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Tag: pee

L.A. flaw: Where’s a downtown dog to pee?

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Downtown Los Angeles is enjoying a spurt in growth, and with that has come a growth in spurts.

But just where in that concrete Shangri-La-La is a dog supposed to pee?

With the revitalization of downtown, and a campaign to attract upwardly mobile types (and their dogs), more of both are relocating to the area — only to find that convenient places for dogs to urinate weren’t part of the makeover, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The latest attempt to address the problem has been to locate small — and we do mean small — patches of artificial turf in areas designated (by humans) for canine toileting needs. As you can see above, it’s hardly a dog park.

Blair Besten, executive director of the Historic Downtown Business Improvement District, said patches began being installed in August as part of a trial run. Three tree wells that no longer contained trees, in spaces away from restaurants and heavy pedestrian traffic, were used to install 4-by-4-foot patches of artificial grass.

If they’re popular and hold up to regular use, the program may be expanded, Besten told the newspaper.

By redirecting dogs to the patches, she said, the city can cut down on odors, peed-upon buildings, sidewalks and trash cans, and the residue that is tracked into offices and apartments. The patches are located at Spring and 7th, near the corner of 7th and Main, and on 6th just after Main. 

“They should have put them in a long time ago,” said downtown resident Helena Gaeta, who has trained her dachshund-Chihuahua mix to go in tree wells.  While downtown advertising campaigns targeted dog owners, she noted, there isn’t much greenspace available to dogs.

A survey by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District this year showed one of every three residents of the area owns a dog.

“Dogs have been the greatest thing for the downtown L.A. renaissance,” said Hal Bastian, executive vice president of the district. ”It creates a community because more people are on the streets. It’s a better environment.”

But even with dog owners scooping up poop — and, of course, not all do — pee remains a problem.

Not all dogs find the patches pee-worthy. Josh Jacobson, who recently moved from downtown Long Beach, said his two Chihuahuas avoid the turf patches, possibly because they hold too many scents.

“The dogs are still trying to figure it out,” he said.

(Photo: One of the patches of artificial turf installed in downtown L.A.; by Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times )

Expressing yourself, doggie style

As was the case with our kudzu dogs, this one requires just a squirt of imagination.

Ace and I were walking the streets of downtown Missoula when we saw a chocolate Labrador stopping to pee — well, not really stopping at all, which was the interesting part.

For almost half a block, he zig-zagged along the sidewalk, leaving a squiggly trail behind him.

Perhaps he, or his owner, had no time to stop — maybe the human had an urgent appointment, or maybe the dog had a weak bladder; or maybe, just maybe, the dog was expressing himself in the other meaning of the phrase.

Maybe he’d discovered a way around not being able to speak human — and it’s just a case of no one having discovered his amazing ability yet.

Sure, it doesn’t look like much now, but let’s see what happens when we turn it sideways.

Don’t bother moving your computer; allow me:

If I’m not mistaken, it spells Missoula, Montana.

Dogs banned from Concord cemeteries

The city council in Concord, New Hampshire, has voted to ban dogs — we’re talking live ones — from cemeteries.

Dogs are no longer permitted in the 13 cemeteries in Concord as a result of the vote, and those caught disturbing the deceased will face fines between $50 and $1,000, according to the Concord Monitor.

Councilor Steve Shurtleff proposed the measure, saying using cemeteries as dog parks is disrespectful — though it’s not clear whether anyone was actually doing that to any large extent.

What the councilors were aiming at, most agree, was preventing dogs from urinating or defecating in cemeteries.

What they passed was a blanket ban that fails to take into consideration that some families might want to bring their dog to visit a deceased family member — or bring a deceased family member’s dog to visit their master’s grave.

The council — apparently obsessed with dog waste, and apparently pandering to the uptight members of their constituency — neglected to factor in the comfort dogs can provide when families are coping with the death of a loved one.

So while we admire their effort to keep dead people covered with dirt — and the rocks set atop dead people covered with dirt — pristine, we’ll have to add this to our list of dumb dog laws.

Land of (doggie) disenchantment

Add New Mexico to our list of states with tiny, paw-unfriendly, less than inviting pet areas at their highway rest stops.

Land of Enchantment? I think not, at least not for dog owners whose otherwise pampered pets are restricted to gravel pits in which to pee and poop. Signs say that dogs are not allowed on the rest area’s grassy areas.

New Mexico may have its dog friendly pockets, and far nicer facilities elsewhere, but this rest area outside of Albuquerque – like similar ones we saw in North Carolina and Texas — isn’t one of them.

Interestingly, the other side of the rest stop had an area for livestock, with dirt instead of gravel, far larger and, unlike the dog side, with a source of water.

Near the human rest rooms was a sign that asked, “Do you approve of this rest area?” with buttons to push for yes and no. My long answer is a question: how much trouble would it be to designate one of the many large patches of unused grass for dogs, and supply some poop bags? Probably cheaper than the electronic sign. As you might guess, I pushed no. Five times.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” click here.)

Don’t mess in Texas

Not unlike the one we showed you in North Carolina — Texas has some ridiculous designated dog areas at its highway rest stops, too, like this one we encountered while driving down I-10.

Call it the cage of poop — almost totally unshaded, lined with large hunks of rock that can’t feel good on the paws, and about the size of a prison cell.

What better way to let your dog unwind from being cramped in the car than to stick him in a cramped, brutally hot, rock-lined, chain link-surrounded pen?

Wake up, highway departments. Our dogs, generally speaking, are traveling with us on vacation, not serving time. If you’re seeking tourists with pets, show a little respect for them as opposed to providing an Attica-like experience.

Man kills owner of dog who urinated on lawn

A former Marine known for taking great pride in his suburban Chicago lawn has been charged with fatally shooting a neighbor who let his dog urinate on the man’s front yard.

University Park, Illinois, resident, Charles Clements, 69, a former Marine, is being held on a $3 million bond in connection with the fatal shooting last Sunday of 23-year-old Joshua Funches, ABC News reported.

Patricia Funches, the victim’s mother, said Clements followed her son home, pulled out his gun, and shot him.

Police say Joshua Funches’ fox terrier urinated on Clements’ lawn, leading to an exchange of words between the two men. When police arrived at the scene, they found Funches bleeding on the ground in front of a vacant house.

Funches, a father of two, suffered a single gunshot wound in the abdomen, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Clements was famous for the upkeep on his well-manicured lawn, winning several local beautification awards. He kept a sign posted on his mailbox urging letter carriers not to walk on his grass.

Dog soils set on “Live with Regis and Kelly”

Beth Ostrosky Stern, wife of Howard Stern, spokeswoman for the North Shore Animal League, and author of a new book that kind of swiped our website’s name, appeared on “Live with Regis and Kelly” yesterday morning.

The author of “Oh My Dog” brought along three dogs — her own, a bulldog named Bianca, and two others, Scooter and Ladybug, who were rescued from the recent Tennessee floods and are up for adoption.

About halfway through Ostrosky Stern’s recitation of summertime tips for dog owners, Scooter urinated on the set’s fake bushes; then a little later Scooter squatted on the artificial grass for his morning constitutional.

It made what was a pretty cut and dried segment a little livelier.

The book, described as a manual for dog owners, has no connection to ohmidog!, the website.

Most reviews of the book have been less than kind, but we won’t go so far as to suggest that what Scooter was expressing was an editorial opinion.

Urine big trouble now: The yellow snow debate

In light of the utterly ridiculous, yet strangely fascinating debate over yellow snow here in Baltimore, we thought it was time for Frank Zappa to weigh in on the subject.

Also, it gives me the opportunity to showcase my art along with the Baltimore-born legend. Call it a joint exhibit. As you listen (above)  to Frank, you can view (below) my work, “Yellow Snow,” which, after being showcased here last week, met with rave review. I briefly considered turning it into a streaming video, but good taste (which Frank never let bother him) overruled:

yellowsnow.
What brought yellow snow to the forefront in Baltimore — in addition to three feet of snow and dogs having to relieve themselves — was an item in Jill Rosen’s Baltimore Sun blog, “Unleashed.”

It focused on the the complaint of one woman whose sensibilities were offended by the sight, and who suggested dog owners make some attempt to remove the yellow snow their dogs created.

More than 75 “Unleashed” readers have commented — some agreeing with her:

“The person who wrote this letter is absolutely right. The replys and comments also shows the stoopidity, selfishness and lazyness of the ignoramous dog owners in Baltimore. I cannot wait to move from my home town. This snowstorm has shown the worst in most of you.”

The majority considered it a fact of winter life, and pointed out the pee is always there; the snow just makes it visible. Others offered suggestions ranging from spray painting the yellow spots white, to requiring dog owners to cover up the yellow snow with clean white snow (something nature may be giving us a hand with by tomorrow.)

That’s right, more snow, which will lead to more yellow snow and, if it’s a large snowfall, more city residents setting out furniture (chairs, usually) to save the parking spaces they shoveled out.

The mayor has asked residents to stop doing that, but she hasn’t taken a stand on the issue of yellow snow yet (and I’m not saying she should). In a way, those who save their spaces with chairs are already paying a price, I’ve noticed. Dogs — though not mine, of course — tend to christen new vertical objects that appear on the street, and a lot of the parking place staker-outers will be lugging those objects back inside.

Among the many things worse than yellow snow, I’d think — and I’m sure Frank Zappa would agree — is yellow furniture.

The art of peeing in the snow

yellowsnow

 
There’s a heated debate going on about yellow snow over at “Unleashed,” the Baltimore Sun pets blog.

It all got started when a reader — seeing no art whatsover in what happens when hot yellow dog urine splashes onto cold and pure white snow — expressed her displeasure with befouled snow, and went so far as to suggest dog owners chisel, collect and dispose of the icy yellow matter.

“I’m not a dog owner, but I can’t be the only person to be grossed out while trying to walk in Baltimore right now,” wrote Eeda Wallbank. “After the snow last week there are still many areas where the sidewalk or street is the only cleared space for folks to take their dogs out for their business. Most people are still being polite and at least picking the poo up, but the urine is just disgusting.

“The dog goes in the only cleared walk space and urinates, then it freezes. So everyone else has to walk through or attempt to go around these ‘puddles.’ Heaven forbid someone actually slip on ice or snow and fall into greater contact. I shudder everytime I see the yellow snow and thank god I don’t have kids to worry about (my cats are my babies, but they stay firmly inside) … Dog owners carry around bags for poo, what would be so wrong with attempting to remove this frozen urine? Or at least have a small shovel to clear the walk space a little?”

That led to a flood/flurry of comments. Among those that poured in were some siding with Ms. Wallbank, a few suggesting she “get a life,” and many asking if society doesn’t have bigger things to worry about than yellow snow.

Scooping poop is one thing. But I don’t think we need yellow snow laws — even if it does offend the sensibilities of  Ms. Wallbank and others. It’s a fact of life. It passes (twice, in fact). Until the snow melts, step around it, add it to the list of unavoidable wintertime inconveniences, or maybe even try and view it as modern art — a canine, working by instinct, on a vast blank canvas, provided by nature .

It’s a little like that, with one big difference. With yellow snow, everybody knows exactly what the artist was trying to express.

(Artwork: “Yellow Snow,” by John Woestendiek)

Company for Christmas: Down to Darcy

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The saint is gone. The sinner remains.

After a four-dog Christmas, I’m down to two — my dog Ace, and the visiting Boston terrier, Darcy.

Cheyenne, the blind Lab, went home today, and with not a single demerit on her record.

Darcy notched up a few, resulting in her serving some time (above) during her stay with me. But she spent most of her days playing with Ace, in my lap, or on the couch with a marrow bone (which would keep her occupied for hours).

She was the pup of my pack — not yet two, and not entirely aware, it seemed, that she’s a dog. She was sort of the opposite of Lucas, the big yellow Lab whose personality seems to shout, “I’m a dog, dammit.”

I tried to convince Darcy that she too was of the canine species, but I don’t think she bought it.

DSC07736As the youngster of the group, she was everywhere — and she never walked to get there. Instead, she’s always in a speedy little trot, which makes it appear she needs to go to the bathroom, which was sometimes the case. Trouble was, it was impossible to distinguish betweeen her hurry-hurry-gotta-pee-now trot, and her usual trot.

So I’d open the door to let her out and she’d stand there with a look on her face that said “what are you kidding? It’s 20 degrees out there.”

When one dog got attention, Darcy would inevitably run over and demand some as well. And whenever I left my TV-watching chair, she’d hop right into it, refusing to leave when I came back.

Darcy slept in the crate at night. The first night she cried for a minute, and Ace, who normally beds down with me, stayed downstairs with her. Other than bedtime, she only did a couple of other short stretches in the crate — either for disciplinary infractions or during visits from my landlord, who chose this week of all weeks to repair my leaky ceilings.

Darcy, I found out, enjoyed drywall almost as much as the marrow bone, gobbling up the crumbs the landlord left behind.

I yelled at her for that, and for a few other things, but all in all she was a joy to have around. Despite her dribbles and dumps, mostly remedied after the first couple of days, her lack of any visible off-switch and her tendency to enthusiastically explore everything, she brought me more smiles than anything else.

She’s full of personality, a master of the “who-me?” look, and far too cute, with those big bulging eyes, to stay mad at for more than 15 seconds …

OK, maybe 30.

(To read all of the Company for Christmas series, click here.)