs a break, it is pick up the leash and walkies time. We either head down to one of the many dog friendly parks in the area (Fairview Park, Wallen Reserve, Grace Park, St James Park, Burnley Park), take a much needed coffee break at her favorite café just up the road (Finders Keepers); or if and when she has more time, we may head off a bit further out and explore the off leash trail which follows the serene Yarra River. There I get to run up and down the hills covered with trees, bark and fauna, and always at the end of the trail, I go in for a dip in the muddy river.
It is then back to work for Mum until the evening and after dinner is served, another quick one around the block to finish up the day.
On the weekends, it is more special as we get to go to my Dad's favorite café (Lights in the Attic) for more coffee. They know my parents and I so well they already start making my parent's coffee when they spot us heading towards the café, and I have a dedicated toy which I leave there and they take care of it while I'm gone.
I'm definitely part of my Mum's life and she involves me in all aspects as much as she can. Coffee dates, brunch dates, wine tasting, cocktails and beers in the outdoor courtyard of the local pub on a lazy Sunday afternoon, shopping for bedsheets, pajamas, cosmetics. If dogs are allowed, I'm there with her. Even though I don't live in a fancy house nor have a grand backyard, my days are full of fun activities and new experiences. Life is never dull.
About the Author: Amy aka "Lachie's Mum" currently lives in Melbourne, Australia. First time Cavoodle owner, proud dog mum, and devout gin drinker. Childfree, but not childless.