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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dog Friendly Downtown


The last several weeks have really been a blur for me. Between my 7-year-old and my 10-year-old, I’ve been to eight softball games, a couple of birthday parties, and a few school performances. All of this in the midst of planning and executing the Launch Event for the Saratoga Springs Dog-Friendly Downtown (DFD) Program which took place on Saturday, May 15. What a glorious day it was. The weather gods must have dogs—it was partly sunny and 65 degrees with a light spring breeze blowing.

When Adrianna Flax (from Saratoga Arts) and I got together last year to discuss organizing downtown Saratoga Springs businesses that were dog-friendly, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this program would have over 30 businesses opening their doors to our canine companions. However, with today’s economic uncertainty, it really makes fiscal sense. The DFD Program provides an opportunity for businesses to identify and market themselves as dog-friendly, hopefully reaching new customers and increasing sales. For locals and tourists, DFD offers an easy and accessible way to find businesses that cater to them and their dogs. Dog owners can identify dog-friendly businesses via a window decal that is prominently displayed by participating businesses. In addition, participating businesses are listed and linked on the DFD website (

The DFD Program has been so well received by dog owners, business owners and the community as a whole. On the day of the launch event, I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face as I strolled around town, checking in with the merchants and chatting with dog owners on the street. I have to say I’ve never seen our Downtown packed with more well-behaved dogs than I did on Saturday, May 15. My goal for this program was for owners to be able to come to downtown Saratoga Springs with their dogs and be able to spend the whole afternoon enjoying all the things that our great city has to offer from shopping in quaint boutiques to eating at sidewalk cafes and visiting art galleries. All of this and more is now possible with the DFD Program. Even though the launch event has come and gone, this program will continue to benefit both dog lovers and merchants for years to come.

P.S. I was thrilled to see the recent TD Bank commercial during the finale of the Celebrity Apprentice with Regis and Kelly announcing this national bank is now welcoming dogs inside their branches throughout the country. 

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