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Pets are Being Welcomed (Almost) Everywhere in this Tennessee City

This historic downtown district outside of Nashville is testing a pilot program designed to create pet-friendly communities.

By Becky Henson on July 11, 2017

Franklin, TN
M.A. Orr

Man’s best friends finally get to join their owners on trips to local businesses and restaurants where they weren’t welcome before thanks to a new program being piloted in Franklin, TN. 

It’s a proven theory that pets enrich lives and communities – so it’s a no-brainer that pets are becoming more than a companion at home, but a bigger part of every day lives – whether city walks, patio dinners, shopping or community events. One company is bringing communities and government together to change laws and policies that help advocate for pets – working together to enrich human and pet lives, while also growing local economies. Mars Petcare is the company spearheading the initiatives with its program, Better Cities for Pets. 

Furry Franklin

Fido and Sprinkles, and all other pets with catchy names were welcomed to the Better Cities for Pets – Pets Welcome event in downtown Franklin, TN. More than 90 businesses opened their doors to pets in a weekend-long launch party that brought residents, visitors and community members out to shop, eat and participate in festivities with their furry pals. Local businesses now have ‘Pets Welcome’ decals on shop windows and offer pets fresh water outside doors to show their support and participation in the program.

“Pets have always been a passion of mine, and I’m thrilled that Franklin was selected to pilot test the ‘Pets Welcome’ program with our local businesses,” said Mayor Ken Moore of Franklin. “As a growing, community-driven city, Franklin is the perfect setting to test out the positive impact of pets in more places and offers the ideal foundation to explore the impact of trends we are seeing across the country.”

Franklin / M.A. Orr

M.A. Orr

The program is helping cities assess how pets fit in and become a part of businesses and communities – hoping that the pilot community will help create policies and sustainable programs that spread across the U.S. Downtown Franklin is home to the historic Franklin Theater, restaurants and businesses that locals, visitors and celebrities frequent. Furry friends experienced shops and patios with owners and joined the fun at the pop-up urban dog park and photo station.

Mars Petcare calls Franklin home to its headquarters and innovation center. But the Better Cities for Pets programs have spread farther – helping strengthen the animal-human bond in communities. Here’s where the programs have made an impact outside of Franklin.

Learn More About Franklin, TN and Why It’s a Great Place to Live

Volunteers in Tucson

Nearly 400 Mars Petcare volunteers turned up in Tucson, AZ for a national sales meeting, but the real progress was made when they spent a collective 1,200 volunteer hours to help out a local animal care center: Pima Animal Care Center.

The volunteers spent their time painting, adding astro turf, constructing play areas for both cats and dogs, and helping the center become a more enriching space for animals. 

Discover the Best Cities for Pets

Pop-Ups in Austin

A pop-up urban dog park surfaced in Austin, TX for pets and owners to enjoy. The park, affectionately dubbed Dogstin, offers a green space for pets to play right in the city. The event for the park featured pet treats and eats, DNA doggie kits, and showcased the latest technology in pet tracking.

Mars also helped support local shelters through the event by offering $100 to Austin animal shelters for every 10 minutes a dog was walked. 


For more information on Better Cities for Pets and when to find it in your city, visit Better Cities for Pets. 

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