Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Tail of Two Dog Friendly California Cities


We woke up early Saturday and as we were perusing Facebook with coffee - we came across some information that changed our plans for the day. Jessi and I live outside of downtown Sacramento, just a quick 10-minute drive to central downtown or a five-minute walk to the river, depending on what we are looking for. Today, we decided to head out to the neighboring city of Davis because the college was having their popular (at least locally) plant sale. Their student nursery is right next to the U.C. Davis Arboretum, a place I’ve wanted to explore, but never made the time. Today was the day.

We jumped in the car and took the 20-minute drive out to Davis, stopping for coffee at the local Dutch Bros (a favorite West Coast coffee stop) where Jessi got lots of attention, much to her excitement. When we arrived at the plant sale it was mildly busy and incredibly well organized.
Like most of Davis, the campus is very dog friendly and Jessi and I walked around looking for some new and interesting plants for the yard. After making a couple of selections we walked back to the car and tucked away our purchases. With the shopping done, it was now time to play!

The Arboretum is right next to the nursery so we walked on over and were amazed! The paths are a mix of tiny crushed rock and paved options with gazebos, tree groves, gardens and several big expanses of lawn. Lots of squirrels running around to draw Jessi’s attention and adoring walkers who like to stop and chat - with the offering of lots of ear scratches and pets. Jessi loves making new friends when we go out so we spend a lot of time stopping and talking with people.

 After spending an hour wandering around, it was time to head back to Sacramento to meet up with friends for brunch at one of our favorite spots.   Just half a block from Capitol Park, de Vere’s has a patio that runs across the front of the restaurant that makes it great for people watching while enjoying time with friends.
 The staff is attentive and nice, making sure we had a water bowl for Jessi and a good mix of English and American food for the rest of us. http://deverespub.com/?loc=Sacramento

Jessi made the rounds to say hi to everyone before settling down to alternately watch passersby and nap. By the time we were ready to leave she was ready to spend some time in Capitol Park, which is one of my favorite places -- even after working downtown for years.

The Capitol is planted with native California trees, shrubs and flowers – there are citrus trees interspersed with redwoods and interesting shrubs.  

Around the Capitol we always keep an eye out for a sighting of the First Dog of California Sutter Brown. This time we didn’t expect to see Sutter as he continues to recover from a serious surgery. With the whole state pulling for him he has recently returned home and we hope to see him out on walks as he continues to get better!

We took a few extra minutes in the rose garden that sits along 16th street and is my personal favorite, although Jessi was not as fascinated with the varieties in color and type as I was. As we wandered back to the car, I realized we don’t spend nearly enough time downtown together – often choosing to go out to the Auburn trails or spending our time on the miles of riverfront trails that are close to our house or even going on trips up north to visit family.

We had a really fun time trying something new and meeting up with friends to share the stories or our adventure. We always look forward to trying out some of the new places that keep popping up as Sacramento continues to expand its farm to fork movement.

Want more dog friendly ideas for exploring Sacramento? 
Great ideas here -- http://dogtrekker.com/Destination/Sacramento_Capital_City

 Kaitlyn MacGregor is a dog-loving communications professional and a Sacramento native.  She and Jessi, her 10 year old springer spaniel mix Jess take advantage of the California capitol’s dog friendly venues and great weather!



Monday, October 17, 2016

Halloween Costumes for Dogs -- Trick or Treat?

If you’re anything like me, autumn brings excitement for crisp, cool weather, cozy sweaters and pumpkin flavored everything. If you’re like my husband, you are concerned about your Halloween costume at the first sign of the foliage turning orange.

This is our first fall with Tessie, and she is loving the season. It’s no longer too hot for morning walks, and she enjoys lounging on patches of sun in the back yard peppered with fallen leaves. The hubs is a big fan of getting decked for Halloween, and he suggested the three of us dress up as a trio for trick-or-treaters. 

Personally, the idea of dressing up always seems good in theory, but I usually lose interest before I make it to the store. This year seems different, though, now that we have our little girl who hasn’t experienced the holiday with us – or at all, since she was rescued from Thailand earlier this year. Channeling Carrie Bradshaw, I took to my computer because I couldn’t help but wonder…do dogs even like getting dressed up?
My first Google search brought up a blog by Tara Parker-Pope for the New York Times, which referenced an article from The New Yorker on the very subject. Nice, I thought, I’m a good doggie parent for considering Tessie’s emotional well-being. The New Yorker piece asked Alexandra Horowitz, the author of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know,” what our pets might think of being capped, zipped and Velcroed. Her response: “Inasmuch as I can speak to the experience of any animal (including members of my own species), my answer is “The dog, he does not like it.”

Yikes, not what I want to hear. Over the summer, I stumbled on a set of red, white and blue sweat bands for her.

As a new American citizen, I was sure she wouldn’t mind showing off her new national pride for Independence Day and the Olympics! She hated the headband, which I respected, but she didn’t seem to mind the bands around each of her paws. Earlier this month, the autumn spirit brought me to purchase a pumpkin-themed bandana, which was just darling paired with her new denim collar. Again, she seemed unfazed.  

With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve discussed a few costume possibilities. I liked the idea of dressing up as Scarecrow, the hubs as Tin Man and Tessie as Cowardly Lion, a la the Amazon commercial. But without Dorothy, this scenario fell flat. Then there was Tessie as Chewbacca and we would be Han Solo and Princess Leia, except it felt disingenuous since we’re not really Star Wars fans.

Then, thanks to a coworker, we landed on The Addams Family: Gomez, Morticia and Cousin Itt.

This creepy and kooky trio is currently the frontrunner, but it is contingent on finding comfortable accessories for Tessie. A wig seems out of the question, but it might work with doggie sunglasses and a hat…unless she’s going to hate us for festooning her for our own entertainment (well, ours and also the adorable trick-or-treaters we’re sure to impress.)

Thankfully, Horowitz also has some encouraging words for me and any others out there considering the same:

This is not to say that it is entirely torturous for your pet…Thoroughly domesticated, having put up with human behavior and its attendant silliness for something on the order of fourteen thousand years, the dog may suffer some costuming gladly…He gets your attention, and probably an extra round of liver treats. Aside from the liver, there is little as nourishing to a dog as the attention of his owner.

This weekend I visited a friend and spent some time with her dog Sable. When I took a seat on the kitchen floor to better connect with Sable, my friend did a double take. “I’m a dog person now,” I bragged. She smiled, knowing I was hesitant on welcoming a dog into our house. Tessie has since won my heart, and dressing her up for Halloween isn’t about making her look foolish; it’s about making her part of the family. And Horowitz’s assessment is enough of a blessing to give it a go.

Maria Poulos Pimentel is a New Jersey transplant now settled in New England.   Maria works in marketing and publicity by day and snuggles with her sweet collie/shepherd/husky Tessie by night. She was a reluctant dog owner at first, but she's quickly learning the ropes and discovering all the joys of doggie parenting. Maria will be sharing more of her adventures in dog love with PawsGo.

Do your PawsGo trick or treating?  Tell us your story!