A new online pet friendly directory has been developed by Auckland woman Michelle Costello. Costello spotted a gap in the market when searching for places to go with her dog. Trying to find information on where she could take her dog was "like pulling teeth", Costello said. Frustrated with having to cut trips short to get home to the dog, or missing out on meals because the dog could not come into the restaurant or pub, Costello came up with the idea for Pets Allowed.
Pets Allowed is a directory of all known pet-friendly businesses in New Zealand, catering to pet lovers trying to find a spot to walk with, stay with, or eat with their furry friends. The site lists pet friendly places, including restaurants, cafes, accommodation, parks and beaches.
Costello, who owns Dillon, a 10-year-old miniature schnauzer, said the site had been inundated, receiving more than 2000 visitors about 24 hours after going live. She currently had 1200 listings on the site but Costello had already received interest from other businesses, wanting to let her know they were also pet friendly.
Costello said she hoped to expand to get landlords and real estate agencies using the site to list pet friendly rental properties. People with pets often found it difficult to get rental accommodation.
Pets Allowed would also be looking at rest homes, she said. It was important for people to know which rest homes they could go to where they could keep their pets, rather than taking pets away from people who needed them most. Auckland SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said pets were therapeutic for elderly people so they should be encouraged to interact with animals.
Costello said she hoped the site would encourage more businesses to allow pets.