City dogs are different than suburban dogs. They know how to ride on elevators, aren’t the least bit phased when a RTA Rapid flies by and they know all about patio drinking (from a water bowl of course). City dogs have the life. They get the entire town as their play area. City dogs even get to go on multiple walks a day simply by default because a yard isn’t an option.
I was warned that taking a dog in and out of the apartment multiple times a day and in all kinds of weather would be less than ideal. I never saw it that way (well maybe on the negative 10 degree days). I went out and got the fresh air I didn’t even realize I needed, and as long as I was dressed appropriately, it was always enjoyable. I also had the perfect excuse to explore downtown. Nena (my boxer pup) and I would walk down by the lake just to catch the sunset or take daily outings to see how The Flats were coming along.
Having a dog downtown also made people nicer. If you live downtown and have a dog, you know it’s true. People are just generally not that friendly, meaning that most people have their heads down and don’t make eye contact with you when walking down the street. That may be because they’re on their phones (like you are now as you read this) or because they’re actually avoiding you.
Enter an animal and all of a sudden people are smiling, asking if they can pet your dog and cooing at your pet. I didn’t know a single person in my apartment building until I got a dog. Suddenly I had an excuse to make new friends. I had no idea that dogs were such great ice breakers (and probably great for picking up girls/guys).
Downtown Cleveland can be surprisingly dog friendly. Despite an overall lack of green space, there is a dog park along the river and poop bag stations are set-up all over the city. Mall C, Public Square, and The Flats are all excellent locations to take in the beautiful views of the city and find grassy areas for your dog to run around. As long as the restaurant has a patio, most places are welcome dogs and will even bring out water bowls for your pup (Beerhead in The Flats has a HUGE dog bowl and were incredibly accommodating).
While I had my doubts about living with a dog in the city, I now realize that I never would’ve experienced true downtown living without Nena. We were city people (and dog) and took advantage of the wonderful benefits of living in the center of it all. We always had an excuse to explore and check out what was happening in our neighborhood. I miss being the first to know what was going on. If you have a dog living downtown, I hope your taking advantage of it as much as we did.