Dogs and Spring Training

dog at spring training game
Want to bring your dog with you as you enjoy a day of sun, suds and spring training? Well, sad to say Cactus League ballparks aren’t as welcoming to the four-legged dogs as they are to the meat-byproduct ones.

Only one of the ten Cactus League Ballparks has a dog-day special in 2018. And that’s Peoria Sports Complex, home of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. Interestingly, the Padres play in Petco Park at home –and they were the first team in baseball to have bring-your-dog-to-the-game days.

Peoria Sports Complex more than makes up for the dearth of other Cactus League teams because it has not one – but four PawParty Days’’ on March 1, 6, 15 and 23!

On these days, you can sit on the lawn and watch a game with your favorite canine buddy. It’s up to you,though, to figure how much of your hot dogs you want to share with The Dog.

Take your dog to spring training

To get your dog into the game, purchase a “dog-admission ticket” at the Ticket Office Window.

All of the PawParty Days’ proceeds will go to the Arizona Humane Society.

The scoop on Peoria stadium

Of all of the stadiums, Peoria has the most promotions this season, including  honoring nurses, teachers and veterans.

That’s great because other stadiums just gladly take your money and then turn around charge you a bundle for beer and a hot dog. Do I sound bitter? Sorry. I just remember the old days when going to a spring-training game was a spur-of-the-moment decision, made mostly because you had nothing better to do that particular afternoon. It was more of a lark and didn’t involve so much logistics. Or parking. Or planning. Or money.

But enough nostaligia for the old days! If you are interested in making it a day with dog, may we suggest the ultra-friendly Salty Senorita, which is super dog friendly and close to the ballpark.

And play ball!




Year of the Dog –Welcome!

img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-2369″ src=”” alt=”year of the dog ” width=”225″ height=”225″ />Gong Hey Fat Choy! Welcome to the Year of the Dog!

I kinda think every year is the Year of the Dog (at least around our house) but according to Chinese astrology, 2018 is for all the Dogs out there (people born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018) to have their time.

The 2018 Chinese New Year, celebrated around the world, begins on Friday, Feb. 16 and lasts for two weeks.

What does Year of the Dog mean?

According to a number of astrology sites I looked at (one that said it was 100-percent accurate – can’t go wrong with that!) the Year of the Dog is going to favor canine traits. The Years of the Rooster (2017) and Monkey (2016), which brought more impulsiveness and disharmony into the scene, are thankfully in the past.

2018 is expected to bring prosperity, particularly to those who, like the Dog, are proactive, work hard and communicate well. Dogs are natural problem solvers so now may be a good time to try new business ventures or make lifestyle changes.

All of us will get some of the Dog’s keen sense of right and wrong and perhaps that means more equality for all.

Let’s raise the doggy water bowl to that! Power to the pups!

Not so much into astrology

You don’t think there’s a species worth of difference between a Year of the Rooster or Dog? You can always check out your birthyear and see what animal represents you. Does it ring true for your personality?

Still not going for it? Well, you can always shop instead. Turns out there is some really nifty merchandise to commemorate Year of the Dog. Who knew?

How about these very cool shoes that are supposed to be for kids but maybe you can squish your feet into them?

year of the dog merchandise

You will actually want to use snail mail with these breed-specific Year of the Dog stamps

year of the dog

Very cute little stuffed dog

year of the dog doll
Does your dog smoke? Maybe they need a lighter?

year of the dog
 And finally a onesie — for your little human Dog 

year of dog

Service-dog laws in Arizona

service dogs

Photo courtesy of Canine Companions for Independence

There’s a new bill going through the Arizona Legislature to tighten the leash on people who try to pass their dogs off as service dogs.

Which I admit, I have been greatly tempted to do.

Like most of us, I like spending time with the dog and want to take her with me to grocery stores or Starbucks (although there is a pretty extensive list of dog-friendly places in Phoenix). Most of all, I would love her comforting presence when I fly. I’d gladly pay for her to sit with me on the plane (only domestic, of course –hey, not made of money here).

Why I don’t pass off my dog as a service dog

But I have talked with enough people who have trained dogs for people with disabilities, to realize that my poorly trained Beagle could give real service dogs a bad name. And “real’’ service dogs are true heroes – they can do everything from help people with hearing losses know if there is a knock on the door to alert people with neurological problems of potential seizures.

Apparently, there are others who are passing their dog off as a trained service dogs and now, a Fountain Hills legislator wants to rein them in.

Service-dog legislation

Sen. John Kavanagh wants judges to impose fines of up to $250 on anyone who fraudulently misrepresents an animal as a service animal or service animal in training to operators of businesses, public recreation sites, buses, taxis and ambulances.

Under SB 1040, a business owner can file a complaint if they feel someone has brought in a fake service dog. The dog owner would have to prove otherwise. Kavanagh is no stranger to dog issues – he was a guiding force behind last year’s legislation to help dogs trapped in hot cars.

“It’s amazing that you can’t get a placard to park your car in a disabled spot unless a doctor certifies that you’re disabled.

“But, pretty much, today everybody can walk around and buy vests (for their animals) on the internet and claim non-trained animals are service animals. It makes no sense to me,” he told KJZZ.

The other side of service dog

Attorneys for the Arizona Center for Disability Law, which represents people with disabilities, said Kavanagh is trying to solve a non-existent problem.

Arizona law already gives businesses the right to eject any animal — including a service animal — if it misbehaves, is not housebroken, poses an “undue burden” or “poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others,” say center attorneys.

Arizona isn’t the only state looking at this: At least 19 others have cracked down on fraudulent service dogs. Massachusetts is now considering a similar proposal to Arizona’s.

What do you think?

For dog lovers, this is interesting stuff. We love our dogs and always want them nearby. Yet, we, more than others, understand how much a dog could mean to someone who faces really tough challenges every day.

If you have any thoughts, pass them along to your legislator.


Cookie recipes for the dog

peter and pickle love christmas cookies
Christmas is only days away but surely, you have done the shopping, wrapping and delivering? Well, let’s pretend that you have. It’s going to be relatively chilly in Phoenix the next couple days — why not hunker down and bake some cookie treats for your best friend, the dog?

I love baking for the dog and her pals. They are a non-judgmental, hungry, even greedy group of gourmets who like everything that gets put in front of them, foodwise.

christmas cookies for dogs

Dog cookies galore

In the morning, I walk into the kitchen, where there are tubs of dog cookies and I’m not tempted by any of these ‘treats”. I give these cookies away at cookie exchanges and everyone is happy to walk away with a box of goodies that won’t affect their waistline. I also give away the cookies to neighbors and colleagues and it’s a great way to start up a conversation. Something along the lines of “You have dogs? I have dogs. Now, can you get me that report before I expire from old age? Happy holidays!”

But the biggest thing of all: baking for the dog gets me into the holiday spirit of giving. Not the type of giving that happens because you feel compelled to go out and buy a gift but the better kind of giving: the simple act of doing something out of love in your heart and knowing that it will bring a smile to another person (or creature). The joy that comes from that really lightens my heart, especially in these darker times.

Dog-cookie recipes

And without further woo-woo ado, here are this year’s dog cookie recipes. I made them all and I cheerfully comment on all of them:

  • Alexander’s Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit Treats: the first I ever baked and I still love them. This year, I used small heart-shaped cookie cutters on these and they turned out very sweet!
  • Calvin’s Christmas Cookies: Very festive — somehow it always reminds me of the Flinstones. Just absolutely push down those cranberries and pumpkin seeds into the dough or they will plop out once baking is done.
  • Homemade Dog Treats — I thought the peanut-butter/bacon glaze for the treats would be the bomb but then I had doubts about frying that much bacon to get the bacon fat for the glaze. And I thought about how bacon fat isn’t good for the dog, so I opted for the coconut oil option. Freeze the treats to get the glaze to really stick. Next year, I think I am just going to smear some peanut butter on the cookie and forgo the glaze.

And that’s the joy of making cookies for dogs!

Happy holidays everyone!


Gifts for the dog this holiday season

You know you are getting the dog a gift this holiday — a little something extra.

Why not shop local?

The metro Phoenix area is home to a lot of great entrepreneurs who love dogs as much as you do and their products/stores show it!

Plus, when you visit these local stores and vendors, they welcome your dog as well as you!

Green beans for Thanksgiving blues

Artie snubbing green beans


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did but we are all experiencing some food hangovers. Too much sugar, salt, carbs, etc. etc and neither the dog nor I are feeling exactly tip-top.  Fortunately, for her, the Thanksgiving leftovers include green beans.

I studiously avoid overcooking green beans. They get just a quick dip in some boiling water until they are tender but still crisp. Then I toss them into some ice-cold water and they retain a bright green color and an actual vegetal taste. And they are good in the refrigerators through the weekend.

The beagle and green beans

Whenever I snap fresh green beans to get them ready for cooking, I have help. Artie the Beagle is very fond of them  and will just eat a fresh one from my hand (except of course, when I am videotaping her and then she just snubs them, like the little perplexing princess that she is.)

Artie has had good luck with green beans before. As a rescue dog with Arizona Beagle Rescue, she had some weight to lose after being in the pound. Arizona Beagle Rescue has had good results with green beans and so Artie was used to getting a little extra dose of fiber in her dog bowl.

I didn’t realize that when I agreed to foster her from beagle rescue. She and a guest dog had arrived just in time for Thanksgiving and I was busy in the kitchen cooking up some make-ahead side dishes for a family meal, when I felt like I was being watched. I looked down and indeed, there were two dogs circling around my legs like piranhas looking for their next meal. Who knew the power of green beans?

Why green beans?

Green beans are chock full of important vitamins and minerals, such as protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. They’re also full of fiber and are low in calories.

There is such a thing for dogs as the green-bean diet, in which you up your dog’s consumption of these fiberrific veggies until it is half of their diet. One vet weighs in that this may be too drastic approach to doggie weight loss.

I just use the green beans as an alternative to treats and when the cameras aren’t rolling, Artie loves them. (What about turkey – what’s the verdict on giving the dog another leftover staple?)

Now if only I could be satisifed with veggies as snacks….that would be a true holiday miracle!

Coyotes in central Phoenix Part: 2

coyote in central Phoenix
So, last week I wrote about a problem in our central Phoenix neighborhood distressing to us dog people: coyotes.

I had one lounging on my front yard and others have seen them sauntering through the ‘hood. These coyotes are not particularly scared of us and the Arizona Game and Fish Department advice of walking tough and acting big and frightening isn’t working.

Worried about my dog, the neighbor’s small dogs and kids playing at Encanto Park, where apparently a den of them live, I called my City Councilperson Laura Pastor.

The City Council’s advice about coyotes

I talked with a very nice guy there who said he would do some research and get back to me. After a lot of missed calls, we connected. Got to give him an “A” for effort.

The advice….

First he suggested talking with neighbors who feed stray cats because the cat food and the cats themselves attract coyotes.

But we both realized that the kind-hearted people who do that may not want to stop feeding the cats and there is nothing that can be done about that.

Then, he suggested making sure all the garbage can lids were secure and not easy to open to deprive them of an easy source of food. Fair enough. I can do a quick survey of the alleys and report back to the city.

Lastly, he suggested super soakers. Apparently coyotes hate water as much as cats do. And a blast from a super soaker will annoy them enough to make them run off.


I can get a super soaker and place it by the front door and blast at any coyotes from the safety of my screened front door. But I am not walking through my neighborhood streets, armed with a super soaker. Hell no. It gets dark early this time of year and the last thing my neighbors need to see is me walking through the streets with a suspicious weapon-looking like thing.

So, there’s the advice. Take it for what it is worth. The city is not calling out the coyote SWAT team.

What I am going to do

I’m sticking with the golf-club/cane as a deterrent; also I’m trying to walk with neighbors at the same time. And I’m talking with any neighbor I can find to tell them about the situation and get them to think about what they can do to stop this.

At times, I feel like I’m “chicken little” about coyotes — “the sky is falling and it’s raining coyotes” but there have been cases of dogs being attacked and there are a lot curious kids at Encanto Park who may confuse coyotes for a different type of dog. it just seems like more could be done.

Coyotes in Central Phoenix

coyotes in central phoenix

We face a problem in our central Phoenix neighborhood: coyotes.

Amid all the new condos being built, there is a den of coyotes living on the Encanto Park/ Encanto Park Golf Course. And me and my other dog-loving neighbors worry about it.

Technically speaking, coyotes are part of the dog family but they also have been known to kill their canine cousins, especially smaller dogs.

If coyotes are in your neighborhood

In writing Happy Dog Phoenix, I contacted Arizona Game and Fish Department for advice about coyotes in the neighborhood (never thinking they would make it my central Phoenix ‘hood). They told me that if you see a coyote yell at it, wave your arms, make noise to scare it off. And remove all sources of food and water.

All fine advice.

Except I live next to large fields with plenty of hiding spots and small lakes. And lots of feral cats. I have good-hearted neighbors who feed stray cats, some of whom inevitably will become coyote food. There’s also other good-hearted neighbors, who see coyotes as just another one of Nature’s creatures and say we should just let them be.

I wish I could be so good hearted

But instead I selfishly worry about my little roly-poly potential coyote entrée, the Beagle, who would have no idea how to protect herself if attacked. She’s a goofball, not a fighter.

Would coyotes go after her? If the supply of feral cats decreases and the number of coyotes increase, they may.  Also, these coyotes are not afraid. I yelled and screamed at the coyote lounging on my front yard, and he just gave me a look, a shrug and sauntered off into the neighbor’s yard. Another neighbor has to charge them with an air horn to get them to move.

 What I am doing

Normally when I write a blog, I try to offer a solution. Right now, I have none. Except carrying a used golf club when I walk the dog, further cementing my reputation as a neighborhood eccentric.

On Monday, I contacted Phoenix Parks and Recreation. The first woman asked me to repeat my address because she couldn’t believe there were coyotes this far south. She transferred me to another woman who explained that they had unsuccessfully tried  to capture the coyotes but they can’t do anything more until the coyotes become aggressive.

I explained that I thought that was just waiting for trouble, especially if the coyotes are living on Encanto Park, which can be filled with children during weekends. By her silence, she indicated that it wasn’t her decision.

Then, I then called my City Council representative, Laura Pastor and spoke to someone who promised to get back to me. For the past two days, we have played phone tag — not his fault.

I’ll let you know what I find out.

In the meantime, beware of coyotes in central Phoenix and of strange women walking dogs and carrying golf clubs.


Happy Halloween!

halloween and dogs

Have you got your little “boos” ready for Halloween? There a lot Halloween-events for dogs in metro Phoenix area this year. Here’s a rundown of terrific spots for you and the dog that offer canines and their humans costume contests and parties

And  for the first time ever, Happy Dog Phoenix is staging a virtual costume contest! Just post a photo of your dog on our Facebook page and get the most likes and get a $100 gift card for your favorite animal rescue. Deadline Monday at midnight!!

Halloween events for dogs in metro Phoenix

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Flagstaff road trip!

Attention: residents of Phoenix. It is hot, still hot. You’ve still got time this Labor Day weekend to head up to Flagstaff, which may be Arizona’s most dog-friendly town.

In fact, it may be easier to list the places that aren’t dog friendly in Flagstaff than those that area — especially in downtown, historic Flag, where there dogs in all the best places.
dog friendly flagstaff

Shopping in Flagstaff with your dog

You know how sometimes stores say they are dog friendly but you get a way-different vibe once you and poochie get inside? In Flagstaff, they offer genuine hospitality for dogs. There’s water bowls, dog treats and even resident dogs in the stores. Check out the art galleries along San Francisco street for a lot of love for dogs as well as dog-related art.

biffs bagels flagstaff

Dining with the dog

For breakfast, hit Biff’s Bagels, which is named after a beloved pet and has photos of everyone else’s dog on the wall. For lunch, wow — so many choices. Charley’s on Aspen and Leroux has a great dog-friendly patio. Or Mix.  Or Macy’s. Or Mother Road Brewery. Or any others from our fine list.

roxy at tuthill fairgrounds

Hiking with the dog

You don’t have to be a super wilderness person to enjoy a hike with your dog. There are a lot of mild trails out there — which is especially nice since you and the dog may not have been as active during this hot summer season. Altitude change can also affect breathing for you and the dog.

There are several dog-friendly park trails throughout Flagstaff. Just have a leash and plenty of water.


  • Wilson Meadow at Hart Prairie:  A hike that can go as short as you want it to go. Wilson Meadow offers plenty of romping room and a pond to swim in (That’s for the dog; not you).
  • Griffith Spring Trail: Another short hike that allows your dog to wade in a creek.

Drinking with the dog

After a hard day of shopping, dining and hiking, it’s great to kick back with an adult beverage. Your best friend can come into the bar with you as long as the fine establishment doesn’t serve food. And that’s why we can get great scenes like this one at Hops on Birch:

dog in bar, Flagstaff AZ