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Tag: san diego

Privileged Pooch: Going pupscale in SoCal

After perusing “The Privileged Pooch, Luxury Travel with Your Pet in Southern California,” I’ve decided if Ace and I ever run into author Maggie Espinosa and her dog, Marcel, on the road … they’re buying.

Unlike my Travels with Ace project, “The Privileged Pooch” – not to be confused with the fine pet boutique in Baltimore of the same name – is a guidebook that focuses on high end luxury travel with your pet.

“Now you can share Southern California’s celebrity lifestyle with your furry friend,” reads the summary on the back of the book. “The days of staying at substandard hotels and dining at drive-thru’s when traveling with the family pet are over.”

Not for me, they ain’t. But that’s not the point.

Espinosa’s point is that bringing a dog along on your trip no longer automatically relegates you to economy-level accommodations. And her book, provides plenty of examples, in highly readable form, of where you can stay, play and eat with your pet — in Palm Springs, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara and greater Los Angeles.

High-end establishments are starting to wise up to the fact that about 10 million pets each year vacation with their owners — and that many of those owners are from the demographic at which tourism-related businesses commonly take aim.

“The Privileged Pooch” lists 69 hotels (not a Motel 6 among them),  55 restaurants, 56 dog-friendly activities and 38 “trendy shops” where you and your dog are welcome.

Espinosa has done some culling, weeding out those establishments that have too many restrictions or silly and unrealistic weight limits. (For the dogs, I mean. Southern California doesn’t have weight limits for people. Yet.)

She uses a rating system of one wag to four wags for pet friendliness — one being “pooches permitted,” four being “pooches paradise.”

Maggie and Marcel

At the latter, you might find such features as special puppy menus, a “togetherness massage” for you and your dog (at Casa Laguna Inn & Spa) or ”blueberry and plum pet facials” at a dog-friendly spa called The Healthy Spot.

Espinosa and her bichon frise, Marcel, tested all 69 hotels, and each section of the book, region by region, includes recommendations for everything from dog-friendly beaches to emergency veterinary care.

Our favorite example was the Doggie Bus in Tustin, which totes dogs and their humans to the beach at no charge. An Orange County man started providing the service not to get rich, but simply because he enjoyed doing it.

Now that’s dog-friendly.

Provincetown named dog-friendliest city

Dog Fancy magazine has named Provincetown, Massachusetts, America’s most dog-friendly city.

This year’s 2010 DogTown USA contest, sponsored by WAHL Clipper Corp., named the 40 dog-friendliest cities across the U.S. in honor of the magazine’s 40th anniversary.

The criteria used to select the winning city include dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, events celebrating dogs and their owners, ample veterinary care, abundant pet supply and other services, and municipal laws that support and protect all pets.

“All dog owners know of a few local shops or restaurants that allow dogs, but it is remarkable to have an entire town where virtually every establishment opens its doors to dogs – even the bank,” says Ernie Slone, Dog Fancy editor.

“Where else can you take your dog along for a whale-watching or sunset cruise, walk miles of off-leash scenic beaches year-round and enjoy one of the nation’s finest dog parks? Provincetown nearly swept our major awards this year, with its Pilgrim Bark Park finishing at No. 2 in our national ratings of dog parks.”

Rounding out the top 10 cities, according to a press release, are:

•Carmel, Calif.
•Madison, Wis.
•Benicia, Calif.
•Fort Bragg, Calif.
•Lincoln City, Ore.
•San Diego, Calif.
•Virginia Beach, Va.
•Sioux Falls, S.D.
•Salem, Ore.

The complete list of all 40 cities is available in the September issue of Dog Fancy, on newsstands July 27, 2010.

Dogs hit the surf in southern California

Sixty-five dogs hit the surf Saturday at California’s Imperial Beach in the fifth annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition.

The event, which benefited the San Diego Police Department’s Canine Unit, drew an estimated 2,000 people, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Competitors ranged from a 5-lb. Pomeranian named Bobby Gorgeous, who came with his owner all the way from Hawaii to an 85-lb. Bernese mountain dog named Nani from Carmel Valley named Nani.

The dogs competed in three categories — small dogs, big dogs and tandem-style with humans.

George the Great Dane playing “Marmaduke” in the movie — and his human co-stars, Owen Wilson and George Lopez — also made an appearance.

The event got its start after Loews Coronado Bay Resort started offering surfing packages for dogs and their owners six years ago.

In the event — the video above is from last year’s contest — each dog has 10 minutes each dog to surf.

Giant George ousts Titan as world’s tallest dog

giantgeorge

 
The Great (Dane) Debate is over:  The “World’s Tallest Dog” is Giant George of Tucson, Guinness World’s Records has proclaimed.

The 250-pound blue Great Dane wrested the title away from Titan, a white, partly blind Great Dane from San Diego who held it little more than three months.

Guinness World Records says George is the tallest dog ever on record, standing 43 inches tall at the shoulder, three-quarters of an inch taller than Titan.

Titan was named World’s Tallest Dog last November after the death of the previous title-holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, Calif., who died of bone cancer.

Giant George was in the running then, but disputed measurements and late paperwork left his owner, David Nasser, unable to qualify.

Guinness officials say there were conflicting reports about Giant George’s height, so they sent a judge to verify it.

Guinness made the announcement this morning, and George and Nasser appeared this afternoon on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Diana Taylor, Titan’s owner, told the San Diego Union-Tribune she didn’t intend to watch the show because she was busy Monday trying to find a swim vest that would fit Titan, her 190-pound deaf, epileptic and partly blind “special needs dog,” for his first water therapy session.

A blog post on Titan’s website site argues that Titan should still be tops. Taylor says she intends to lodge a dispute but won’t exert a lot of energy on a challenge if Titan’s reign is officially over.

Giant George, we should point out, has his own website as well, which, according to Taylor, was part of a massive public relations effort to steal the title away from her dog.

“Regardless of whether he’s the world’s tallest dog or not, he’s still this beautiful deaf and blind Great Dane, and no one can take that away from him,” Taylor said of Titan.

The blog post read, in part:

“Despite the fact that it detracted from our mission of helping rescue and special-needs dogs, I strived to take the high road. But now, after months of having our accomplishment overshadowed by this media blitz-kreig of poor sportsmanship (and on the eve of this dog actually being on Oprah) I’ve decided it’s time to let the public know the truth about ‘Giant’ George.

“…Confused at how to measure his dog, this owner took two official measurements… one at the shoulder and another halfway up the neck. Guinness requirements state an animal must be measured at the shoulder. See below — when measured correctly George is only 39 1/8″ compared to Titan’s certified height of 42.25″.

“George’s ‘record-breaking’ 43″ is based on a measurement halfway up the neck, a procedure that does not follow industry standards or meet Guinness requirements…”

Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas said last week that Nasser’s claim to the title was one of more than 100 the company received since late last year.“It’s a huge record for us,” she said. “The pet records resonate the most with our readers.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Guinness World Records)

Meet Titan: The new tallest dog in the world

titanTitan, a 4-year-old white Great Dane from San Diego, is blind, deaf, epileptic and requires chiropractic adjustments every three weeks.

He’s also now officially the world’s tallest dog.

Titan’s designation was announced yesterday— the official Guinness World Record Day, the Associated Press reported.

“Titan is magical,” owner Diana Taylor said. “He’s low-key, calm and has a wonderful demeanor about him. He gets along with all dogs, even the tiny ones.”

Titan, as measured by a veterinarian, is a over 3½ feet tall from floor to shoulder. Add in his head, and he’s over 4 feet tall.

Standing on his hind legs — which is something Titan doesn’t do — he would be nearly 7 feet tall.

Titan weighs 190 pounds.

Titan takes the title held by Gibson, a 7-year-old harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, who died earlier this year after battling bone cancer.

Taylor was living in Atlanta when she adopted Titan as a puppy from the Middle Tennessee Great Dane Rescue. When he could see out of one eye, she taught him sign language. As he went blind, they learned to communicate by touch.

Memorial service held for Baxter, therapy dog

Pets Hospice DogA memorial service was held this week for Baxter, the California therapy dog who, though losing much of his fur and the use of his legs, continued to bring comfort to the dying up until his own death this month at age 19 1/2.

The service Wednesday at the San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine drew nearly 100 friends, family and staff, according to an Associated Press report.

Baxter’s owner, Melissa Joseph, pulled the dog — a chow-golden retriever mix — from room to room in a red wagon and would lift him onto patient’s beds for a visit. (If you haven’t seen the video of Baxter, click here.)

“He licked tears from grieving faces, gave hugs to those at a loss for words, and warmed the hearts and souls of those who were making their transition,” Joseph wrote in her online eulogy. “Everyone loved Baxter.”

Lisa McCullough, spiritual counselor for the inpatient care center, said some patients who refused to share their life stories with staff would talk freely if Baxter was in the room. “And sometimes they opened up about the end of their life’s journey,” McCullough said. “I think Baxter made them feel safe and valued. He has helped just countless patients discover purpose and peace and connection in the last phase of their lives.”

Joseph and her husband, Dennis Bussey,  released a book in June called “Moments with Baxter,” a collection of 36 stories about Baxter and his work. Proceeds from the book to go to the hospice and charities that support animal causes.

Baxter the therapy dog

You can learn more about Baxter and the book here.

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