Ay Chihuahua!

chihuahua betterAh, the Chihuahua, such a misunderstood dog. Yappy, snappy, reminds us of a boss with a Napoleonic complex. And to be completely honest, I have not always appreciated Chihuahuas. But in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican, let’s look at ten really good reasons to love a Chihuahua:

  1. They are built for speed. Check out Chandler’s annual Chihuahua races.
  2. They are built for desert climates. They love being warm and burrowing under covers and sleeping flush up against you.
  3. If you buy one big ol’ bag of dog food, it can last a year if you have a Chihuahua
  4. At two to six pounds, the Chihuahua is the smallest breed in the world. No upper body strength? No problem. You can still carry your Chihuahua around.
  5. Learning how to spell Chihuahua correctly boosts your IQ
  6. Chihuahuas are one of the oldest registered breeds in America; they were recognized in 1904.
  7. Chihuahuas, or dogs just like them, are believed to date back to 5th century AD. They were breed as the forerunner of the doorbell.
  8. They seem to be OK with wearing funny hats
  9. What we see as incredible unfriendliness bordering on psychosis is just a Chihuahua protecting their person.
  10. Just like with any other dog, a Chihuahua’s behavior depends on how he was raised and the experiences he has encountered.

Scottsdale Trails

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Wanting to get a head start on your New Year’s resolution of hiking with the hound?

Try a trail that’s good for you and your buddy.

Frequently, a dog’s fitness mirrors their person’s fitness. So if you have been a sofa spud, chances are your dog’s physique reflects that. If you’re active, your dog is probably active as well.

To be on the safe side, on your first hikes, go on outings that you know you and your dog can easily tackle. Look for trails that are relatively smooth and boulder-free. Trails that are wide and that have plenty of stopping spots with shade are good as well. And try for the trails that have minimal encounters with mountain bikes and horses, until at least you know for certain how your dog will react to them.

In north Scottsdale, why not check out Brown’s Ranch or the aptly named Lost Dog Wash trail. And check out our dog-friendly Scottsdale restaurants for well-deserved breakfasts for both of you.

Just remember, keep your dogs on their leashes and bring along a lot of water and some poop bags.

Happy trails to you and Fido!

New Beagle

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Meet the new Beagle (not really the) same as the old Beagle.

After being in not-so-terrific shape for a while, HoneyBun passed away in early November and it took me only a couple days to realize that the house (and me) needed a dog.

I called Arizona Beagle Rescue and they had Artie ready and willing to check out a prospective new home. I can’t stress enough how great it was to work with a rescue group to find a new dog.  These are kind-hearted people who are dedicated to finding good homes for their dogs. They are selective when it comes to making matches; they want a good fit for canine and human alike.

I told them what kind of beagle I was looking for: sweet, active yet mellow. And the New Beagle, Artie, fits that bill exactly. If only AZBR did human match-making! That’s how good they are at pairing up creatures.

After seven years with HoneyBun, I thought I knew what to expect with having a dog and especially having a beagle. Love of food? Check. Obsession to sniff? Check. Situational good hearing? Check.

But in some ways, Artie is very much different than HoneyBun. Returning to the same breed seems to me to be the best of both worlds: you are comforted by the familiarity of the breed’s tendencies and you are amazed at their individual quirks that we all, dog and human, alike have. Every day has certainly been a new day with Artie.

For all my friends who have lost a cherished pet and haven’t yet adopted – you know who you are – I hope this story helps nudge you a little bit to adopting that new dog. After all, our story has had a happy ending and yours can too.


RIP HoneyBun

honeybun - a happy dog HoneyBun, inspiration of Happy Dog Phoenix, passed away Sunday. She was 16 and had been in declining health. Here are just some of the lessons I learned from this wonderful dog:

  1. There are some things worth getting up for at 4 a.m.
  2. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  3. Eating a bag of dry Soba noodles and drinking a lot of water will give you the physique of a Sumo wrestler.
  4. Don’t spend time on things that don’t matter. Just walk away.
  5. Naps. Naps. Naps.
  6. Investigate every crack, crevice, shopping bag and shrub. Something good is bound to be there.
  7. Get excited to see your pals.
  8. Just go for it.
  9. You say it’s cat poop. I say it is delicious. It pays to think for yourself.
  10. Grow old gracefully and enjoy every last morsel.

Downtown Dogs

short leash Your dog, faithful and loyal creature that she is, is still rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rest of us are wondering if we can just default on the season and wave the white flag of surrender. But you can make your dog happy by taking her to a baseball Sunday afternoon at the ol’ ballpark. The Arizona Diamondbacks is having Bark in the Park, where you can bring your dog in and watch the ballgame at Chase Field. It is a lot of fun and having the dogs there may be the only way the D’backs can salvage anything out of this season. You can salvage the outing by stopping by Short Leash Hot Dogs Sit and Stay while you and the dog are in downtown Phoenix. Short Leash Hot Dogs offers hot dogs so superior to ballpark franks it is not even funny. There’s no mystery meat, no wimpy stale buns or condiments that come out of gallon drums. My personal fave is the Igby, a hot dog topped with coleslaw and bbq sauce and blue cheese, wrapped in warm flatbread. Yum yum yum yum yum. Is this place dog friendly? The Igby is named after the owner’s dog.  As is the Oliver. Many of their concoctions are named after dogs and Short Leash runs a dog of the week contest so your little cutie can have a hot dog named after her. No matter what the Diamondbacks do on the baseball field, you and the dog will both win at Short Leash—have fun tomorrow! Hot dogs not your thing – check out our other recommendations for dog friendly downtown Phoenix

Million-dollar idea


You have wrassled the dog into the car and out of the car. You’ve avoided the big dogs and the angry dogs in the waiting room (looking at you, snippy Yorkshire).

You’ve waited for the diagnosis, going back and forth between worrying about the dog, worrying about paying for it and feeling bad that you are worried about the money as well as the dog.

Have I mentioned that you have taken time off work and you are worrying about The Boss (not the Springsteen kind)

And then you have to schlep the dog back to the car.

And even though, it’s 9 a.m. and you are not a functional alcoholic, you are thinking, God, a drink would be lovely now.

And that’s where my awesome money-making idea comes into play.

Frozen margarita stands outside of vet offices.


Something for the dog; something for you.

Not a really heavy drink but just a suggestion of alcohol to make you take a breath and realize it will all be OK. Nothing that will impair your driving at all.

And say, there are some kind of city rules that prohibit this. Well, why not have a bar set up in the vet’s office. Or at least margarita pops. Or flasks. Or rum balls. Just something.

I share this idea with you first before I race to the U.S. Patent Office, the Arizona Corporation Commission and other pertinent authorities.

But I will be back when I launch my IPO and am looking for investors – get in on the ground floor now before I expand into pediatricians offices, which will be just as lucrative as the vets.

You know this is a good idea.

Pool Party!


partners betterWant to be the greatest dog person ever?

Organize a pool party for your dog. What a cool way for your dog and his closest buds to spend a hot Phoenix summer day – without creating a shambles at your house.

The Partners Dog Aquatic Center in Cave Creek will rent out their dog swimming pool for parties and gatherings. It’s ideal for dog clubs or rescue groups that are looking for a totally dog-friendly event.

Your dog can’t swim? Good thing to know before he gets into the pool!

Partners also offers classes with the understanding that very few dogs can’t learn how to swim. Even bigger breeds such as Great Danes and Dobermans can get the motions down with proper training.

Partners insists on dogs being able to swim before getting into their pool; they also don’t want to see anyone forcing a dog into the pool either.

The dog aquatic center also offers drop-in social swims for dogs on Saturday mornings—call ahead to register. It is also home to a Dock Dogs group, where dogs take a flying leap off of a dock and compete in areas such as length of jump.

Dog pool party –swimsuit optional!


Splish, Splash

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Where is a good place to take your dog in Phoenix during the summer?

Um, even closer to the AC?

If it’s 110, leave the dog at home but if it is a little cooler than that and you both are suffering from cabin (condo) fever, we have a couple suggestions.

Why not head out early and try a splash pad – those lovely little oases where water sprays up and helps cool you down? They’re like community sprinklers.

One shopping center, Arizona Center in downtown Phoenix, even bills itself as dog friendly.

You may have to take your chances at other splash pads. If you dog loves water AND kids, it could be a match made in heaven. Or better yet go down early as possible. Chances are it is easier for you wrangle your Weimaraner into the car and get there than it will be for some parent with a passel of kids. Get there before the munchkin hoard arrives.

Here are some of the Valley’s best splash pads:

  • Kierland Commons Splash Pad
  • The Splash Pad at Scottsdale Quarter
  • Tempe Beach Splash Playground
  • Tempe Marketplace Splash Pad
  • Kidsplash Fountain at Desert Ridge Marketplace
  • Westgate City Center Fountain Park
  • Splash Park at Rio Vista Community Park in Peoria
  • Adventure Park Splash Pad at Anthem Community Park


Later this week: Possibly the coolest water park for dogs ever

Poolside with Pooch

dog at resort
“It’s hot. What do you want to do?”

“I want to have fun and not spend a ton of money.”

“Hey, let’s find a resort that has a deal and use their AC and swimming pool.’’

“What about the dog?”

Bring the dog with!

A lot of terrific Phoenix area resorts have smokin’ deals this summer and many of these resorts are dog friendly.

To clarify, some resorts say they are dog friendly and they really aren’t: they charge huge fees for your dogs and skimp on the treats. Others, like Firesky and W in Scottsdale, are totally down with dogs and lovingly liberal with their canine goodies.

For a complete rundown of dog-friendly resorts, check out our just updated list for resorts in metro Phoenix and Tucson.

See you poolside, umbrella drinks included!

Let’s go to San Diego

Hmmm, temperature in Phoenix for Thursday: 111; temperature in San Diego: 70.

Seems like it is time to pack up the dog and hit the road. Perhaps you already have!

Your dog, of course, will love going to San Diego since not only does it have such incredibly fine weather, it is also perennially named as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country.

The beaches are a big part of why San Diego gets such glowing reviews.

There are four dog beaches in the metro area. (Our book Happy Dog Phoenix has the list) And when we say dog beaches, we mean it. People are just as likely to pack up their dog to go to the beach as they are to get the cooler ready. Dogs are everywhere. In July, there’s a surf-dog competition; there are some surfing classes for your dog and near every dog-friendly beach is a dog wash where you can lather them up and hose them down.

Our favorite dog wash is Dog Beach Dog Wash (also known as OB Dog Wash). It’s the classic, opened in 1993, and known for very friendly employees and a fun laid-back atmosphere. That’s important because when you are washing a Rottweiler, it’s good to be mellow.

Another San Diego dog classic is: The Original Paw Pleasers. It offers fresh-baked treats and but my dog, like me, loves the ice cream.

One more San Diego classic is the historic Hotel del Coronado, which now welcomes small pets, and for those with bigger dogs, check out the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Looking for budget friendly as well as dog friendly? Head over to the Holiday Inn near Horton Plaza or there’s always La Quinta.

Ahhh, San Diego: five hours away and 40 degrees cooler. Can’t beat it.