Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley summer travel in 2022 going to the dogs

A child spends some time having fun with a fluffy friend on Saturday, June 18, 2022, on Beverley Street in Staunton, Virginia.  On weekends, the city's main street closes to allow diners to eat outside and visitors to wander its charming pet-friendly downtown.

STAUNTON – Tourists visiting Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley are asking to bring their pets with them on vacation more than ever before.

“I believe this increase can be attributed to the fact that millions of Americans adopted pets during the pandemic, including myself, not to mention all the time we spent with our pets while working from home and not traveling,” said Sheryl Wagner, director of tourism for VisitStaunton.

Nearly 23 million homes in the US welcomed a pet since the start of the pandemic, accounting for nearly 1 in 5 households, according to the ASPCA.

Now that businesses have reopened and the demand for travel is strong, tourists want to bring their furry companions with them. In a Mars Petcare survey, 65% of pet owners are interested in traveling with their four-legged companions.

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