Dog Walks in the City: My Top 4 Dog Walks + Finding Murals Featuring Canines

Is this a wolf in leopard-unicorn clothing rather than sheep? A treat walking in San Francisco, with or without a dog, is our many murals

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You find yourself surprised again, and again, with what people draw on buildings, or next to a window. The Mission District has many large and colorful drawings along alleys that are wonderful. Each week you can find a new piece of art, and this summer I've been seeing more organized walking tours taking visitors to the best exhibitions.

Not having my dog Cleo to take on walks, I enjoy coming across these various murals featuring canines. I feel like strangers are reminding me how much this city loves dogs. They are as fascinated by the different shapes and personalities of dogs as I am. These are often unexpected visual reminders on my walks that tell me I made the right choice all those years ago to call San Francisco home. 

Though I currently don't walk or hike some of my favorite city trails as often as I did with my dog, here are four of my favorite places to take a dog in the city:

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Major airline uses social media and a beagle to win hearts and return your lost stuff

Forgot your headphones in the seat pocket? I did. I'm probably also one of the few people who wishes the FDA Beagle will stop and visit me at SFO baggage.

This news from a major airline carrier out of Amsterdam is making me think hard about my next trip, and feel better about my carry-on. Watch this video from KLM Airlines:

From a teddy bear found by the cabin crew to a laptop left in the lounge. Locating the owners can sometimes be a challenge, so special forces have been hired…

 

KLM’s dedicated Lost & Found team at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is on a mission to reunite lost items as soon as possible with their legitimate owner.

Seriously, this is one smart airline to employ a dog as a goodwill ambassador, and delivery method. I can think of a few airlines, starting with United, who could benefit greatly from this same service.

First therapy dog teams giving out cuddles for stressed out travelers, now passengers could have their lost cell phone or teddy bear returned to them by a cute dog? Yes, please!

What do you think? Best use of social media and dogs from a major airline?

 

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Dog butts and a good scratch! Wordless Wednesday

I have yet to encounter one dog who has turned down a good scratch when the spot is hard to reach. The dogs I met while traveling in Turkey enjoyed my human affection, and this youngster most definitely loved getting her butt scratched after lunch.

Image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Have you ever had a dog turn down a butt scratch?

 

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Dogs We Love: An encouraging image from Turkey

In April, I traveled for the first time to a place where the majority of people didn't love dogs the way I do, the way most of us do in the United States.

This was my first experience of seeing stray dogs roaming city streets, staked outside with little shelter, or being chased off of a sidewalk by someone with a broom. It was overwhelming at times emotionally because it was obvious there was little that I could do to make the dogs lives any better. 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

For each lonely stray I saw in the countryside, the bright side was seeing images like this one. It was heartwarming to witness some level of kinship and connection between Turk and dog, even if it wasn't what I was used to experiencing here in San Francisco.

This snoozing puppy was at Pergamon, a world heritage site in Bergama, Turkey. 

 

 

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Stray street dogs in Istanbul can track animal lovers

A tagged stray dog hangs out in Istanbul. Most of the street dogs I saw in Turkey wanted to be near people. At one point it seemed as if they were tracking me, a known animal lover. These loose dogs showed up at every place I went, and didn't hesitate to come close. Could they smell my desire to clean out their eyes or give them a soft pet?

Istanbul's street dogs seemed to be content either observing the flow of pedestrians, or napping in the sunshine. They were calm and sweetly passive to feet stepping very close, or in this case letting me sit near him on the bench to chat for a minute. 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Most of the dogs I saw in Istanbul were somewhat healthy looking, considering they lived outside and fended for themselves. This is a busy, crowded city. I was glad to see most people here either ignored the dogs, or were pleasant to them. Given the amount of cars and buses on the streets, I expected more aggressive behavior from people towards the loose dogs. Sure they honked at dogs walking in the road but that was all.

I was also kind of amazed to watch how the dogs navigated the crowds of tourists. The dogs I saw didn't spook easily and had a level of confidence in their behavior that told me the majority of them must be getting their needs met somehow.

I hope whatever they are doing in Istanbul is spreading to other Turkish cities and rural communities. The majority of dogs may not have a home but they didn't appear neglected, or abused, as I saw in some of the smaller towns.

My big struggle during this trip was deciding how to respond when I came across one of these dogs. What would you do if this happened to you on vacation in another country?

 

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Just give me the dog treat already

You didn't have to know much about dog behavior or body language to figure out what he was trying to say to this lady. We were in the Aegean region near Fethiye, Turkey, and this dog was fluent in the international language of good smelling dog treats.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

 

Dogs understand what treats are, and how to ask for them in any language... 

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San Francisco loves murals featuring dogs!

From quiet parklets, to beautiful landscaped hillsides, whether you have a dog and you're out on a walk, or you're daydreaming about one, you'll come across wonderful murals like this one.

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If my dog spoke she would never say this, would yours?

This holiday season has been rough because the loss of my sweet old dog is still fresh. We have delayed putting up any decorations that remind us of her, and we skipped putting up stockings all together because I can't bear to see hers.

Given that my dog didn't need me now, I decided to fly to Arizona to visit my mother. She's up there in age and with our shared background loving dogs, I knew she'd know what to say to help me manage my grief.

Have you ever had one of those times when you are just so surprised by your reaction to something? Where you are caught off guard by the passionate response you have to a random commercial, or highway billboard or maybe a magazine ad.

I had one of those experiences as I paged through the SkyMall catalog while on the plane south. SkyMall was filled with every gadget no one really needs. As I flipped the pages, my eyes landed first on a $24 "Pet Tiding Stone" that memorializes your pet using a rock and not your pet's ID tag or collar. Then scanning to the right, I see this...

Screenshot 2014-12-12 14.51.10...and I almost lose my sh*t in broad daylight.

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Zen and the Art of the Dog Walk

It's been National Walk Your Dog Week. We love capturing pics of people and their pups out on morning walks in our neighborhood. This sweet moment in the photo here made us smile because they were very in tune with each other compared to some folks we see.

A dog walk is not just about taking your dog out to poop. It's a wonderful time to bond with your little buddy. I would chat with my dog while we walked about the block, often stopping to visit with neighbors out on their stoop. We got to know many kids this way also. Cleo loved exploring and picking up the news and peemail from every corner or tree.

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New line of comfy stylish outdoor pet beds from SF-based P.L.A.Y. launches

P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You) has a new Outdoor Bed Collection giving pet owners stylish comfort for their four-legged friends, while introducing an extra pop of color to their outdoor living areas including decks, gardens, gazebos or poolsides.

Outdoor Bed Fabrics_Feature Photo

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Have dogs? 5 Winter Weather Tips

In San Francisco it's unseasonably warm this winter. This photo was taken on a dog walk two days ago.

image from http://www.grouchypuppy.com/

Unfortunately there are many parts of the country covered in a deep freeze. We want to help keep your furry buddy safe.

If you're dealing with colder temps or any of that snowy polar vortex, we've pulled five good reminders for you:

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SF SPCA Holiday Windows Return to Macy's Union Square

One of the best (and sometimes worst) things about social media is that it's about sharing. Remember how much #SFBatKid was shared recently? Definitely that was social media sharing at its finest. Now this week, it's time to share the best holiday window displays we have in downtown San Francisco. It's a tradition I've loved since it began with standing in line outside of Gump's.

It's time for the Annual San Francisco SPCA Holiday Windows at Macy's Union Square!

image from http://aviary.blob.core.windows.net/k-mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp-13112702/452de807-d115-4432-8bbd-36cc92cea579.jpg
Photo credit: Nora Stratton

Last year nearly 300 dogs and cats found homes through this event, and more than $80,000 was raised to support the SF SPCA's lifesaving programs. The SF SPCA Holiday Windows at Macy's is just one of the many ways the SF/SPCA is trying to end animal abandonment in San Francisco by 2020. Over the past nine years, the Holiday Windows have helped the SF SPCA find homes for over 2300 animals [...]

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Do You Have a Pet First Aid Kit?

Did you know that some common household items found in our medicine chest and first aid kits work well for both human and pet? On the flip-side, besides certain foods there are common medications that are actually dangerous for your pet. It's important to know the difference, especially in the event of an emergency when your emotions are running high and your home might be in disarray if you've been through a natural disaster. 

What goes into a pet first aid kit?

If you have pets, having a first aid kit just for them is a great idea. You won't have to worry in the moment that you are using something inappropriate or even dangerous. Nowadays you can buy pet first aid kits but it's highly likely you'll still need to customize it to fit your particular needs. If you are like us, I think you can create your own without spending more money than you need.

Start with basics like these common household items LIFE+DOG shares on their website. In addition, you should have an eye dropper, gauze, self-adhering tape, non-stick bandages, and tweezers. You'll want to have an extra leash and collar. Include copies of your pet's vaccination history and veterinarian information in a sealed plastic bag protection from the elements. What did we miss? Check out this great resource from AVMA.org and this valuable information about emergency preparedness for pets from PetSmart Charities.

 

 

Safe Household Medications (via www.lifeanddog.com)

From The Magazine | L+D Health (c) LIFE+DOG Five safe household human medications for dogs We treat our dogs as members of family. We prepare their meals alongside ours, and we incorporate their exercise into our own routine. It makes sense that…

 

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