Being the new kid stinks. It’s no fun in school when you need to pick a lunch table and don’t know anyone. It’s no fun at a new job when everything is overwhelming and new. It’s definitely no fun in a new city when you still get lost going to the grocery store.
The good news is your best pal is there to give a helping paw. Your dog can be the perfect ice breaker, common ground, and conversation topic. Whether you’re outgoing or shy, your dog is a great wingman. And dogs help owners adjust to living in a new city.
Walks with dogs help owners adjust to a new location
Simple walks with your dog are an easy method to map out a new area.
Walking around your neighborhood provides the perfect opportunity to get the lay of the land and meet your neighbors.
The people you live closest to you can be the most important part of building a community. They’ll be the ones nearby if you need help: If your tire goes flat overnight or you need a cup of sugar.
Befriending your neighbors has all kinds of benefits beyond an invite to the neighborhood block party: They can water your plants when you’re out of town and will be more likely to notice if something is amiss.
Walks give you the chance to meet your neighbors (especially other dog-owning neighbors), establish a rapport and show that you’re a good neighbor, too.
Exploring the outdoors provides chance to make new friends
Outdoor activities — like hiking, biking, swimming and climbing — can be a great way to bump into people with the same interests.
Explore popular trails and swimming holes, or play Frisbee in the park.
Let your dog socialize as they like (but respectfully), both with people and other dogs.
Not only will you get to enjoy all the outdoor activities your new hometown has to offer, but you’ll meet other people eager to adore your fuzzy friend.
If you’re not into more athletic pursuits, take a tour of area dog parks to see which you two like the best. Dog parks often offer separate areas for smaller pups that might be overwhelmed by the over-eager lab who just wants to make friends by barreling into other dogs.
Apps let dogs help owners adjust to their new homes
We live our lives by our cell phones.
Not only can you order McDonald’s to be delivered to your doorstep, you can use apps to improve your dog’s social life — and your own as well.
You can even use Sniffr to help find a date who’s into both you and your dog. And don’t forget Meetup: it’s not just for book clubs anymore. You also can find groups that plan activities for specific dog breeds.
Dog-friendly businesses cater to newcomers
Dog lovers are everywhere, and they have businesses.
Some bars and restaurants offer outdoor seating where pups are welcome. If you’re unsure, just call first.
Don’t forget pet stores — not only can you browse for new treats, you can also interact with other pet owners. A lot of pet stores also host events. There are more dog-friendly businesses out there than most people realize.
Try new dog-friendly volunteer opportunities
You can give to your new community and meet people in one fell swoop: volunteer with dog-friendly charities.
From shelters to pet therapy, you and your dog can bring comfort to other people: Both human and animal.
Check around and see if any shelters need someone to walk and play with dogs.
If your pup is gentle and well-behaved, you can get him trained and certified to volunteer as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs bring solace to the sick, elderly, or those who need comfort.
It might take a little time, but with your trusty companion at your side you can strike up conversations with greater ease, find like-minded people, and eventually establish a social circle to fit your new life and home.
— A. Lynne Rush