Wednesday, February 29

Dogs Allowed On Restaurant Patios in L.A. County

I was very happy to read this article yesterday explaining that L.A. County has done away with the old rules and will now allow dogs on restaurant patios.

There were always those places you could go with your dog that had full open air patios, but if they were fenced in, it was known, your pooch had to stay on the outside tethered to the fence.  Not the ideal situation if you want your pooch with you while you dine.

Well, yesterday was a good day!  L.A. County did something for the dogs and their owners that I am sure is making us all very happy.  Now get out there and dine with your dog... but with manners of course.

Below is the full story from the L.A. Times for those of you that missed it.

Los Angeles County will now allow pet dogs to sit with their owners on restaurant patios, officials said Monday.
The old rules banned dogs from outdoor restaurant patios enclosed by a fence, but dogs were allowed to sit near sidewalk tables.
"This is good news for both pets and owners," Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the county Department of Public Health, told The Times.
"This empowers restaurant owners" to invite dogs onto outdoor patios, he said. "I think it's going to mean enhanced business for some restaurants."
He added: "I'm hoping my dog will invite me out for lunch."
The new rules were cheered by the Lazy Dog Cafe, a canine-themed restaurant chain in Southern California that had always wanted to allow dogs on their outdoor patios in L.A. County but were prevented by the previous strict health regulations.
"Now man's best friend can lounge alongside his owner," Lazy Dog Cafe founder Chris Simms said in a statement.
"This new policy presents benefits to both small business and the community," county Supervisor Don Knabe said in a statement. 
The new county rules allow each restaurant to decide whether to allow or continue banning canines from their outdoor patios. County officials said patrons should ask permission from the restaurant before bringing their dog onto the patio.
They also suggested that dogs be walked before entering the restaurant so they will be relaxed while the owner is dining.
The county said pet dogs must enter the patio through an outdoor gate and not be taken inside the establishment. Dogs will not be allowed on chairs, seats or tables.
The new rules go into effect immediately throughout Los Angeles County except in the cities of Long Beach, Pasadena and Vernon, which have their own public health agencies.

Monday, February 27

Man Beats Up Vet

Every time your pet goes into surgery, I think we understand that there is a chance that something could happen, but if it did, I think we also hope that the news would be broken to us in an appropriate way.  What would you do if your dog went into a surgery and you got the call that all was fine, then a few minutes later another call came in to say, your dog was dead?  I'm sure any pet owner's anger would flare, emotions would rush and judgment would laps.  I certainly know mine would.  Though I am not condoning what the man in the following story did, I absolutely understand it.

The video below explains the story of the Ojai man that not only lost his dog, but then had to spend a night in jail after beating up his vet.

Again, I am not condoning what Mr. Doornbos did, but I am simply saying I understand his emotions.  The roller coaster of your dog is fine to moments later your dog is dead, I think that in itself is enough to set anyone off.  Should he have beat up the vet, probably not.  But we don't know what the conversation was, how it got to that level of interaction or the biggest question, why/how did the dog die?

No matter who is right or wrong, the one fact that exists is that the 5-year-old Zeka is gone.  The details really do not matter, it is a sad ending and Mr. Doornbos has suffered a loss.  As well, he has found himself in a lot of trouble for moments he no doubt will regret for a long time.

What do you think, would you go to this extent if the same thing happened to your pet?

Friday, February 24

A Little Girl's Perfect Companion

Since today is Friday, I wanted to share a happy story.  This is not something I read somewhere or saw on the news, it is a real story from my life and something I get to witness first hand.  It is about the cute little dog above, Ginger.

My friend called me on Tuesday, February 7th, the same day as my Pooch Parade, to say she had found this little dog... what to do.  It was rainy and cold and this frail little dog was alone and scared in the industrial area of Fontana where my friend works.  We were both sure that this tiny pooch must have just slipped out of her collar or found her way through a fence, but certainly she had a home. 

My friend did the next reasonable thing to find this little dog back to her owner, she took her to a vet to scan for a microchip that was unfortunately not found.  But the vet did give her a clean bill of health and estimated her age at about 6 months.  Then a check in with the local shelter/animal control with no results, it was decided at that time that my friend's coworker would keep her for the night.  The hope was that it would go well with the coworker's other dogs and husband and maybe this poor little dog would have a home, at least until her owner came forward.

Unfortunately, the crying of a puppy was just too much for the husband.  This is totally understandable, puppies are not for everyone.  In the mean time, flyers had been posted and my friend registered the puppy on a few lost pup sites, still hoping the owner would come forward.  But now the hope that the owner wanted her back was starting to slip away, they would've been looking for her by now.

But as the second day came to a close and my friend was trying to find a rescue that could take this cute little pup, she happen to talk to her sister.  Now about 2 years ago, my friend got a dog for her sister and her children, but this slowly became the boys dog.  But my friend's niece, the only girl in 4 children, really wanted her own dog or cat.  Her very own special pet that she could dress up, spoil with pink and bedazzled accessories and most of all love.  So when her sister saw the picture, she thought it was perfect for her daughter.

A deal was struck!  When her sister visits California in April from New Jersey, she will be taking this little dog back with her as her daughter's perfect companion.  So for now, Ginger, the name given by her new owner, my friend's niece, is staying with my friend's mom and dad, being spoiled every moment possible.

I had the pleasure of having Ginger stay with me last week to work on some training and mostly just love her while her "foster" mom and dad were away.  She is the sweetest thing and I don't know that my friend could've found a more perfect dog to be a companion for a little girl than this dog.  She will be the perfect princess, dancing and prancing queen and most of all the perfect friend to this sweet little girl that will without a doubt love her endlessly.

The fairytale union won't happen until April, but I think this is about as happy of an ending as you get.  Especially for those of us that have, work with and see rescue dogs.  It is so easy to take a dog to a shelter or hand them over to a rescue, and sometimes that is the best thing to do.  But sometimes, you can rescue a dog yourself and maybe even make your niece think you are a superhero.

Congratulations Ginger!  Enjoy your new home!

For all of you, happy Friday and have a great weekend.  Don't forget to do something special with your dog!

Thursday, February 23

California May Soon Regulate Pet Grooming

I read an article on Dogster this morning that leaves me with mixed feelings.  The Sacramento Bee published an article stating that California may soon pass a bill that requires pet groomers to be regulated.  Below is the Dogster article, I want to share this with you, my thoughts will follow the article.

Grooming may seem like an easy-breezy profession, with shampoo in the eyes or an uneven haircut being about the only consequences of a grooming error. But it’s a serious business, and when things go amiss, they can do so in a big way, including:
• Shearing off body parts such as nipples, ears, and even tail tips
• Wounding a dog, gluing over the wound, covering the injury with fur, and the wound later becoming severely infected
• Dropping a dog, resulting in serious bodily injury
• Dogs dying from heat exhaustion in cage dryers
Most groomers are extremely conscientious, and little accidents (nicks, cutting to the quick of the nail) can happen to anyone. But a few careless or ill-educated (completely noneducated in some cases) groomers can cause the whole industry to be questioned, and can keep people resisting a trip to a groomer in order to keep their pets safe.
San Diego Senator Juan Vargas is trying to make the industry safer, and has crafted a bill that would require vocational training for groomers. It would mandate that they pass a state-issued exam, and obtain a license that costs up to $350. If the bill passes, California would be the first U.S. state to require a vocational license for groomers.
Some groomers think it’s a great idea. Others say no education can take the place of experience, and that experience should be taken into account.
“You can’t regulate experience. If you’re trying to regulate the problems, you potentially mislead the consumers into believing the regulations or licensing is an equivalent of skills or experience,” Pamela Demarest, the owner of Sacramento’s Launderdog & More! grooming service and pet shop, said in an article in The Sacramento Bee. “To have the state of California be the tail that wags the dog is a mistake.”

Vargas thinks groomers should uphold professional standards in the same way as hairstylists, lawyers, and doctors, and hopes that this kind of problem would be far less common if the bill passes.
I think you can all see my concern.  Much like the training world, just because someone passes a few tests and has a license, it does not make them a good trainer... experience does.  This is where my mixed feelings come in, I do believe the education and licensing is important, I just would hope they would allow people that have been grooming for years to opt out of the class and go straight to the test for the license.

What I will say that I agree with is that something has to be done to ensure the safety of our dogs.  Beyond what is mentioned above, there are serious behavior issues that can arise in a dog because of things that have happened at a groomer.  I have a client that has a young dog and she has always been friendly and excited to see other people until her groomer changed and they nicked her, glued the skin and fur over the nick and sent her on her way.  Luckily my client found the glued hair and got it off before infection set in.  But it took us months to get her to approach people again.  Her world was shattered that a place that was safe, fun and rewarding turned into a negative experience.

If there is a way to make sure the groomers have a specific set of knowledge about technique and follow specific guidelines for safety and cleanliness, I will of course support this, but I just hope that they make it fair to all those groomers out there that learned in a non-traditional way but are very good.  I do think that if these groomers were tested, they should be able to pass no problem.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 22

2012 Downtowners of Distinction Awards

I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Downtowners of Distinction Awards last night.  This is an event I look forward to every year.  For some of the attendees, this is our once a year "meeting".  It is always such a good time to catch up and find out all the new and exciting projects Downtown has going and a great time to check in with some old friend.

The night was another hit!  The Athletic Club is always the perfect place to hold this event.  No matter how many times I walk into that building, I am always struck by it's beauty and charm.

The food was great, the wine flowed and the awards were handed out.  Congratulations to all the winners!

Thank you to the Los Angeles Downtown News for inviting us to this fabulous event again.  We always look forward to it.  Another thank you to all of the Bark & Clark friends that gave us so much of your time and attention, it is always great to mingle with you!

Bark & Clark had a wonderful time.

Tuesday, February 21

A Human And Dog Paradise

This weekend I treated myself to a camping trip with a great group of friends.  We went to the Anza-Borrego Desert and saw all the beauty that is there!  Not only is this a great place to relax and enjoy nature, but you can have your dog with you almost anywhere you go. 

The campground we were at was completely dog friendly, you just needed to keep your pooch on a leash.  But almost all the hikes or adventures at your fingertips are okay for dogs too.  There were a few places that I saw, and I didn't go everywhere, that had "no dogs past this point" signs, but the rocks and step climbs would've turned most dog owners away.

I didn't have my four-legged friend with me on this trip.  Neville is not good with a lot of new people and I wasn't sure how it would be for him in terms of what I could take him along for.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to see all the dogs I did.

Wind Caves

One adventure that we went on was exploring the Mud Caves!  What a beautiful thing and so much fun!  I would never take my dog there, but there were other cave like areas that would've been his dream come true.  The Mud Caves were pitch dark and you had to rely on your flash lights, such a thrill!

The next time I go, I will certainly be taking my Neville.  To allow him to explore the desert will be a fun adventure for me too.

If you have the chance to go, with your dog or without, see the Mud Cave, Wind Caves, and don't miss taking a dip in the natural hot springs pool!  But above all, at night just look up.  The amount of stars and shoot stars we saw were just amazing.

Friday, February 17

Music Arranged For Dogs Hits Billboard Charts

Dogster broke the story a couple of days ago that the album Through A Dog's Ears hit #19 on the Billboard Classic Chart!  This is a first that an album made for dogs is being recognized by Billboard.  More importantly, the music on the album is documented as actually helping dogs chill.

Through a Dog’s Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, performed by Dogster favorite Lisa Spector, ranks at #19 on the chart this week. The album is the first in a series of solo piano recordings clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. The music has been selected and rearranged to help dogs suffering from anxiety issues.
I am so excited by this news.  I certainly want to go pick up a copy and see how it might help my own dog in certain situations.

In this same Dogster blog, it is explained that Dogster creator and blogger Maria Goodavage did an article for the San Francisco Classical Voice about how music can calm dogs.  The article is great and you should all check it out, especially if you have a fearful dog or one that is suffering from anxiety.  To read the whole article, bark on the link:  BARK!

Happy Friday!  I wish you all a good weekend and don't forget to do something special with your dogs.  For those of you with a three day weekend... enjoy the extra time!   

Thursday, February 16

Dogs and Bondage Fashion Show

I was going to do something on the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, maybe preview the winner, give you the highlights of some special stories, but if I see one more article or news cast on that show, I might burst.  So I thought I would give you a little preview of show of a different sort that where dogs were the stars.

I am a big fashion nut, if I ever have the chance to go to Fashion Week in NYC, it would be a dream come true.  So, I guess you could say these pooches are living my dream!

At the Vice's Doggy Fashion show Westway in NYC the dogs strutted down the runway in their best bondage gear.  Leather covered them from head to tail and think most of the pups were concentrating on not making their outfit their lunch!  Check out the shots of these talented little ones working the runway.

These guys look adorable.  This would have been a great show to see!  Fabulous.

For the full story, bark on the link:  Bark! 

Wednesday, February 15

Goodbye To A Special Bark & Clark Friend

Each dog that I train I end up having a special relationship with, but there are a few that end up wedging themselves into a very special place in my heart and the attachment is more than just a trainer and a client.  Yesterday, I learned that one of these very special guys suddenly died.

It was about two years ago I was employed for some private training of a dog that had such a fun and loving spirit but some very unwanted and nasty behaviors.  After a few months I watched the notorious Freckles turn a corner and become a very good dog.  One that even listened to the 6-year-old in the house.

I always had a special fondness for Freckles, I don't know if it was his background, silly personality or just the fact that he was so loveable, whatever it was, he had my heart.  I absolutely loved working with him, though he could be a challenge, it was so rewarding at the end to see him take to the training and become confident.  Watching him settle into his family and finally be happy was such a pleasure.  I would get glowing updates from his mom that would have me smiling from ear to ear.

But yesterday as I looked at my email, what I thought would be another update, turned out to be heartbreaking news.  Freckles apparently started acting a little off and then had a few seizures and then was gone.  They think it was either Cancer or Encephalitis.

My heart breaks today in mourning for such a fun and lovely dog that we lost way too early.  What I can smile about is that he had a family that loved him for him and gave that dog a great life.  I am sure Freckles didn't know how kind humans could be until he got to them, so at least that is how he ended his short life.

I can't believe I don't have a picture of Freckles, but I know his image and beauty of his black and white speckled self will live in my head forever.  Rest in peace sweet boy, you will be missed and loved.

Tuesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is a day to celebrate love and I think the perfect "someone special" are our pets!  Now don't get me wrong, me and my boyfriend will celebrate this day with something special, but I always take this day to spoil my own pets a little extra and maybe some less fortunate ones too.

I find myself this morning giving a special amount of love to a very unfortunate little puppy.  My friend found this scared little girl a week ago today, she is about 6 months old and just tiny.  My cat is much bigger than she is!  So, I get to watch her this week and spoil her.  The best part is my dog is very sympathetic to her and seems to be just as interested as I am in loving her and making sure she feels comfortable and safe.

Many of my clients and friends have asked what the best way is to show your love to your pet.  I think that is the easiest thing to do.  Make them a special dinner or get a yummy "desert" treat from your local pet bakery or pet boutique (Pussy & Pooch have some yummy things) or take your pet on an adventure you know they will enjoy.

Showing your love is easy... just love them.  You could sit on the couch and pet them for hours... I'm pretty sure my cat and dog are crossing their paws for that one.

Whatever you do, let your pets know just how special they are and how loved they are.  If you have a chance to drop some food or treats off at a local shelter or rescue, the pets there would surely enjoy it.  And if you can handle it, today is great day to pay a few of them a visit for a little pet or talking to.  But be careful, I know many people that ended up getting their pet on Valentines day simply because they went in "just to look or pet a few".

Happy Valentines Day to you and all the four-legged friends that make our life a little better just by being in it.

Monday, February 13

Lady And The Tramp

I felt like I revisited my childhood on Friday night when I went to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood to see the re-release of Lady and the Tramp.  I forgot how much I love that film!  Besides it being a great love story of two dogs, it is also a love story of humans and dogs. 

All the true to life dog-isms they put in the animation was really impressive considering how old the movie is.  But what always makes me laugh is the accents on the dogs based on their breed.  I find it so cute.

I laughed and I cried, even though I have seen it who knows how many times.  Seeing it in the theatre felt like I was seeing it for the first time.  The story warms my heart every time.  The prejudice that is played out about dogs being bad or having bad intentions only to be proven wrong in the end.  It did make me think how differently dogs were thought of then compared to now.   I think we all consider our four-legged friends a part of the family these days, no matter what side of the tracks you are on.

If you have the chance to see this film in the theater, treat yourself.  But if you can't make it by February 16th, maybe just rent it or go buy the new digitally remastered version.  It is worth it.  I felt like I got to go to a total fantasy land for a little over an hour.  Where dogs were the wise ones and our rescuers and the best part... they could talk!

Happy Monday and don't forget to give your dog a little love.

Friday, February 10

Stuff Dog People Say

Happy Friday!  A friend of mine forwarded me this video made by West Paw Design, Stuff Dog People Say.  It is cute and I think you will find yourself thinking, "I say that too"!  But I will warn you, the acting is not that great and it is on the cheesy side.  All reasons I thought it was perfect for Friday.  A little bit of fun to make you at least smile!

Enjoy the video!

Have a great Friday and don't forget to do something fun with your dog this weekend!

Thursday, February 9

Lost Family Considers Eating Their Dog To Survive

I can't imagine being in a place where the thought of eating my dog would actually come into my head.  But then again, I have never been lost in the middle of a forest for six days with no food or water.  That is exactly what happened to this Gold Beach, Oregon family.  Dan and Belinda Conne along with their 25-year-old son Michael and dog, Jesse, all went into the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest to do some mushroom picking.  During their adventure they became badly lost.

Over the next six days they were struggling to survive as they could not start a fire and had no food.  It was at the height of their desperation that Dan Conne began to think that Jesse, his four-legged companion could become a source of protein for he and his family. “She’s that good a dog, she’d have done it, too,” said Conne, 47.

Thankfully, before the family had to make such a horrible decision, they were able to get the attention of the rescue helicopter by using suns reflection against a blade of a knife and dead cell phone.  "The wife had the Blackberry and I had the knife," Dan Conne told The Associated Press. "I kept flashing. The wife said, 'You're blinding them.' But I wanted to make sure they seen us. I wasn't taking no chance."

The three humans were air lifted to the nearest hospital and Jesse was walked out by a ground rescue team.  Once Dan Conne was released from the hospital, he picked Jesse up at the animal shelter where she was sent.  Needless to say, she was very happy to see him.

I know it is easy to read this story and think how awful this person must be to think of eating his dog.  But think about the desperate situation he was in.  I don't know what I would do if I were in his shoes.  I am pretty sure there is no way I could do that, I would find another way to survive.  But I think it is hard to know what you would do if you think you are going to die.  What do you think?

For the full story, with many more details, bark on the link:  BARK! 

Wednesday, February 8

Love Your Dog Pooch Parade Fun!

Last night was the Love Your Dog Pooch Parade and we had such a great time!  The dogs were great and the people were a blast!  It was a small group, but we had big fun.  There was a threat of rain, but thankfully it did not happen!  We ended up with a clear night and a busy city to challenge our pooches.

A special thank you to Pussy & Pooch for hosting us at the Paw Bar, the dogs loved their treats!

Another thank you to Portofino's for use of your beautiful patio and providing such yummy treats for us humans!

To all the joined in the fun, participants and my team of helpers... thank you too!  It was a great night and I can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, February 7

McDonald's Offending Dog Lovers With Radio Spot

McDonald's seems to always be in the hot spot, if it isn't what their meat is actually made of, it is something else.  Today I read that they had a spot running on the radio that really offended dog lovers, Pit Bull lovers to be specific. 

The spot is an ad for the new chicken McBites.  They are making comparisons of risky behaviors vs. trying the new McBites.  One of the many "risky" behaviors listed is petting a stray Pit Bull.  Listen below:

Once McDonald's felt the heat the put out a statement via twitter that said:  “We didn’t mean to offend anyone and the ad is being pulled.”  However, the promotion is said to have ended on February 5th anyway.

I think when we have a win, we take it.  They apologized and pulled the ad, what more can  we ask for.  The silly part is that they could've said pet a stray dog and ended it there and we probably wouldn't have been so offended.  But adding fuel to a fire that is trying to be put out just shows how uneducated in the way of dog breeds the people creating these ads are.  

For all the details of the story, bark on the link:  BARK!

Monday, February 6

Here We Go

Well, I got to watch the Puppy Bowl and see our boy Anthony play his heart out!  That is about as in depth as I get with sports.  I did, however, see some of the commercials and the halftime show.  Both Madonna on the Super Bowl and the Kitties on the Puppy Bowl.  Those kitties are hard to beat! 

The commercial that I have to share with all of you today is my favorite for a couple of reasons.  One, it is just fun, but even more important, it spreads a great message to not count out a rescue dog.  I would love to see the day that the term rescue dog means talented, sweet, loving and the best all around.  Instead of the current meaning of scared, abused and broken.  Cheers to the Bud Light marketing team!

I hope this will brighten your Monday... especially for those of you that had more party than Super Bowl.

Friday, February 3

A Great Reason To Watch The Puppy Bowl!

I would've watched the Puppy Bowl just to watch the cute puppies, that is reason enough for most of us.  I really had no idea until I read this Huffington Post article, where these puppies come from and what a great thing it is that the Animal Planet is doing with the Puppy Bowl.  Below is the article and if this isn't the best reason to watch, I don't know what is!

On Sunday, Feb. 5, the players will enter the stadium, line up, and prepare to ... catch a tiny plastic football. That's right, the 59 fuzzy MVPs of the sporting world's cutest event are gearing up for their shining moment: it's time for the 2012 Puppy Bowl.
The teammates hitting the field aren't just adorable, but they also come from humble beginnings. To find the purr-fect stars for this year's sporting spectacle, Animal Planet worked with website to locate animals in need from 32 shelters and rescue groups across 20 states. The pups and kittens -- tiny stars of the Puppy Bowl Kitten Halftime Show -- come from a diverse array of states including Mississippi, Vermont, Rhode Island and Kentucky, and all returned home after the event to find families.
Anthony, a pitbull/hound mix from Linden, N.J., found his "forever home" after a roller coaster of a ride through the first few months of his life.
Donna Beach, owner of All Star Pet Rescue, found Anthony's mother in the woods and rescued her as she prepared to give birth to a new litter. A few months later, the shelter went through the process of applying for Puppy Bowl VIII and Anthony was among the three puppies included from the shelter, along with friends Ray and Gracie.
Karen Luberto and her 9-year-old son, Raymond, found their way to a Puppy Bowl preliminary taping on the urging of Karen's sister, Donna.
"We weren't ready for a puppy," said Karen. "But then my son met Anthony. They just bonded immediately. That was it."
Though Karen was resistant, the connection between Raymond and Anthony could not be denied. Raymond swore to take care of the tiny black puppy with the big brown eyes and she gave in.
Even though Raymond and Anthony had met at a previous shelter event, the two made their real connection at Puppy Bowl, and Karen followed through with the adoption process right away. Even though the pup had originated at a family-run facility, she had to complete the same paperwork as any other prospective owner through Petfinder.

Since then, Anthony -- who enjoys his new life under the name Gunther as the result of a family Facebook poll -- has become an integral part of the family, even sleeping with Raymond. And Anthony's 9 litter-mates? They've all found homes, including the mother dog, who enjoys a cozy life with Karen's sister, Donna.
While the rest of the world is choosing their football alliance, Anthony, Karen, Raymond and their close friends will be enjoying the dog's debut in the 2012 Puppy Bowl.
"It's kind of a big deal, we're planning a party!" Karen said. Beyond the cupcakes and banners you'll find one very happy puppy -- once a shelter dog, then a TV star, and now a family man.

No matter if you watch the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl or no bowl... have a great weekend and make sure to do something fun with your dog!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 2

What's Up Downtown February!

Happy Groundhogs Day!  Happy February as well!  I think most of us think of February as the month of love... but that is not all the month has to offer us.  If you are looking for new restaurants to try, museum exhibits to see, events to experience or concerts to enjoy, Downtown can provide all!  Below are some of my picks to highlight from this What's Up Downtown February!

The Grammy Museum is hosting two events I am very excited about (many more as well), first, in honor of celebrating LOVE, check out The Beatles Love: A Fifth Anniversary Cirque de Soleil Showcase, open until 2/28/2012.  Also, coming on 2/16/2012 An Evening with Michelle Phillips from The Mamas and Papas, what amazing stories she has and sure to give another insight on music of the time!

Looking for something special for Valentines Day?  Well the calendar has two events listed for couples, Valentine's Dinner at Smeraldi's and Sweetheart's Package at Suede Bar & Lounge.  But I know if you put your reservation in, any of your favorites Downtown would be the perfect place for you and your Valentine.  Or maybe this is the perfect time to try one of the new locations Downtown (from this month or month past), this month we welcome Little Bear on Industrial St. for that Belgian pub feel and if you want more casual and healthy, try Planetalis on Figueroa.  But if you want amazing food and an upscale environment, help welcome back for their reopening Water Grill, on Grand.

Now for my personal favorite... what to do with your dog this month!  Yes, it is me shamelessly promoting my own event that amazingly still has a couple of spots left, The LOVE Your Dog Pooch Parade on February 7th!  It is the night to take your doggie on a date as we go through the Historical Core of Downtown.  This is a workshop style of class with a twist of fun!  During the walk we will concentrate on obedience and manners in the city, working with all the distractions the city provides including other dogs and people.  For the dogs we stop in at Pussy & Pooch and for the humans we end the night at Portofino's on their dog-friendly patio for some treats of our own.  There are only two more days to RSVP, so sign up today!  Bark on the link:  BARK!

Whatever you do this month, I hope you do a lot of it Downtown and support this great city!

Wednesday, February 1

The Power Of A Dog's Nose

K9 Magazine newsletter had a great warm and fuzzy article this morning.  It is a story of how a family dog lead his owner to a former family house.  The crazy part is that the family had not lived there for 70 years!  I think it is great way to kick off the month of February!

A Massachusetts man recently discovered a forgotten part of his family's past when, during a walk in their new neighborhood, his dog led him to his father's childhood home from 70 years previous – a house that not even his father remembered, as he was only two when he lived there. They've turned this story, along with other dog tales, into a book called Follow the Dog Home: How a Simple Walk Unleashed an Incredible Family Journey. The hardcover release is February 1, 2012. We all know February is the month for love, and who doesn't love dogs? Corny? Yes. But the storyline isn't.
After moving to Wellesley, Massachusetts for an anchor job with a major television sports network, Kevin began taking his German Shepherd, Beverly, for walks in the surrounding neighborhoods. They developed a route that included historic Atwood Street. Beverly kept veering toward one house in particular that had also caught Kevin's eye previously, thinking it looked familiar but not knowing the reason.
After talking to a close family relative who had also once lived in Wellesley, Kevin was shocked to discover that the memorable house had once been a childhood home to his father, Bob Walsh, before WWII. After digging through old family photos that had been tucked away for years, Kevin uncovered a picture of his father as a toddler with his family on the house's front porch, complete with their first family dog, Dee Dee.
Kevin's father had been writing short stories about all of their family dogs through the years, but never knew about the photo. Its discovery was the pivotal moment that offered proof that the Walsh family's journey with dogs had come back to the exact place where it started.
Follow the Dog Home, which Publishers Weekly called "quaint and most charming," was written by Kevin Walsh, his father Bob, and his daughter Samantha. Bob lives in Ledyard, Connecticut, with his wife, Mary McGrattan. He is retired from a forty-year career in the pharmaceutical industry and now spends his days fishing, building fly rods, feeding the homeless, and traveling. Regularly by Bob's side is his ever-faithful dog, Annie the Corgi.
Samantha, who is only ten, loves taking care of her family's German Shepherd, Beverly, and dancing in ballet performances. She hopes to one day become a veterinarian.
Kevin lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with his wife, Jean, and daughters Samantha and Amanda. He is a seasoned sports and news broadcaster with Comcast SportsNet New England and New England Cable News. Kevin's first book, The Marrow in Me, details his courageous journey as a bone marrow donor.

This is a great story that shows the love between owners and their dogs! 

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