Seattle is the dog-friendliest city in the U.S.! We are Number One. And we can't stop talking about it! All of those other cities are LESS THAN. (If I'm being totally honest, I just care about winning. I'm pretty blasé about dogs.*)
There was a report released last week that heralded Seattle as the BEST city for DOGS, but if you look closer it seems like this report is really just saying Seattle is the BEST city for one specific DOG APP…
Rover, the app that pairs your pooch with a dog sitter, and Redfin, a real estate brokerage company, teamed up to make this report about dogs because everything begins and ends with dogs in this city I swear to fucking god. Anyway, Rover is Seattle-based. So is Redfin. Their report uses data from both of their companies and it comes to the same conclusion: Seattle is the best place for pups.
Maybe it was my cynicism toward the explosion of dog culture (restaurants for dogs, hangout spots for dogs, Amazon's dog park... for dogs), but something about that conclusion made me pause.
For this report, Redfin gathered how many Redfin home listings used the word "dog" in them and how walkable a city is. But the most weighted part of the report seems to stem from Rover's data, which bases its findings on "highest counts of walks, dog walkers and sitters; along with total hours, minutes and distance per walk by each dog walker or sitter." Here, take a look at the numbers:
Somehow, with only 2 percent of listings in the area mentioning "dogs" and the sixth highest walk score, Seattle is the number one dog city. I'm generally numbers-averse so forgive me if I'm wrong here, but that math doesn't add up. Manhattan seems like it should have been the friendliest city for dogs since it has a 2 percent higher amount of listings mentioning "dogs" than Seattle and appears to have the highest walk score: 89. But it only gets a "4" as its Rover Rank, suggesting the report gives preference to a city's Rover Rank, based on data drawn from Rover's own sitters and dog walkers.
Rover confirmed in an email to The Stranger that its highest concentration of dog walkers and sitters are in Seattle. That makes sense. Rover started in Seattle. Rover also confirmed that they only used "Rover's data and Redfin's data." So if their Rover Rank is—once again—the total of the "highest counts of [Rover] walks, dog walkers and sitters; along with total hours, minutes and distance per walk by each [Rover] dog walker or sitter"… wouldn't the number one spot have to be Seattle? Unless dog walkers in, say, Albuquerque went on abnormally longer walks than walkers in any other city? This ranking is ultimately an articulation of which area has the most Rover dog walkers and sitters NOT which city is the best city for dogs.
Who knows what the number one spot for dogs truly is, but at least there's some good news: Rover, a Seattle company fiercely competing with the LA-based Wag, has some excellent PR for recruiting talent.
*Sorry, I have more thoughts on dog culture. It's tearing me up inside: I think corgis are ugly. Even corgi puppies are sort of dumb looking. This is unpopular but I also don't get why! I feel like corgis are one of those breeds the online community salivates over (yes, I know the Queen has them but didn't that used to make them unappealing?). This absolute obsession with dogs feels performative IN MY OPINION. Yes, dogs are cute, yes it's nice to see a dog when you're walking around, but who has the stamina to get excited every time they see a dog? I hate the words "doggo" and "pupper" and I want to lobotomize myself whenever I hear those words. I'm tired of parks becoming dog parks and I think there are too many golden retrievers IF YOU'RE GOING TO GET A DOG AT LEAST GET AN ORIGINAL DOG. I swear I like dogs, but I can't keep up with how much other people like dogs and isn't it expensive and time-consuming to have a dog HOW DO SO MANY OF YOU DO THIS I DON'T HAVE THE BANDWIDTH. I wrote a story about how a Seattle sports team was losing its space and someone emailed me about how dogs are losing their indoor sports spaces and I screamed into the void and I have not stopped I AM STILL SCREAMING YOU JUST CAN'T HEAR ME ANYMORE BECAUSE THERE IS NO POINT I AM DROWNING IN DOGS AND SO ARE YOU