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.

Bark in the Park

dog at chase field

On Sunday, you get to take your dog to a ballgame in downtown Phoenix to see the Arizona Diamondback whip up on the Giants.

What dog doesn’t live baseball? Will the D-backs continue making a comeback of sorts? Will there be plunking? Can you catch a foul ball and watch your dog at the same time?

Ah, the drama…. and the hot dogs!

Want to make a day of it? Cooperstown and Phoenix Public Market welcome dogs on the patio, incase you and the pooch want to make a pit stop before the game. Or there’s always Short Leash Hot Dogs incase you didn’t get enough at the game.

For the other kind of  pit stops, there’s a grassy area located outside Chase Field’s Gate K (northeast entry) that is designated as an animal-relief area.


Cheaper pet meds?

cone of shame better
You love her. You want to take care of her. But sometimes making sure your dog is as healthy as possible can be expensive.

So how can you keep your dog healthy without breaking the bank?

In our book, Happy Dog Phoenix pointed out the Maricopa County has free prescription drug card that people can sign up for to get discounts on people drugs as well as dog drugs.

The city of Phoenix now has one too. It offers a break of up to 65 percent at participating pharmacies and can really help out people without insurance or those who have high deductibles or co pays. For more information, call 1-800-931-8872 or go to coast@coastrx.com

Here are some other suggestions on getting a break on prescription costs:

  1. Work with your vet: Is there a less-expensive, human drug equivalent? Or generics? Or a cheaper place to fill the drug prescription? Costco and Target fill vet prescriptions.
  2. Other discount drug card programs include: Needymeds.org, AAA and AARP.
  3. If you buy online, order from a site that belongs to Vet-VIPPS accredited pharmacies. These sites comply with federal and state licensing requirements and quality assurance; other sites may sell counterfeit or expired medications.

Let’s celebrate

party hat bigger
The accountants (photographed above) have spoken: We’re able to send a check to Phoenix Animal Care Coalition 911 for another $1,000.

This is all because of caring people like you who have bought and supported Happy Dog Phoenix.

All in all, we have raised more than $2,500 for animal rescue. Way to go everyone!

Recently our neighborhood had two dogs wandering through who had obviously been dumped by their previous humans. They were well-fed, well-behaved, collar-wearing and tagless dogs who seemed bewildered that they had lost their homes.

I am lucky to living in a caring neighborhood and temporary homes were found for the dogs. But while this was being done, many of us, myself included, were just wringing our hands as we tried to figure out what to do.

By supporting organizations like PAC911 that hold large adopt-a-thons where all rescue groups can participate, you are helping dogs like those who were abandoned on our neighborhood streets.

Thanks again for your support! And now onto the next $1,000.



Christmas Spirit

IMG_0081 250
Tired of baking for size-2 people who are still dieting? Giving gifts to those who have everything? And bringing holiday cheer to the un-cheerable?

Then stop!

And start baking some treats for the dog.

It is a sure-fire guarantee to get you in the holiday spirit. The dog loves you anyway and won’t mind any culinary imperfections. The house will have that wonderful fresh-baked smell. And you will have all kinds of clean-up help. (Don’t worry Mom, the bowl goes into the dishwasher to be sterilized — the dog is just the pre-rinse)

Here’s my favorite dog-cookie recipe.

And here’s a ton of other great recipes at one of my favorit cooking sites.

Bone appetit everyone!



Take a Hike/Walk a Dog


hike 500This is such a terrific idea – makes me glad to live where I do!

 One every first Saturday, Maricopa County’s Animal Care and Control brings several adoptable dogs to Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa. People who are interested in a dog can show up, hike along with the dog and maybe walk away with a new family member.

The Wag & Walk Adoption Hike program has already paid off. During November’s first-ever adoption/hike, two dogs were adopted.

 At the very least, people get a chance to hike through the beautiful trails east of Phoenix and the dogs get a chance for some much-appreciated exercise. Hiking also gives the dogs a great chance to show themselves in the best possible light – sometimes; it can be difficult for a dog to act natural if they are in an impersonal setting like a shelter.

 The hike is one mile long along Usery Mountain’s Merkle Trail. It will also feature topics such as trail etiquette and safety tips for dog owners.

Wag & Walk Adoption Hikes are scheduled for the first Saturday of each month through April. Participants are asked to meet at the park’s Merkle Trailhead by 9 a.m. Hikers are reminded to bring water, sun protection and sturdy footwear.

 Friendly leashed dogs are also invited to attend, but must be at least six months of age and current on their vaccinations. Dog owners are asked to bring water, bowl, and bags to pick up after their pet. There is a $6 per vehicle park entry fee.

Shop Local with Your Friend

dog at farmers marketShop local with your friend

This is such a good idea that I almost can’t stand it: Take your well-trained dog with you to one of the many farmers’ markets throughout the metro Phoenix area. It’s a fun weekend outing for you and the dog; it’s a chance to buy local goods and a chance to buy nutritious goods. The mind boggles with all the terrific possibilities from this.

And there may be a dog treat in there for your well-behaved dog.

Some of our favorite weekend farmers’ markets are:


On Saturdays



Get to Know a Pit Bull

Pit-Bull-MythsEducation can come at you from unexpected places.

One of the interviews I did for Happy Dog Phoenix was with Rodrigo Silva, head of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. And the interview was going fine with me asking him about how lost dogs are handled. And then we started talking about taking care of dogs. And I asked him what I thought was a dumb question “What do you think of people who ride their bikes and have their dogs run along side to keep up?’’

Silva’s eyes looked away for a minute and I could tell I had inadvertently struck a nerve.

My dumb question had reminded him of a dog he had loved and lost.

Turns out Silva had had a dog who ran with him as he rode his bike. It was the best way for the dog to burn off some of the never-exhausted energy of his. That dog, of course, was a pit bull.

Silva loved the dog. The dog’s confidence, strength and joy at life.

And then one day, someone poisoned Silva’s dog. He believes they did it because they were scared of the breed not just of his dog.

After Silva told me about this act of ignorant cowardice, we both just stopped for a moment, tears glistening in our eyes. And then we tried to compose ourselves and get back to the business of the interview.

On Saturday, on National Pit Bull Awareness Day, pit bull lovers will meet at Cosmo Dog Park to celebrate their dogs and help people learn more about these misunderstood dogs. It’s a chance to meet some really great dogs and get some education.

Dogs and Halloween


Dogs and Halloween

Two of my favorites.

And apparently, a lot of other people think Halloween and dogs go together like well, miniature  Snickers and my mouth, because there are lot of doggie Halloween events this season throughout metro Phoenix.

Here’s a list of some (let us know of any others):

  • Oct. 19: Beagles, Boos and Brews in central Phoenix: Costume Contest-all types of dogs welcome! Coin Drive, Raffle Prizes and Vendors too! A portion of all restaurant proceeds from 12-4pm will be donated to Arizona Beagle Rescue.
  • Oct. 26: Scottsdale Fall Festival: In addition to costume contests for kids and families, there will be a dog costume contest at 8:35 p.m. All dogs, large and small will participate together.
  • Oct. 26: Dog Halloween Event at W Scottsdale: W Scottsdale, Oh, My Dog Boutique and Lucky Paws Animal Rescue present a Halloween party on W Scottsdale’s outdoor patio and dogs are invited. Dress your dog and yourself in costume for a contest. Prizes awarded for funniest, cutest and most-creative costumes. DJ music, a cash bar and $5 Sushi Roku specialty rolls will be available, along with a Pawtini cocktail for $10 with proceeds benefiting Lucky Paws Animal Rescue. Dogs available for adoption during the event. Admission is free, but attendees are asked to bring pet food, toys or cat litter which will be donated to the rescue.
  • Oct. 31: Halloween in the Hills, Fountain Hills: The Pets N’ Their People costume contest for “Best Human + Pet Costume Combo” will start at 6 p.m., contest registration opens at 5 p.m. Download entry form online and bring it with you. Registration is free, but donations are encouraged and will benefit Pal’s Inn Animal Resort/Rescue Pals of Fountain Hills.
  • Oct. 31: Halloween Festival in Apache Junction: The annual Halloween Festival includes a Howl-o-ween Canine Costume Contest and a K-9 Demo & Safety Talk.
  • Oct. 31Yappy Hour “Howl-oween in Scottsdale”:The resort’s biggest Yappy Hour of the year. No contests, but humans and their pets get dressed up and enjoy happy hour. $10 includes a glass of wine. All proceeds benefit the Arizona Humane Society.

Sadly, the Beagle doesn’t share my enthusiasm for the holiday. Faster than you can say “Hey, I paid $9.99 for those doggie devil horns,’’ she has slid out of her Halloween costume and is looking around for something to eat.

Oh well, I guess we all celebrate Halloween a little differently.