The Heart of Nashua with Joan Stylianos: Life's about to get even better for city's 7,300 canine citizens

About five years ago, a California Realtor asked me to write some copy for him about the southern part of the Monterey Peninsula. He sold homes in that region and was looking for descriptions of various communities.

Carmel-by-the-Sea was one of them. The only fact I remembered about the tiny, wealthy and hip town was that actor Clint Eastwood once served as mayor there.

Then, I discovered something that warmed my heart.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is rated the number one Dog-Friendly Town in America.

Canines are treated like royalty and welcome at restaurants, hotels, on the beach unleashed, in stores and galleries, at parks and vineyards and inside City Hall. There’s a drinking fountain just for pooches at Carmel Plaza, according to the website

Even the Church of the Wayfarer there welcomes well-behaved dogs at Sunday Mass, which brings me to the Gate City. I am happy to see that on May 9 our community approved an ordinance for dog-friendly outdoor dining. Way to go, Nashua!

Our downtown, especially, offers a wonderful and cozy outdoor atmosphere for grabbing a bite, having a cold one, catching up with friends and people-watching. Bringing your dog with you makes it even that much nicer, I’m sure. No, I’m not a dog owner yet, but I am Auntie Joanie to my Golden Doodle nieces, Lexi and Gigi (so adorable).

I think this is a wise move by Nashua and just makes us more well-rounded and accommodating and yeah, hip. The city’s Board of Health gave the measure the green light. Dining establishments are required to follow a number of rules, however, and need to apply for permission through the Environmental Health Department. Mayor Donchess didn’t have to “paws” on this one; he was onboard with the idea from the start.

Martha’s Exchange Restaurant and Brewing Co., located at Main and West Pearl streets, features the largest outdoor dining area in the downtown. The popular eatery offers several pretty umbrella bistro tables lining the facade of the restaurant where dogs can find a cool spot to relax under as their owner tucks into a ribeye steak and a Revolution Red (handcrafted beer).

A Martha’s employee told me that the restaurant is getting multiple phone calls from people asking to bring their dogs to the outdoor dining scene.

By the way, I recently learned that Nashua offers about a dozen dog-friendly hotels.

On another note, if you’re a dog owner, here are some interesting facts that Nashua City Clerk Patricia “Tricia” Piecuch and her staff “dug up” for me.

Doggone it! With a population of almost 88,000 residents, we love our dogs and have the numbers to prove it:

“It seems we have licensed for the current 2018-2019 license year, approximately 7,300 dogs,” notes Piecuch. “This is going with the licensing year and not the calendar year. We started issuing these licenses in March. As of Sunday, May 27th, we still had 3,961 to license for the 2018-2019 season.”

Those of us who own dogs need to have them licensed, and the cost is very cheap, according to City Hall’s website.

“Puppies and spayed or neutered dogs are $7.50 per year. Male and female dogs that are not spayed or neutered are $10 per year.”

If you reside in the Granite State, “all dogs, 4 months old or over, must be licensed by their owners. And you must have proof of rabies vaccination.”

City Hall has made it so easy, you don’t even have to get off the couch to license your canine. You can do it “by mail using the Dog License Form and enclosing a check for the appropriate fee.”

Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at