The Dog Blog: Cleveland’s YP Dog Owners

By: Andrew DeFratis, Engage! Cleveland Leadership Council UnknownPreface: I’m not a dog person. I haven’t had a dog since I was three. (That is, until my move to Cleveland in November.) I was raised in a cat family.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like dogs – it’s hard not to like dogs. They’re right up there with cats as some of the most popular things on the internet. On Facebook, I like nearly every picture of Marnie and my friend’s majestic Siberian husky that comes up on my newsfeed.

And boy does Cleveland love dogs! If someone didn’t pick up on that before, April 2017 certainly got the message across with the pet issue of Akron Life Magazine, the dog cover story of Around Kent, and my personal favorite – the launch of CLE DOG magazine, a free, completely “dogcentric” publication with fun and informative dog-related stories and tips.

Being a young professional + dog owner can be a tricky balance, which is part of the reason I was waiting for the right time to rescue. We all want that fur ball that's excited to see us when we come home from a long day, but I didn’t want her cooped up until I returned from the frequent after-work meetings and events (such as Engage! Cleveland) that I attend. Not to mention our millennial-preference for urban apartments versus a big backyard to run wild in.

Enter Dandy: the ten-year old Shiba Inu, who spent most of her life in nightmarish conditions, producing more than 80 puppies at an Amish puppy mill in Southern Illinois. She never barks, hates treats, but gets along fine with people despite where she comes from, if a bit easily startled.

With Dandy and I both being new to Cleveland, we want to remind you that:

Summer’s a great time to take advantage of all those lists of dog-friendly businesses. I had no idea so many awesome restaurants and stores were dog friendly. Still, probably a good idea to call ahead to confirm – especially if it’s a day the patio might be busy.

Every park can be a dog park! Okay, they may not have the double-fence entries, but we all know that Northeast Ohio has some of the best public park systems in the country. It's one of our local resources that I think sometimes goes under appreciated. Eager to take Dandy outside, I’m definitely going to be exploring new parks all summer.

Be smart about adopting in the first place. Coming home to my old, smaller apartment in the late evening wouldn’t have made a great life for a young, energetic Siberian husky. We waited until our lifestyle and schedules made sense, and found a dog that liked a lifestyle that was a bit less athletic – while still being able to enjoy a run to the beach here and there. And I cannot stress enough the importance of rescuing from and supporting our local animal shelters.


Andre DeFratis is a member of Engage! Cleveland’s Leadership Council. EC strives to attract, engage and retain young and diverse talent to the Greater Cleveland area. EC operated out of Fathom, which is a dog friendly employer. EC has additional done events where dogs can attend.