Restaurants in Boston are not taking the above reservations, but as of this month, the Inspectional Services Department can approve variances from the Sanitation Code to allow restaurant patrons to dine with their dogs on patios. The background rule is: No live animals at food establishments, with limited exceptions (e.g., aquarium fish, patrol dogs, service animals in non-food prep areas). With the benefit of this variance, outdoor non-food prep areas can host leashed dogs.
Keep in mind in this new world:
- If your server seems distant from your dog, don't take it personally. No dog/employee contact is allowed.
- Does your dog climb like mine? If so, we'll both be working on a "paws down" command. Dogs need to stay off the seats and tables.
- Nothing changes about aquarium fish. All this time, we could have been dining with our bettas.
Worldwide, there are about 8 billion people and 1 billion pets. In the US, two-thirds of our households have pets. A 2021 report issued by Michelson Found Animals and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute showed that 4.6% of older Boomers have pets, increasing by generation to 42.6% of Gen Z/Millennials. Dining with pets was a matter of time.
Commenting in support of the variance, a local brewery focused on "cultivating an engaging community space" will not miss having to "turn away customers who showed up with their dogs." The theme of pets and community extends beyond dining. The 2021 report showed that 79% of high-rise/mid-rise residents agree with this statement: "My pet has brought me closer to my neighbors." All this, while residents in pet-friendly apartments stay 21% longer (about 10 additional months) and 83% of building owners fill their pet-friendly vacancies faster. Accommodating pets could shape up to be good for both business and community.