Fighting like Cats and Dogs

Fighting like Cats and Dogs

I’m sure ‘dog friendly’ once meant you can bring your dog on holiday. That makes sense to me.

Now we seem to have dog friendly. Dog tolerant. Accepting of some dogs. Maybe a few cats. And Facebook threads that turn from “here’s my place!” to “Are you serious? You won’t accept MY dog? Here’s 74 reasons why you’re waking up tomorrow with a horse head in your bed”.


Why is that?


Just briefly. There’s a very simple reason. Just like we’ve gone from “accepting dogs” to the many many different levels of dog friendliness, humans have gone from having pets to having FAMILY that just happen to be in dog or cat form. I’ve trained Mana to cuddle me and some would say he’s more consistent than any human.

That’s why when an accommodation doesn’t cater for their loved one, they retreat to the darkest nether-region of their home to pound the keyboard and scream. WHY. WHYYY?!

I’m probably even one of the undesirables. With my boys. And I have a pretty great resume to prove we’d be stellar guests.


Is it discriminatory?


No. And that’s coming from someone who has a lot to gain by saying it IS. If I took the low road.

However if a holiday place bangs on about their supreme dog friendliness when they only accept teacup poodles, I may jump onto that road. Because at most, that’s the footprint of a baby bird.

Quite frankly, an accommodation provider (or business) can provide any restrictions, parameters, vibe they like to a customer. It’s voluntary to give them business. Screaming at someone for not catering to your multiple BMD’s is wasting time when you could be finding and supporting the places that are for YOU (Bernese Mountain Dogs – stop googling). 


Is it fair? 


If you’re a place that focuses on a beautiful design vibe or experience and happens to ‘accept pets’ of some types as a secondary mission, it should be VERY obvious to guests in the description and conditions. These places usually provide other perks that teacup poodle owners enjoy; luxurious dry-clean only textiles. Low hanging artwork where puppies cannot cock legs or lovingly sourced knick knacks that aren’t big-butt friendly. It’s ok. They’re allowed to do so.

However, big problems arise when this isn’t obvious.

I’ve heard very real stories where dogs have had to stay in the guest’s cars. Or couldn’t stay inside. And this information has only been on ‘checking in’ or reading the in-house booklet. Misleading is bad, guys. Misleading leads to cocked legs on your artwork.

And I do agree that restrictions on dogs should be absolutely front and centre with marketing, dog facebook groups etc.


Why does it matter?


I’m definitely guilty of highlighting the supreme dog friendliness of the cottages, if guilty is the right word. That’s because it’s my number two unique aspect (the first being the heart-centred experience that’s devised for every individual guest. Whether you realise it or not).

Potential guests on dog friendly accommodation threads get really frustrated when they’re presented with beautiful white-toned or sepia photos and the spiel of its amazingness. Shortly followed by ‘teeny dogs only’. And from feedback, truly dog catered (friendly) accommodation gets peeved also. Because you can’t stage houses like that and be really dog friendly. The pretty things might be eaten. 

It comes across like you’re trying to hijack a market. And I get that, because meticulously dealing with dog friendly linen for three German Shepherds and somehow making the place sparkle does not compare to washing the teacup that poodle sat in.


How do we sort it out?


Before we start screaming for daddy government or Airbnb (for example) to run in and categorise the 55 levels of dog friendliness for our comfort, perhaps there’s a better way. It’s a radical solution, so bear with me.

Places are upfront and honest about pet friendliness.

This may include backing off some of the really committed dog friendly threads and groups if there’s only a small contingent you’ll accept. People are passionate about their furry family on there and won’t stop coming at you for your teacup-sized acceptance. They’re ferocious and own keyboards. Ergonomic ones, even. They can tap for days without wrist supports.

The problem with this solution is it’s really, REALLY hard for guests to navigate on any multi-accommodation platform. So time consuming, disappointment after disappointment. This is why you end up with a horses head in your bed.


So where to?


I’ve always believed that any business/person/group can offer anything as long as they’re honest about what it is. I’ve built solutions in the past to match customers with business values and I’m in the process of doing this for the furry friendly world.

A way for your accommodation/site to be found and a stamp that says you’re declaring your pet vibe in an upfront, easy way. TransPETant? I’ll work on it. It’s high time we took the labour away from guests and understood they’re all after very different things. Something ‘dog friendly’ just cannot possibly cover these days.

Imagine popping to ONE site. Entering your pet numbers, size, etc.  Find places that only house teacup poodles, if that’s your thing. Choosing the vibe of the home or hotel (ie luxe or other). General budget. The fences. The distance from a walking track. Etc. Nobody is disappointed. The great equaliser that we didn’t know we needed.

PS if you’re an Airbnb employee thinking of nabbing this, think again.  You’d need three years of doodling to prove the concept and the platform removed the pet filter in 2021 for nearly a year.


Guest focused


It’s time to save people time. I’ve now personally written seven ‘references’ for guests to find beach or interstate accommodation. People sit there writing message after message to folk asking them to clarify their ‘rules’ or pleading for acceptance. It bites. There is going to be another way.

If you’re a guest or an accommodation provider with something to say about this (or an interest), pound that keyboard at me.


With love from my hounds and heart-driven homes (and one tolerant Indy cat) x Kim


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