Pets are part of the fabric of our lives, and it’s no wonder that so many people want to get involved with their local pet community. From meeting new people to volunteering your time, there are plenty of ways to get involved and make a difference.
Building good relationships with other pet owners and fostering a close-knit community of pets where both can mingle is one way to get involved in your city. Pet-loving neighborhoods have been shown to have lower rates of crime and are more durable, long-term communities.
Whether you are new to your neighborhood, or a seasoned pet parent, you can get involved in your city’s pet community at any time. In fact, there are plenty of ways to get involved without even having a pet. Here are 9 ways to get involved with fellow pet owners and enthusiasts in your very own city.
1. Let’s go for a walk!
Starting out by taking a walk with your dog, which can be a great way to get acquainted and connected with other pet owners in your city. The goal of this activity is not only to get exercise together, but also to interact with other people and their animals. Plus, taking a walk can provide some mental stimulation for your furry friend too!
In a city, it’s common that other people will be out walking their dog(s) at the same time. Before and after work, midday, late in the evenings, etc are the most common times.
There are plenty of ways to get involved as a pet owner in your city simply by walking. Have you ever thought about joining a local dog walking club or going on walks with other pet owners in the area? There are many local groups that hike or walk with pets. These groups often have Meet-ups and Facebook pages where members can post details about upcoming hikes and events.
By taking a leisurely walk with your furry pal, you can mingle with other pet owners in your city and perhaps even make new friends! Besides getting exercise, you’ll have the chance to meet other animals and their owners.
If you have human friends, neighbors, or relatives who also have dogs, and you know that those people give their dogs the same care and training that you do, set up a playdate.
First-time meetings should take place on neutral territory, like a park or a dog beach. Neither dog should feel like they have to defend their home from a potential invader. Let the dogs play, and see how they react to one another.
2. Head to your local dog park
Discover the ultimate spot for your furry pal to socialize and have fun with new friends! A local dog park provides an excellent opportunity for your pooch to interact with other dogs, while you connect with other pet parents.
A visit to the Dog Park (or regular walks around the neighborhood) gives humans and dogs a great conversation starter. For canines, it’s quite simple as they just need a few barks and sniffs to find a new friend. On the other hand, it is a little more complex for humans to interact with unknown people.
And, if you’re feeling a bit introverted, let your pup take the lead in meeting new people. As your dog makes new buddies, you’ll get to form lasting relationships with other dog enthusiasts in your area. Dogs are great facilitators of social interaction, especially among strangers. They act as a bridge between two completely different people to form a strong bond of friendship between them. Let’s go over a few methods that can help you (and your furry companion) make new friends at the dog park.
3. Check out pet activities happening around you
There are many pet-related events and activities happening in your city that you can get involved in. Some of the events include dog park open houses, holiday-themed parties, pop-ups, street fairs, pet adoption drives, and pet shows. You can also look for local pet-related groups or clubs to get involved with.
A local day care or pet boarding facility may even host events from time to time, encouraging local residents to join and hear more about their services and offerings.
These events are also usually tied to charitable organizations that raise money and awareness about pet adoptions and other great causes. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other pet owners. So check your local event calendar and join the fun!
4. Make frequent visits to pet friendly places or restaurants
There are a number of ways that you can get involved with fellow pet owners in your city. The amount of pet-friendly places around you may surprise you, and until you actually search for “pet friendly places around me,” you may not even be aware of all that there is to offer. There are many cafes and restaurants that are pet friendly (typically offering outdoor dining options), and you can meet different pets and pet owners there and indulge them in fun activities.
Be sure to make frequent visits to pet friendly places including dog parks and dog beaches, dog shops, pet cafes and more. Talk to your neighbors about their pets, and see if there are any local places that they enjoy going to.
Dining with your dog is a great way to meet other pet parents who also came to enjoy a meal with their furry friends. You can strike up a conversation with them while your pups get to know each other too. This is a great way to train your dog to be in public and have many people wanting to come up to it and pet them – because they are just so darn cute!
5. Volunteer at animal shelters
Animal shelter employees and volunteers are a rescue pet’s temporary family before they find their forever home. While agreeing to give your time to a shelter means signing up for the less glamorous tasks, it’s a wonderful way to care for animals in need, as well as give something back.
Animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to help with different tasks. Some common tasks include walking dogs, feeding animals, cleaning cages, and providing love and comfort to the animals. It may even include helping with fundraising or gathering supplies.
You might find information regarding these shelters by a simple google search, or even through social media. Animal shelters are often in need of volunteers who are able to work around other people and pets, so it is important to be comfortable with both. If you are interested in volunteering at an animal shelter, you might even find that you are interested in fostering a pet in need. It will be a great way to bond with animals and other pet lovers.
See also: 10 Reasons Why You Should Foster a Pet
6. Take your pet to pet salons or a pet spa
These businesses offer services such as haircuts and baths for pets, as well as massages and other treatments. Additionally, many offer adoptions or fundraising events to support local animal shelters. By getting involved with pet salons and spas, you can help promote responsible pet ownership and support local animal shelters as well as get to know other pet parents. Your pet will appreciate coming along for a day of pampering and socializing.
7. Visit the vet
If you're like many pet owners, you probably feel guilty when you have to take your furry friend to the veterinarian. Whether it’s for a simple checkup or a serious concern, taking your pet to the vet is important – it's just like taking your child to the doctor.
Veterinarians are experts in animal care and can treat your pet for a wide variety of issues, from simple vaccinations to more serious problems. Most of the time when you are taking your pet to the vet, you have to wait in their waiting room for a period of time. This is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone sitting near you. You never know where the conversation will go, or who you will meet.
8. Join pet-friendly social media platforms
There are a variety of social media platforms that are perfect for getting involved with pet owners in your city. Some popular platforms include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. You can use these platforms to connect with people who share your interest in pets, find information about local dog walks and meetups, and more.
Most cities have Facebook groups for dog parents, local parks, or neighborhood news. These are great places to start. It is also important to remember that not all social media platforms are created equal when it comes to interacting with pet owners. Facebook is often considered the most social platform around, while Twitter is more focused on current events. Instagram is unique in that you can post photos and videos of your pets and engage with people worldwide.
Online communities can be a great place to ask for advice, exchange care tips, and just bond over shared experiences. Some of these apps and "petworking" websites help users find a potential significant other that shares their love of man’s best friend, while others are more platonic. Either way, you get a chance to spend time with pet owners you may have never met otherwise. Whatever platform you choose, be sure to be respectful of other users and make sure to follow guidelines set by the platform itself.
9. Socialization classes help!
Dogs have social rules, just like humans do. Puppies often start learning these rules by interacting with their mother and siblings, but it's important to continue that learning process as puppies grow to adulthood.
A socialization training class is a great place to start, as you can rely on the expertise of professionals while meeting other dog parents and pups who can potentially be good friends with your dog.
Imagine trying to make friends when you don't understand proper manners, body language cues, or how to express your needs and wants in a healthy way. It would be hard for you to do, and it would be equally hard for your dog.
Give them the training they need so they can have good interactions with other canines.
Pets Can Build Unexpected Connections
Your furry friends have some tricks to teach you about getting along with others. After all, if dogs and cats can live together in harmony, shouldn't humans be able to set aside their differences?
In addition to interacting with your neighbors, you'll meet all kinds of people with your dog, whether you're at the park or hiking. Pets have "the social lubricant effect.” In other words: They practically guarantee that you're going to engage with others. You're much more likely to strike up a conversation if you're walking with your pet than if you go walking by yourself. They might even help you make friends as an adult, which is increasingly difficult to do.
This conviviality even extends to the office. Research on pets in the workplace suggests they help us collaborate with others and can decrease stress. We're more relaxed with our pets around and more interactive with one another.
Dogs and cats can also help you feel more in tune with others. It's thought that animals have a unifying effect when they're in our presence. They've been described as 'ambassadors from the natural world' who provide us with restorative power. Mutual love and admiration for our pets can help us identify a common ground, which can lay the groundwork for cooperation.
Pets and Our Health
There are many direct physical and mental health benefits of owning a dog (or pet). These include increased physical activity, which can help you lose or maintain weight; lowered blood pressure; and reduced stress. When a dog owner looks into their pet’s eyes, levels of oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” is increased in both owner and pet. This helped further cement the bond between the two.
Pets may also indirectly improve health by fostering social connections, which are good for long-term health. An analysis of several studies on the topic found that people who have solid social networks are 50% more likely to live longer than those with limited social networks. In today’s go-it-alone world, many people have trouble making connections. Pet ownership may be one key way to meet and interact with others.
Pets can be your closest friends, they give pure, unadulterated love. So, connect with different pets, like-minded pet owners, pet groomers, vets and a lot more to give your pet the pamper and care they deserve. There are many ways to get involved with pet owners in your community. Whether you volunteer at a local animal shelter, join a pet owners group, organize pet-friendly events, participate in local pet-related activities, or offer pet-sitting or dog-walking services, there are many opportunities to connect with other pet owners and make a difference in the lives of animals.