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Archive for July 12th, 2010

Seven things you can’t avoid in Santa Fe

There’s one thing you can’t avoid in Santa Fe, and that’s dogs.

They are everywhere — tall dogs, short dogs, big dogs, small dogs, black, white, brown, red, yellow and brindle dogs.

There are smelly hippy, just-passin’-thru dogs (and I’m not saying from where the odor is emanating — human, or canine, or perhaps the sweatstained, refrigerator-sized backpack).

There are gigantic purebred poodles, as regal-looking as their owners.

And there are a whole lot of Labs, shepherds, terriers, hounds and who-knows-whats in between.

Santa Fe calls itself “the city different,” for numerous reasons, but perhaps nowhere is its diversity more noticeable than in its dogs.

Some I’ve seen, like Shadow (below), who all but blends in with the dirt paths of the dog park, look like they might even have a little coyote in the mix.

You see dogs on street corners. You see them in Santa Fe Plaza, the town’s main gathering place. You see them in outdoor restaurants, poking their heads out of passing cars and, by the dozens, at Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park — an expansive swath of high desert, dotted with cholla and juniper (provided by nature), and dog bowls, plastic chairs and poop bags (provided by its users).

Despite its lack of frills, Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park — it’s named after a one-time mayor —  has arroyos and hills, miles of paths, and commanding views of the town. (By virtue of its size alone, it appears destined to make our top 10 dog park list.) Yes, dogs are one thing you can’t avoid in Santa Fe.

Dogs and art.

Art, too, is everywhere — street corner stands,murals, ritzy galleries, rustic studios. The only thing there may be more of than dogs in Santa Fe is artists, many of whom draw their inspiration from the scenic beauty around them.

So, actually there are three things you can’t avoid in Santa Fe — dogs, art and nature’s beauty. It — along with a climate sent from heaven — make it a highly liveable, and visitable, city. Beauty can be found in nearly every direction you look, from the Jemez Mountains to the west to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, rising high to the southeast.

Speaking of rising high, there are actually four things you can’t avoid in Santa Fe — dogs, art, nature’s beauty and high prices. There’s no escaping high prices. Sooner or later, they will get you — or perhaps even stress you out.

If so, you can always visit a spa, because actually there are five things you can’t avoid in Santa Fe — dogs, art, nature’s beauty, high prices and spas. In town, on the edges of town, up in the mountains, there is an abundance of places to get wrapped, scrubbed, rubbed, boiled and oiled. I’m not sure who goes to all the spas, probably the same people that buy all the art and eat the high priced restaurant meals — namely tourists.

Which — in addition to dogs, art, nature’s beauty, high prices, and spas — are another thing you can’t avoid in Santa Fe.

So that makes six things you can’t avoid in Santa Fe, if you count the tourists, who stay in hotels that, like all other structures in town, are made of adobe, which is the seventh thing you can’t avoid in Santa Fe — adobe. I’ve yet to see a house exterior of wood, brick or — heaven forbid — vinyl siding.

On top of those seven things, there are plenty of other things that can be found in abundance in Santa Fe– sunsets, rainbows, good food, opera, legends, history, crafts, and, my personal favorite, clouds.

Here’s my theory on the clouds, and why cooling afternoon showers are fairly common here. Clouds come in from the mountains, usually —  like tourists — in a group. The clouds look down and like what they see — harmony, art, spirituality, pleasing terrain, disposable income, seekers, healers and art appreciators. And, being an art form themselves, the clouds decide to stay around a while — so that they may both appreciate and be appreciated.

In my five days here, I’ve noticed that, unlike clouds in most places, neither the big fluffy ones or the wispy flat ones — to use the scientific terms — seem to be moving, and, if they are, it’s imperceptibly slow. Instead, they seem to be lingering, hanging out, enjoying the view. Meantime, new clouds come in, and they decide to linger, too. And so on and so on, until there are so many clouds, elbowing each other for space in the formerly big blue sky, that they become entangled, much like the traffic downtown.

As a result of all that brushing up against each other, and moving into each others’ space, meteorological things begin to take place, and — not to get too technical — rain and wind result.

Sometimes, after that, you get rainbows. Sometimes, you don’t. That’s life, in Santa Fe.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing story of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America, click here.)

Family gets Weimaraner back from Ft. Knox

It didn’t take an act of Congress, or even a call to the Pentagon: Riley the Weimaraner — swept up by the animal control unit at Fort Knox, then adopted out to a new home — has been returned to her original Kentucky family.

According to the Facebook page started by the family to wage a campaign for Riley’s return, the dog is back home and doing fine.

Not a whole lot of details are offered on what transpired, but apparently one Fort Knox official finally listened to the family’s pleas and assisted in getting the dog back from her newly adopted home and returned to her old one.

“Riley is back home with her family … happy, and very much loved!!!!!! Thank you Command Sgt. Major Voeller, and thank you to the family!”

Kim Church, of Radcliff, believes the family’s 2-year-old Weimaraner was stolen from her yard — her ID tags were left behind — and later showed up either on or near Fort Knox.

Fort Knox’s stray animal facility, not generally open to the public, sold the dog to a new owner 11 days after she was picked up by military police, according to the Press-Enterprise, in Hardin County, Kentucky.

Church called city and county pounds and put an ad on Craigslist in search of her missing dog. When a caller notified her that she saw a dog that looked like Riley at an adoption fair at the military post, Church attempted to get information from the facility, but was told both whether her dog had been picked up, and who had adopted it, were confidential.

Church filed a report with Radcliff police, claiming her dog was stolen, and pleaded her case on Facebook. Apparently, her campaign worked. Welcome home, Riley.

Roadside Encounters: Maxwell

Name: Maxwell

Age: 10 months

Breed: Retriever/German shepherd/Rottweiler?

Encountered: Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park in Santa Fe

Background: Max (right) was the only survivor of a litter that contracted Parvovirus. After four days at the vets’ office, he was pronounced healthy and adopted by a Santa Fe resident who takes him to the dog park daily. He looked so much like my dog Ace (left) did at that age — same coloring, same curly tail, same floppy ears — I had to take his picture.