Our beautiful spot on the planet offers ample opportunities for good times with dogs throughout the year. Still, the launch of summer on June 20 ushers in the most sensational season for outdoor activities in many parts of the Bay Area. How to make the most of it? The possibilities are practically endless, but a few Bay Woof friends offer their suggestions below. Read on, get inspired, then get out and about for some fun in the sun with your canine companions. Whether you visit favorite haunts or seek out new adventures, more time together is sure to raise the joy quotient for you and your pups.
Cruising Crissy Field, San Francisco
Submitted by Heidi Hill
My dog Pearl and I always look forward to Sunday mornings, our favorite time of the week. I turn on KFOG’s acoustic Sunday radio program in the car, pack up Pearl, treats, water, and ball and head to Crissy Field in San Francisco, our hometown. The windows are down so we can take in the ocean air. If it’s foggy, as it often is in the summertime, we can hear the calming, trance-inducing sound of the fog horn. It’s always nice and cool, just the way Pearl likes it. Here she comes alive in a way that many never see. She runs, swims, chases the ball, and digs with abandon. There is simply nothing that makes me happier than to see my dog enjoying herself – so fully in the present, just like I strive to be.
Heidi Hill is owner of Holistic Hound, a natural pet care shop in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.
Pillar Point Harbor, San Mateo County Coast
Submtited by Cathy Chen-Rennie
The dogs, my partner Susan, and I love going to Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay. We have a relaxing drive down Highway 1 to Capistrano Road, then to the water. From the parking lot, we go to the paved shaded trail. Soon the dogs catch a whiff of the ocean and off they go... into the surf. (Ridgebacks aren’t big “water dogs,” but Stella learned how to swim at The Rex Center so now she loves it!) We’ll leisurely walk down the beach, which is protected by a levy so it has gentle waves. Sometimes we’ll take a picnic and hang out on the beach while the dogs meet new friends, other times we’ll take the dogs to Half Moon Bay Brewing Company where the dogs are welcome outside, and sometimes we’ll stop at the farm stand for fresh veggies to take home, the end of a perfect summer day.
Cathy Chen-Rennie is owner-operator of The Rex Center canine aquatic fitness swimming pool, training center, and dog walking service in Pacifica.
A Train Ride through Redwoods, Santa Cruz
Submitted by Whitney Wilde
Every July, my Belgian Malinois, GiGi, and I host our favorite event of the year: “Rails & Tails,” a three-hour train ride for dogs and their people that goes round-trip from the beach to the redwoods. Imagine over 100 smiling, happy dogs in open train cars, their noses filled with all the exotic scents of somewhere new. Our journey starts at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Motorists laugh, honk, and wave as we cross Highway 1. Traveling through a pitch-black tunnel, we howl into the darkness. Oak trees become redwoods and the tracks wind upwards into the cool, green forest above the river. I play “count the nekkid people in the river!” Arriving in Roaring Camp, we take an hour-long hike through the redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park, then board the train for the return trip to the beach. Chugga chugga! Woof! Woof!
Whitney Wilde is Pack Leader of Woofers and Walkers, a social group for dogs and their people located in Santa Cruz. Info about this year’s Rails & Tails at www.woofersandwalkers.com
Camping in the Sierras
Submitted by Jamie-Sue West
There is nothing better than packing up the car and heading up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a weekend of camping. The dogs get strapped into the seatbelts and are excited about the adventure, even though they don’t know what it is. Once in the mountains, the Jeep is put into four-wheel low and the bumpy ride across the creeks and around fallen trees begins. Once we find the perfect spot next to a river, the dogs are let loose so they can enjoy rugged nature without a soul for miles around. They can splash in the river and chase the cows that sometimes walk through camp – they even occasionally roll in cow pies, which results in a bath in the ice melt creek. Brrrrr! No TV, no electricity, just gathering around the evening campfire and sleeping outdoors with the dogs – what could be better?
Jamie-Sue West is Secretary of Friends of Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority.
Dog-Friendly Al Fresco Dining
Submitted by Chad Culp
As a dog trainer, I love doing all kinds of fun summer activities with my canine companions. I enjoy activities that simply fulfill my dogs’ basic needs, like hiking and swimming, as well as activities that strengthen their obedience skills and build their socialization skills. For instance, my wife and I love to eat at restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seating areas. It’s great because we’re just living our lives, doing our thing, and our dogs get to tag along for fun. Nothing like a meal in the sun surrounded by everyone you love!
Chad Culp is a certified dog trainer and owner/operator of Thriving Canine.
Surfer Beach, Half Moon Bay
Submitted by Emily Verna
Emma, Ronnie, Harley, and Orlando love the beach. Here’s their report: “What a perfect fun day, running on the beach with our dog buddies, fetching balls, catching frisbees, socializing with other dogs, and romping thru the waves at Surfer Beach in Half Moon Bay. Our parents have fun watching us and carrying our treats and water. Afterward, we escort them to a fine dining establishment that has dog-welcome outside patio seating. Summer is here and life is great!
Emily Verna is founder and director of Furry Friends Rescue, which is always seeking loving foster homes for dogs and cats awaiting permanent adoption.
Exploring San Francisco
Submitted by Holly McNamara
Kiwi and I are new to San Francisco so we love meeting new doggies and owners. Kiwi loves other dogs and makes friends very easily. She is easy to please and likes hopping around in the grass, chasing birds, and lying in the sun, so we always enjoy days at a park. We also enjoy walking along the Embarcadero, traveling together, boat rides, and visiting friends. Kiwi is a little bit older but still acts like a pup. If you see us anytime, please come say hello!
Holly McNamara is a new San Francisco resident and a Muttville volunteer-fosterer-turned-adopted parent of Kiwi. See muttville.org for details about adopting your own senior canine companion.