Feature: Wine with canine

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Gourmet Pawprints is a business started in 2013 that offers dog-friendly winery and vineyard tours around rural Victoria like Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Daylesford. The stops along the guided tours, which come in full or half day, are all dog-friendly and may include wine and cider tastings, morning tea, a walk along an off-lead beach, ball play and a gourmet lunch.

This is one of Australia most loved dog-friendly businesses and when talking exclusively to Gourmet Pawprints’ owner, Kerry Watt, she says, the business came about after she did not want to leave her own four-legged friend at home.”Dogs are part of your family, which means they go with you where you go. If people work full-time they want to be with their dogs on weekends.” With Gourmet Pawprints, the best part is “getting to enjoy a fabulous outdoor lifestyle with people who love to spoil their pooches” and “meeting great people who love their dogs.”

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Watt says, “For a dog lover you are severely restricted in Australia where you can take your dog. In the US and Europe dogs are part of the fabric of society. They are in hotels, pubs, restaurants, trains and buses.” For example, one of her biggest challenges was attempting to source a 50-seater bus: “I made about 50 calls to find companies that would accept dogs. They’ll take blokes on bucks’ parties but not so many take dogs,” she says.

When asked if Australia should encourage more dog-friendly facilities, Watt says, “Yes with proper education about how to interact with dogs and an understanding of dog behaviour”. And we totally agree! There is plenty of time for pooches to socialise and play on Gourmet Pawprints tours but Watt makes sure that there is no anti-social behaviour. All dogs on the tour must be desexed and vaccinated and of course, friendly and well-trained both on and off leash.

You can find more about Gourmet Pawprints at: http://gourmetpawprints.com.au

 

Why is dog ownership so important? Health improvement

FACT: Pet ownership improves our mental and general health

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It has been repetitively confirmed by scientific research over the years that owning pets has substantial benefits to our wellbeing.

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  • Pet owners reported fewer doctor contacts during a one year period than non-owners
  • Presence of pets in home develops the immune system, especially in children, so that it is less sensitive to allergens and asthma in later life.
  • Children from pet owning families have less school absenteeism through illness, and are more likely to have normal levels of immune function.
  • Pet ownership is significantly associated with better attendance rates across all primary / junior classes at school.
  • Pet owners have greater self esteem, undertook more exercise, and are better able to cope with social rejection than non-pet owners.
  • Pets provide a powerful buffering effect against grief and stress; stroking a pet has been proven as an antidote to stress.
  • Study of elderly persons who had recently lost a spouse, pet ownership and strong attachment to pets were associated with significantly less depression.
  • Pets are scientifically proven to improve cardiovascular health: non-pet owners are more likely to die from a heart attack.
  • People talking to and petting a dog have lower blood pressure than when they interact with another person.

Dog of the week: Rufus

Every week we will feature an Australian canine who is excited about the #PawsPermitted campaign and shares with us their favourite dog-friendly businesses and public facilities that allow them to be their true, happy and socialised selves!

Our ‘dog of the week’ this week is Rufus who lives in Newtown, Sydney. Thanks Rufus and his owner, Paula, for supporting the #PawsPermitted campaign! If you would like to participate, we’d love to hear from you. You can get started simply by sending through your dog’s photo through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/pawspermitted.

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Why is dog ownership so important? Exercise.

FACT: Pet owners exercise more

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Over half of all adults in Australia do not meet the recommended level of physical activity necessary for health benefit (Cutt, Knuiman &Giles-Corti 2008) – around 30 minutes each day. However, there is strong evidence that dog ownership can provide important benefits in terms of promoting physical activity: pet owners generally walk and run more than non-pet owners, thus meeting the standards for physical activity for a healthy and happy life.

According to a study by Australian researcher, Dr Hayley Christian from The University of Western Australia, people who acquired a dog increased their recreational walking (e.g. going to the beach or going around the neighbourhood) by 48 minutes per week compared with an increase of only 12 minutes per week for people who did not acquire a dog. Furthermore, transportation-related walking (e.g. walking to local shops instead of driving) also increased with dog ownership.

TIPS: Spice up your canine-human exercise time

Not a fan of walking around your boring neighbourhood? Try these activities that both you and your pup can enjoy (and still get some exercise done!):

  1. Dog yoga for the smaller breed dogs (yes there is such a thing!)
  2. Bushwalking/local trail walking offers a new and exciting route (and scents for your canine friend!)
  3. Go swimming in a pool or at a dog-friendly beach
  4. Dog agility classes are an excellent bonding exercise between dog and owner
  5. Rollerblading are for the dog owners who think walking is too slow of a pace
  6. Charity/community walks: walk and talk at the same time with like-minded dog owners of your community

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Dog of the week: Lennon

Every week we will feature an Australian canine who is excited about the #PawsPermitted campaign and shares with us their favourite dog-friendly businesses and public facilities that allow them to be their true, happy and socialised selves!

Our first ‘dog of the week’ is Lennon who lives in Fremantle, Perth. Thanks Lennon and his owner, Alexandra, for supporting the #PawsPermitted campaign! If you would like to participate, we’d love to hear from you. You can get started simply by sending through your dog’s photo through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/pawspermitted.

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Dogs allowed!

According to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), more than 63% of Australian households own pets, with 39% owning a dog. That is approximately 19 dogs for every 100 people. In addition, 91% of current owners have said that they consider their pets a part of the family.

However, while Australia has one of the highest pet ownership in the world, the social problem is that we are not particularly welcoming when it comes to integrating dogs into the public community. Besides registered service dogs, Australia does not allow them on public transport or in most restaurants, shops and workplaces. The problem is not that dog friendly facilities do not exist in Australia, it is there is not enough.

The lack of such dog-friendly amenities is taking its toll and pet ownership rates in Australia is rapidly declining, with dog population dropping by 100,000 in 12 months alone. Exercise and socialisation is especially important to a domestic animal’s wellbeing and thus little access to outdoor public areas makes pet ownership a lot harder and less enjoyable in Australia.

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“Paws Permitted” is a social media campaign designed to promote the integration of dogs into public spaces in Australia. Instead of being locked away in backyards and missing out on important socialisation, dogs should be allowed to come alongside their owners in shops, parks, workplaces and rental homes and on public transport.

We call them a man’s best friend, yet why are they not welcomed into society? Let’s make Australia a more dog-friendly country.

 

You can find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pawspermitted

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pawspermitted