By Nancy Huang
Video by Kelsey Machala
Peanut, a mixed beagle, jumps onto her owners Jordan Tucker and Kennedy Paris when they come home. Peanut, friendly and excitable, circles the coffee table three times, barks at the window, and obediently sits when Paris tells her to.
Tucker, an English student at UT Austin, said that when she and her girlfriend decided to adopt a dog it was a split-second decision.
“Austin’s a really good place to raise a dog, but we wanted to adopt,” Tucker said. “[Our dog] Peanut moved around from one home to another, five total. Austin Pets Alive was doing a fundraiser with her and a few other dogs in a pen. We literally just looked at her and were like, ‘hey let’s keep her.’”
Such on-the-spot decision making was only possible because of how dog-friendly Austin is. “America’s Best Cities to Be a Dog,” a blog post published by air filter business Alen on Friday, lists Austin as number one in the nation for dog-friendly lifestyles.
Alen’s website states that Austin’s 167 restaurants, 15 dog parks, five hiking trails, three tours, and seven pet-friendly stores “provide a lot of options for visitors and residents to bring their dogs along most places they go.”
The website’s prominent criteria for ranking order was the BSL census (Breed-Specific Legislation), a list of states that have dog breed restrictions. BSL is a law that restricts or bans specific breeds of dogs because of their appearances or aggressive characteristics. 33 states have some form of BSL in place, while the state of Texas doesn’t have any.
The data collected came also came from nokillnetwork.org, a site with data on no-kill cities, and BringFido.com, which lists 315 dog-friendly restaurants in Austin.
Austin is the country’s largest no-kill city. No less than 90 percent of the dogs in local shelters are adopted out.
Paris, Tucker’s girlfriend, has family in Austin and grew up in a house of three dogs.
“Me and all my friends with dogs just get together with all our dogs and drive around the city to hang out,” Paris said. “There’s never really any trouble finding a place to hang out.”
According to Tucker, Peanut’s favorite place to go is the Zilker Dog Park, one of the main off-leash areas in Austin.
“She’s a happy nut,” Tucker said, before telling her dog how lucky she was to be in Austin.
Here is a graphic informing what the top cities in the US are to be a dog,