Big Dog #6   Everyone seems to have an opinion about pets, especially when it comes to urban living. With more of us than ever living in apartments, do we really have to make sacrifices just because we’ve given up the quintessential Australian backyard? Apparently most people think the answer is yes. In an exclusive survey of its members, GoGet learnt that a whopping 82% answered in the affirmative when faced with the following question: Is there such thing as a dog that is too big to live in an apartment? In other words, most Australians think it’s either a big backyard or bust for a big dog. Dr. Romy Feldman disagrees. Dr Romy, Sydney’s roaming vet, is on hand to make house calls to any urban pet. Her years of working with city humans and their pets have convinced her that there’s no such thing as a dog that’s too big for an apartment. I can say from experience that most breeds are pretty happy in almost any environment so long as they are respected, loved and taken care of in a responsible manner,” Dr. Romy said. However, there are exceptions. “Working dog breeds like cattle dogs, kelpies and border collies, really need a lot of routine vigorous exercise, and if these requirements are not met I have seen this manifest into undesirable behaviours on quite a few occasions.” Are there any other guidelines for keeping a dog happy in a small apartment? According to the Roaming Vet it’s all about sticking to regular walks once or twice a day. Dr. Romy also had something to say about urban cats. “A myth I’d like to dispel is cats needing access to outside spaces.  The majority of cats are absolutely fine and happy in an apartment with no access to  outside, especially when that is all they know.” In fact, Dr. Romy said apartments can be cat Nirvana. “Some cats actually prefer it, because they find the outside world threateningand in an apartment they are secure in knowing they will be left alone (by other cats!),” she said. Dog-person/cat-person division aside, if you are still in the big dogs shouldn’t be in apartments camp, Dr. Romy has some encouraging words about cats. “Cats pretty much grace us with their presence, and as in the days of ancient Egypt still expect a little worshipping. They are highly intelligent, need less physical commitment than dogs and make fantastic chilled out loving companions. People constantly tell me they don’t like cats, and it’s usually  because they have never had one,” she said.

Dr Romy is Sydney's leading mobile vet.

Dr Romy is Sydney’s leading mobile vet.

Her message is clear. Cities are pet-friendly and if we want to live in confined spaces, our pets want to be right there with us. “Urbanites – don’t be afraid,” Dr. Romy said. “There are so many rescue dog and cats needing homes that providing them with the love and companionship they crave is far more important than any perceived restrictions of your urban space and lifestyle.”