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

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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7 Tips to keep your furry loved ones safe during summer fun and fireworks

Keeping our pets safe during the summer months means watching out for hazards like toxic herbicides on the grass, knowing the signs of heat stroke, avoiding discarded chicken bones from barbecues and protecting lost dogs fleeing from fireworks.

With summer concerts and festivals in full swing, please remember your four-legged family members. Celebrating July 4th with family and friends is a wonderful tradition and holiday, however in the excitement of your first sparkler, don't forget your dog.

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Warning! Happy pit bull spotted in local park

Just call me a fool for any happy dog who is dying to show you the ball they so cleverly caught at the park.

Warning! Happy pit bull spotted in local park. Proceed with caution, or you'll find yourself late for work because said dog will convince you to throw the ball for her.

This sweet pit bull girl came running up while we were admiring the view from Bernal Heights in San Francisco. She jumped up on the bench in front us to be sure we didn't miss her "show and tell" performance too. 


Best kind of strangers!

I may never have met this dog before but with her happy face, and incorrigible demeanor, she is no stranger to a animal lover. Am I right?

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The Five Myths of Having a Senior Dog

Three years ago, while looking across the room at my old dog, I had five fast responses to anyone fearful of loving a senior dog pop into my head. Reading through them this weekend, I still think they hold up and make good examples of why you should never let your fear of heartbreak prevent you from having an old dog in your life.

After our Cleo passed late last year, I have had many encounters with older dogs and each time they made me laugh and shake my head at these myths. 

Some people think having an old dog is the opposite of fun. I beg to differ with them. 

Check out these five myth-busters:

Myth 1. They're boring.

Fact: How can you be bored when you have this face around keeping you in stitches?

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Myth 2. They're expensive.

Fact: We eat the same foods as she does, only minus the kibble. Even her pills are delivered via high-grade liverwurst that we share.

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Why do we love old dogs? Have you seen Kiki yet?

There are many sweet senior dogs who are blind like Kiki who show us that you don't need eyes to live.


Well, that's one way to sleep in a bed. #shibainu #noeyesnoproblem

A photo posted by Lisa (@dogoverload) on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:59am PST

My own dog lost her vision but navigated very well for years. Being surrounded by people who loved her kept her sassy personality front and center. I think she even slept like Kiki at times.

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My dog is living and sentient, not a wagon wheel coffee table

The time has come for every state to let go of defining dogs as property. Remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Carrie Fisher is fighting with Bruno Kirby over a wagon wheel coffee table? That ugly table is property, the blue plate in Billy Crystal's hand is property, a dog is not.

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Resolving pet custody disputes. Should a dog be considered property, if we are finding more court cases of people getting awarded visitation rights? 

Case law from the United States shows that two distinct tests have emerged to resolving pet custody disputes: firstly, the application of pure property law principles as discussed above; and secondly, the application of a ‘best interests of the animal’ test which has similarities to the ‘best interests of the child’ test used in many countries to determine the residency of children in disputes between parents. On the whole, the courts in the United States have used the property law test and rejected the ‘best interest of the animal’ test. However, in a growing number of cases the courts have been reluctant to rely solely on property law principles. 


The pivotal scene of "that's mine, this is yours"


How do you feel about dogs being legally defined as property, like a toaster?


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Sweet Senior Girl: After Our Dog’s Diabetes Diagnosis

Four years ago I heard about diabetic alert dogs from Dee Bogetti. I knew how common it was for dogs to be diagnosed with Cushing's disease, but until my dog's own diagnosis, I really had no idea dogs could many older dogs become diabetic.

The Grey Muzzle Organization asked me to share our story about what life was like with an older diabetic dog. The following is a little about how we discovered her diabetes, and how we adjusted our life to keep our sweet girl living as vibrant a life as possible.

One lesson that still remains huge for me is how much our time together mirrored my diabetic father's experiences. I will be forever grateful to my sweet senior dog for opening my eyes to the similarities between her life with diabetes and my elderly father's. Thank you Cleo.


Read more about how we handled our dog's diabetes diagnosis [...]

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Friendly reminder about keeping pets safe and warm in cold weather

While San Francisco may be chilly and wet, causing many dogs to hide under the blankets rather than face a wet butt and soggy feet outside, much of the country is freezing with heavy snowfall. 

The ASPCA has created an animated infographic highlighting essential tips to help keep animals safe when the temperatures drop. This graphic not only includes ways to protect your pet in chilly weather, but also has vital information on how to help dogs that may be left out in dangerously cold conditions or cats that are living outdoors. 

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Baby it's cold outside! Here are five ways we can keep pups safe in cold weather:

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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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Guest Post: Including family dogs (and cats) in Christmas festivities

Including our senior dog Cleo into our family holiday traditions was fun but it always included food. In no uncertain terms she told us no amount of dog treats or the coveted chicken liver would get her to wear a Santa hat for the holiday card, but she would take that trade if it meant wearing a ringlet of bells around her thick furry neck for five seconds. We also paid her in salmon treats to quietly sit and let our visiting 92 year old aunt take photos with her. How do you incorporate your dogs into your family traditions?


oh my dog blog

Read this fun guest post by Maggie Marton, a friend of all things Grouchy Puppy, describing her wonderful family tradition of creating a special Christmas dinner for their herd of dogs and a cat:

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You've given us a Thanksgiving miracle

Happy Thanksgiving to all the dog lovers out there! Today I give thanks for you, the reader, commenter, follower and friend. If you know anything, I expect you already know how thankful I am for my beloved old dog Cleo, however now I want to make sure you know how thankful I am for everyone who takes the time to comment here, on Facebook and Twitter, even on Pinterest and Instagram!


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When family includes a big dog...

How do you define family? This local street scene and the big old dog getting lots of love from papa warmed our heart.



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This holiday season spend time with a beloved professional bird chasing dog!

My dog loved chasing birds. As a senior dog, when we went for a walk around the block, she lurched toward every slow-moving pigeon. In her younger days, when we made it over to Crissy Field, Cleo's favorite game wasn't playing fetch but racing across the grass chasing low flying birds! If a dog could laugh from the excitement mine did. She never caught one but I don't think she wanted to, it was the thrill of the chase that she loved. You could almost say she was a professional bird chaser, like a certain Mr. Lunch.

J. Otto Seibold, Untitled, 2014. Vector illustration, dimensions variable.
J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. On view November 20, 2014–March 8, 2015. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

I'm excited to share that this winter, dog lovers young and old can enjoy a special family-friendly exhibition in San Francisco that explores the work of beloved children’s book illustrator J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. This Bay Area artist who pioneered digital design for children’s books 20 years ago is the focus with the exhibition based on his three books that imagine the exploits of a professional bird-chasing dog: Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe, Free Lunch, and Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride.

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Tribute to our Grouchy Puppy: Happy Homecoming Day Cleo!

Nine years ago today we brought our sweet big dog Cleo home from the San Francisco SPCA. She gave us everything anyone can ask for from a dog, or a person for that matter. Our life together motivated me to create Grouchy Puppy and this blog. Her deeds inspired our motto Give Fearlessly Influence Positively


Some people may remember the #Cleo8 party we threw for her last year. We partied on Facebook and we celebrated on the blog all day! We loved all of the sweet wishes and photos that were sent to Cleo. It was wonderful to witness her positive influence over so many people from all over the world.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to Cleo in late September this year. To honor her memory, and maybe inspire you a little, today, on her special homecoming anniversary, we share five untold stories about this Grouchy Puppy muse and incredible senior dog [...]

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