Here’s How I Ranked Them
I started with a list of the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. and ranked them from one to 100 in each of the following categories:
- Pet Stores Per Capita – My human needs a lot of places to buy food and toys for me to chew on, lest I keep my teeth sharp by gnawing on his delicious sneakers. Where did I leave those? Numbers found through Yelp.
- Veterinarians Per Capita – Like humans, my kind falls ill every once in a while. Even though we will be pathetic and dramatic about it, it’s not a big deal, we just need the nice vets to give us their care. Numbers found through Yelp.
- Dog Parks Per Capita – Also like humans, I need to interact with my kind on a semi-regular basis. Besides, that infernal leash is the bane of my existence. Every time I try to run, it pulls me back. What kind of sorcery is that? Numbers found through Yelp.
- Number of Sunny Days Per Year – I could go outside anytime, any day, no matter what the weather is. But since my human gets mad every time I shake off all the rain inside the house, I’d prefer it to be sunny a lot. Data from bestplaces.net
- Walk Score – My human could use a little exercise, and I’m happy to be that excuse. The better the walk score, the easier it is for my human and I to enjoy a stroll. Figures attained from walkscore.com
After establishing a ranking for each of those categories, I assigned a score to each city for those categories as well. Once those were added up, I divided the sum into an average; the lower that average was the better.
1. Miami, FL
As my favorite rap artist once said, “Welcome to Miami.” This South Atlantic beach town made sense to me; I love the idea of living somewhere nice and tropical. I wouldn’t even need sunscreen. In looking beyond the sand and palm trees, the city proved to care about us canine creatures. They ranked first in pet stores per capita, and tenth in the walk score category. Hey, why are you talking to that stranger lady? I want to keep walking, I think I smell a discarded half-eaten corn dog that the birds are picking at two miles away.
2. Las Vegas, NV
The Bright Light City is good for more than gambling, seeing shows, and otherwise spending (or losing) money on things that don’t involve Porkchop. Las Vegas did what no other city could; rank in the top ten in four different categories. They ranked sixth in dog parks, and eighth in number of sunny days per year, so there is plenty of opportunity for me to introduce myself to all the other dogs between your double-downs and snake eyes. I learn certain words when I hear them repeatedly. Although these words aren’t followed by food, so I’m not sure what they mean.
3. Tucson, AZ
This city may be the home of the Wildcats, but I’ll be able to get over that. Tucson ranked well everywhere except for walk score, which is also okay, because I occasionally just want to only move when the sun spot shining through the window changes location. That will be easy too, because they ranked 12th in number of sunny days per year. When I’m not feeling lazy I also like that they ranked 15th in dog parks per capita. I’m still a little nervous about all those Wildcats I’ve heard are roaming about, but my patented defense of staring, growling, barking and then running in the opposite direction has always worked like a charm.
4. Sacramento, CA
The capital of California (I’m learning so many things!) Sacramento has many great amenities to offer us pooches. They ranked eighth in dog parks per capita, and 27th in veterinarians per capita. And even though it wasn’t a part of my research, I did read that they are third in the Trust for Public Land’s Park Score Index. Which is awesome for me, because there is so much grass for me to po- I mean, walk on and roll around on to my heart’s content. But even if I did, my owner is responsible. I can only hope aliens exist, because if they see my human picking up after me they’d assume canine’s to be the dominant species. But I digress.
5. Orlando, FL
Hey more palm trees! Which is okay I guess, they don’t exactly drop a lot of branches for me to chew on. But Orlando is otherwise delicious, because they ranked second in pet stores per capita. So I can chew on the remote control a little more, and then my human will be forced to go to one of them to buy me more toys. I prefer the squeaky ones that look like an animal I’d like to eat. But anyway, they also ranked second in veterinarians per capita, so if I swallow a battery from that scrumptious remote, help isn’t too far away.
6. Scottsdale, AZ
The smallest city in terms of population that made the top ten, Scottsdale more than made up for that in almost every category. They were behind in walk score, but that’s all right, because they ranked 21st in dog parks per capita. I’d almost rather be able to be off the leash and run around with my kin anyway. They also ranked third in number of sunny days per year, so my human will have no excuse but to walk me or drive me to one of those parks. And as much as I love walking, I’d almost prefer he drive. I can pass judgment on all other dogs I see, and I can game plan without distraction which trees to pee on first. My territory!
7. Honolulu, HI
Aloha! It seems no matter where I run, I end up in the ocean. Not sure if this is a trick being played on me or if this city is on an island surrounded by water, but either way, I like it. Honolulucame in seventh in dog parks per capita, so there’s plenty of open space to be had on this land, and they were one of only two cities to rank no worse than 36th in every category. Plus I hear the President is from here. I learned his first name is Barack, which sounds like bark, so I can’t argue with the city appearing at number seven on the list.
8. Tampa, FL
I am loving all the warm weather from the cities in the top ten. Tampa is the third city from Florida to appear on this list, and they really want to make sure mutts like me stay happy and healthy. They ranked ninth in pet stores per capita, and fifth in veterinarians per capita. Plus I learned they have this thing called Busch Gardens, which has a whole bunch of animals that I’m sure would love to be friends with me. Especially the big cat with a whole bunch of stripes; I bet we could set aside our differences and become friends.
9. Saint Louis, MO
This city did not do so well in the sunny days category, but that’s fine with me, because I hear the “clouds” that cover up the sun sometimes produce this thing called “snow.” I looked this up, and whoa, how have I not experienced this yet? That stuff looks amazing. Saint Louis also ranked sixth in pet stores and dog parks per capita. Good thing, because with all that snow, I’d be likely to lose my ball. Then I’d have to bark at the snow to release my ball, lest the snow wants to be eaten.
10. Atlanta, GA
Rounding out the top 10 is Atlanta, another state capital; how many of those are there? If it were up to me, I would’ve chosen Macon as the capital, because it sounds like bacon, and I love bacon. This city loves us too, proven by them ranking eighth in pet stores per capita, and ninth in veterinarians per capita. So when I have too much bacon, because I shamelessly stole it off the plate while you weren’t looking, the vet can give you something to help me get it out. But don’t wrap the pill in ham, wrap it in more bacon. I’m on to your game.
Bark the Size of Their Bite
There is one thing I’d like to say before I go: every city could be better for us canines (OK, cats too.) There are things you, and your city, can do to keep us happy and our tails wagging. If you own one of us, please put on proper tags, and even have a chip inserted. It stings a little, but is well worth it. If you do see one of us wandering about, please try to find our owner by any means possible. Please support the no-kill shelters in your area, please encourage adoption, and please have us spayed or neutered, as overcrowding in shelters is part of the problem. Thank you everyone, we know that we are “man’s best friend,” and that is one thing we take seriously. That and perfecting the look of guilt when you come home and find the trash strewn around the living room. I’m sorry but that pizza crust smelled delicious!
Above all, these cities don’t just talk the talk when it comes to providing a quality environment for Porkchop, they walk the walk. Speaking of which, my human just got home, so I’m going to see if he’ll take me on one. He has a… OH DEAR HE HAS A TENNIS BALL IN HIS HAND. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.