A unique escape for you and your furry friend.

The best way to describe Austin is through the members of the pet community. About 120 Austin residents and their dogs belong to a local group called Divine Canines. Founded in 2004,

Divine Canines’ pet parents train their dogs to be service dogs because they believe that when life gets hard, everyone deserves the love, comfort, and motivation of a dog. Divine Canines and their people provide free therapy dog services to children and others in need throughout Central Texas. Their motto is “Ordinary Dogs. Extraordinary Service.” During our visit to Austin, we were privileged to meet some Divine Canines and discover what they do when they are not helping others. 

The first Divine Canine we met was Kaxan, a local celebrity and bone-vivant around town who has been a featured star on KXAN, the NBC affiliate TV station, and has his own Instagram page. Kaxan likes to wear ties, fun outfits and attend local fundraisers and events with his dad. We also met Whisky and Scotch, two Labradors, and their dad,Mike. Whisky is a Divine Canine, who, when not comforting those in need, loves to chase balls at Zilker Park with his brother Scotch.

Speaking of Zilker Park, Austin is so pet friendly they have 6 off-leash parks, including  Zilker park, a 361 acre metropolitan  park. These are not dog parks, but regular parks, where well -mannered dogs can romp and play off-leash. Zilker Park also has a pet friendly Botanical Garden where your pooch can stop and smell the roses.

While not a Divine Canine, Snoop, an Australian Shepherd mix, teaches mindfulness and a greater bond between pet parent and dog at Austin Doga with his mom, Nicole. Snoop and Nicole help people to use Yoga to become more aware of their relationship with their dog and to bond more closely. When people are learning Doga techniques, Snoop often sits in for their dog to help facilitate the learning process. When not teaching mindfulness, Snoop likes to run around his backyard, play with his Labradoodle friend, Rowdy, and eat snacks.

Austin offers you and your dog several exciting adventures. Dogs can splash around and swim at Lady Bird Lake. More adventurous dogs and their people can enjoy SUP and kayaking on the lake. And who wouldn’t want to hang out with their furry friend at the Yard Bar, a combination dog park and bar, where you can have a libation while your dog can run around and make new friends.

If you’re  up for a hike, you and your dog can explore the iconic Austin Signs and Wall Art displayed throughout the city. Then make your way back to an exceptional pet friendly hotel.

Austin has many pet friendly accommodations, but the Westin Downtown Austin goes all out for pets. Dogs get welcome treats at check-in. Guestrooms not only have the Westin Heavenly Bed they also have Heavenly Dog Beds and bowls and mats. What could be better? How about weekly Yappy Hours on the Westin’s outdoor patio where dogs are served special doggie non-alcoholic beer, made just for them.

Some people say the unofficial motto of this unique destination is “Keep Austin Weird”. If being weird means volunteering with your dog to help those in need, learning Doga to get closer to your furry family, and hanging out with your dog at a special Yappy Hour, maybe we could all use a little weirdness in our lives.

To find put more about pet friendly Austin, visit austintexas.org