Thursday, May 29, 2008

Runyon Canyon Dog Park- Dog Hike in Los Angeles

One of the best parts about being a dog owner is all the fun things you wind up doing with your dog that you would not normally do. Sure I am an avid fan of the out of doors but I would not be taking hikes in Los Angeles without Finn (To be honest without him I wouldn't know there really was anything considered a "hike" in L.A.). Anyways, last weekend I got to do one of those new things when I brought Finn out to Runyon Canyon Park.

Runyon Canyon is a massive, 134 acre, hiking trail and park located in the Hollywood hills between Hollywood boulevard and Mulholland Drive. Parking is a hassel and can add a mile to a hike if you go at a busy time. The off-leash area is packed with people from dawn until dusk and there are loads of dogs around. Personally I keep Finn on a leash when we are there simply because he is excitable and I worry that he'll go scampering off down a slope that is too steep for a chase, or he'll find some wildlife that I don't want to save him from. As you can see from the picture below (taken of the west trail from the eastern trail) the path is fine but there is a lot of area in the park that you do NOT want a pet going.
View of Runyon Canyon Off leash dog trail in Los AngelesRunyon Canyon Trail East- UnpavedThat being said, the park is gorgeous. The western side has a paved service road that is almost entirely off leash. The eastern path (above) is an unpaved trail that winds up the side of the hill and provides some great lookouts of L.A. The two do meet up for a total hike that is about 3-4 miles of off leash excitement. More trails at the top of the hill attach the off leash area to the Mullholland entrance (which does have some limited parking).
Lots of water fountains at Runyon Canyon Dog Park
The park caters to dogs and dog owners and there are plenty of water stops at the base of the trails and a few along the way. You do have to bring your own bags though, the park does not provide any and is notorious for being a "toilet" thanks to the off leash nature and some irresponsible pet owners.

Picnic tables at RUnyon Canyon Dog parkThere are some picnic tables and a garden by the Fuller entrance where you can catch your breath after a long hike and along the trail benches and well positioned rocks provide a place to sit (albeit unshaded) to admire the scenery.

Runyon Canyon Trail View of Los Angeles

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Photos of a Golden Retriever's day at the beach

Here are a few photos from our recent trip to Leo Carillo State Park in Malibu. It was Finn's first experience in the ocean.
Wet dog Finnegan sitting on the beachIt was a beautiful day for Finn's first trip into the ocean.
A blue sky and a golden retrieverThe wet puppy was covered in sand but still looked adorable
Finnegan the golden retriever with the surf in the backgroundThe seagulls helped keep Finn's attention, he loved chasing their shadows. He also wanted to attack every piece of seaweed he saw wash up.
Finn the dog's first trip into the ocean surfAnd here is another one showing off what a beautiful southern California day it was.
Another regal golden retriever with a beautiful blue sky

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dog Beach Los Angeles- Leo Carillo State Park

Although it is technically not in Los Angeles (as no beaches are), Leo Carillo State Park is one of the few sandy ocean side destinations that allows dogs without the threat of a fine. We took Finn up there this weekend in hopes of letting him play in the waves, which we didn't let him do the last time we brought him to a beach. After pawing at a few mild splashes Finn dove in and within minutes was letting waves crashes on top of him.Golden retriever in the surf
The on leash rule, even in the water, is a bit of a bummer but we did see a lot of extending leashes and stakes with leads attached. Of course Finn was upset that he didn't get to run free but unlike other dog parks you are allowed to bring food so we were able to entice him to relax for a few minutes. There were tons of other dogs at the beach, in every size and most owners were friendly with well socialized pets. As always though, Finn was the best looking one of the bunch.Wet golden retriever on the beachThe beach does provide a great place to run with a dog, but for those who want a more intense walk the park also contains a few miles of hiking trails as well as overnight camping spots. Running in the sand with the dog

There are no bags here but it is a beach so it is pretty easy to figure out a way to "pick up" after a pet. Also there is no water (fresh... clearly there is salt water), which could be a big problem for dogs that like drinking salt water (which causes dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea). If you are going to a beach with a pet you may want to look at some more tips about taking a dog to a beach.

Getting to Leo Carillo beach was an easy hour drive from the westside of Los Angeles, but if PCH is backed up it could be quite the haul. The park is located at 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and parking there is $10 for the day, not bad by L.A. standards. View of Leo Carillo State Park Dog Beach Of the 1.5mi of beach area about .75mi is a designated dog friendly area. As you enter the park you drive under a bridge and follow the road north of tower 3 to the second parking lot, dogs are allowed ON LEASH anywhere north of tower 3. Here is a little more on the features of Leo Carillo State Park, and below is a map of the area.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Barrington Dog Park

Finn has been lucky these past couple weeks getting to go on loads of trips. The weather has been great and in an effort to branch out we have been taking him to new parks in the Los Angeles area such as Barrington Dog Park. Of all the places we have been, Palisades park, Laurel Canyon Dog Park, and Santa Monica Airport Dog Park this one tops our list for a few reasons. First, it's close and accessible, only a few miles away in Brentwood (the address is 333 S. Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles 90049, and there is a map below). The park is also mulch covered, which means even if there is some rain the is a chance your dog won't get too dirty. Best of all, it is quiet, but there are still other dogs around. Organizers and volunteers, the friends of Barrington Dog park, even hold a weekly lemonade stand to help support the park. The only issue there may be is a lack of parking and finding the park. Luckily I was equipped with a satellite view that showed the figure 8 shaped park just east of Barrington drive right next to two baseball fields. The fields have a small parking lot, but so long as there isn't a game going on you can find a space.

Barrington dog park small dog areaThe small dog area (above and below) is, well.. it's small. But I think that is the whole point. There are a few trees, some benches, and tennis balls in there though so it is something.
barrington dog park small dog area with benchesBarrington Dog park back areaThe big dog park is laid out in a weird way (almost like a figure 8 like I said above) and unless you walk to the back of the park you may miss that there is twice as much space as what you see when you walk in. The above picture is what I'm calling the "back lot" of the park. A whole seperate area that is at least a few acres, complete with a bench and a tent for shade. Below you can see the back of the front lot. The fence there is for the baseball field but walk to the corner of right field and there is a break in the fence that lets you into the back lot.
Barrington Dog park all mulched and service roadBarrington dog park big dog area with Finnegan
Finn enjoyed this place because he is not a picky dog, but also becasue there were tons of tennis balls lying around. We went on a VERY hot day so I was pleased to see that like any good dog park Barrington has a watering hole.
Barrington Dog park watering hole
Just a quick recap of the park
Name: Barrington Dog Park
Location: 333 S. Barrington Ave Los Angeles 90049
Separate small dog area.
Bags and trash cans provided.
Tennis balls provided
On site water.
Mulched ground.
Entirely fenced 5 (or so.. I'm guessing here) acres

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

West Los Angeles Animal Shelter

As a first time dog owner, one of the most intimidating tasks of getting Finn was choosing where to get him. With all the news about horrible puppy mills, bad breeders, and rescued dogs that suddenly become viscious it is tought to know who to trust with your dog the first few precious weeks of their life. We lucked out with Finn, finding a family that had cared for him as their own (because both his parents were their own). The saddness they showed in parting with him that first day expressed how much they cared for him and let us know that he was treated as an infant the way we would treat him thereafter, with love.

Of course, there are other places that will treat a dog with the love, care, and respect they need and deserve. One of those places is just a few miles from here, the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter. The facility, which opened last fall, is an immaculate place that sets an example for what a animal shelter should be. Not only are the facilities nice, but all the people who work and volunteer there are friendly and genuinely care for the animals. Finn's Mom, who has always been an animal lover, began volunteering there a few months ago. The training program was a one day session and now she helps out from time to time, bathing, socializing, and exercising the dogs that live at the shelter.

There are a variety of animals at the facility but the majority of the space is dedicated to the K9 family. Dogs are situated into male and female sections with most sharing a space. The area is hard concrete, but contains a separate covered area for sleeping and a water fountain so no one gets thristy. Cages are cleaned on a regular basis and if their is any mess it is cleaned up in a timely manner.The free space and socialization area are the real draws of the shelter. Not only do they serve as a perfect arena to play with a potential pet (which you are encouraged to do before adopting) but volunteers also can exercise, train, and socialize the pooches. This area allows many neglected and abused dogs a transition place to let them become comfortable with humans in a playful environment.

All the cages are shaded, and small dogs have a separate area. Except for the noise, which the dogs seem to enjoy, the shelter provides a comfortable home for strays, rescued and lost pets.
Although the bars and concrete may not seem inviting, on a hot day the cool concrete is the ideal place for those covered in fur. With plenty of vistors there is no shortage of attention and most of the residents of the shelter seem as happy as a dog with a more traditional home.
The golden in these pictures is believed to be a lost dog. Attempts are made to contact the owner if a dog is chipped or still has a tag. Otherwise they are held for a set period before anyone can possibly adopt them.
We hope his owner finds him soon, Finn sure would like a friend, but right now our house is at animal capacity. However, if we do get another dog at some point, the shelter will be our first stop. As I mentioned all dogs that pass through the shelter are subjected to a behavior test, and dogs are not adopted out until the problem is solved. Males are neutered and females spayed, microchips are implanted and every attempt is made to solve existing problems (deworming, scars/infections etc) so it is a pretty safe bet that a dog rescued from here will be a healthy happy pooch to the right home.. If any of you happen to live in the area and are looking for a good place to adopt a pet I would suggest you take a look here.

The West Los Angeles Animal Shelter is one of eight Los Angeles area animal care centers. It is located at: 11361 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064 and can be reached at 888-4LAPET1 or 888-452-7381.

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