BEIRUT: If bipedal Beirutis acutely feel the dearth of open spaces, their canine companions certainly must feel even more claustrophobic. While humans have made some progress on this front with the reopening of the Rene Mowad garden in Beirut, pets are not permitted in this manicured green space, and several disappointed dog owners have been turned away at the door.
In Lebanon, Tea-cups and Great Danes alike are suffering from symptoms of urban stir craziness.
“Dogs [in Lebanon] are not getting enough exercise, and they’re not getting socialized with other dogs,” lamented Elena Hesayne who works with Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“Ideally, your dog should be walked three times a day, of which two walks should be long,” reads owners’ advice offered on the Animals Lebanon website.
So, in order to afford your pet some much-needed exercise as well as a change of scenery, here’s a list of dog-friendly spaces in Lebanon:
BEIRUT WATERFRONTThe new Beirut Waterfront has become a veritable hub for dog owners and their pets, particularly in the early evening hours. While it’s not much to look at, the spacious concrete and gravel area offers the perfect place for your pup to make new four legged friends and run around off leash. Perhaps you’ll run into a fellow dog-lover and make a pal of your own.
BEACHESAs long as they don’t disturb beachgoers, dogs are welcome at Ramlet al-Baida beach along Beirut’s Corniche. But be careful not to let Fido eat the flotsam and sea-trash strewn along Beirut’s notoriously dirty public beach!
Hesayne suggested a little known stretch of coastline, called Beach 37, in Rmeileh near Saida where dogs are allowed. Beach manager Amer Raab says it’s “only natural” that dogs and their owners should be allowed to enjoy the surf together. As long as they don’t bother any patrons, particularly those visiting the ladies-only beach next door, dogs are allowed off leash at Beach 37.
Ali Hayek, a dog lover and animal activist, takes his dogs swimming at the Jbeil public beach where pets are welcome on weekdays.
If you’re willing to take a drive, canine companions are allowed every day at Cloud 59 beach in Tyre. BAABDA FORESTLeashed dogs are also permitted in Baabda Forest, a significant green oasis not far from the heart of Beirut. “If you were going to some park or any other place, maybe a playground for kids, dogs are not allowed to enter,” lamented Dory Chamoun, of T.E.R.R.E Liban, an environmental organization operating in Baabda Forest. “But here in Baabda forest, it’s allowed as long as you have a leash,” he said.
Just remember that no matter where you decide to take Fido for a walk, it’s important to clean up any mess he leaves behind.