Stay Classy, San Diego

There are a lot of reasons I love living in San Diego. Obviously, the weather is a huge draw- although the monoseason climate gets a little depressing come autumn when I miss the fall foliage, I’m grateful for it a month or two later when my New England relatives are posting on Facebook about the three feet of snow they had to shovel out of the driveway. And yes, we have some of the finest Mexican food in the United States (taquitos from Albertos at 3 am for the win!) I love our zoo and the beaches and the ability to walk into any place in the city in a pair of jeans and not feel underdressed.

But one of the nicest unintended treasures of living here is the fact there is a very large pet loving contingent here. There’s no shortage of dog parks dotting the county. We have at least 4 public beaches that allow dogs. There are hundreds of rescue volunteers and people willing to go to the mat to help a pet in need. There’s a reason we are 2010’s most dog-friendly city.

I go to as many pet related community events as I can, mostly because it’s fun and I enjoy it, and I usually learn about some new store or service I should be trying out. There are always more people there than I was anticipating, pit bulls and chihuahuas and Cavalier King Charles spaniels all hanging out, enjoying the sunshine.

This weekend I went with the family to the Doggie Street Festival, billed as “Southern California’s Largest Dog Adoption Focused Festival.” This kind of event is a vital component of a pet friendly community: a fun festival, free to the public and to all the non-profit groups who come with their adoptable pets. It makes pet rescue and education a family friendly party that just happens to accomplish the task of bringing pets and people together.

They got a cherry location: just across the street from our baseball field Petco Park, on a game day when tons of families would be wandering by.

Perhaps one such family might look over towards the Convention Center, and reminisce fondly that one week ago the place was full of people in ill-fitting Superman costumes at Comic-Con. Never a dull moment here.

And then, as their eyes travel to the left, they see a sea of colorful tents propped up next to the Convention Center. That looks inviting, they think.

They wander over, attracted by the kettle corn sign. And then we have them.

The biggest Great Dane they’ve ever seen!

Pugs in hats!

Frenchies being adorable!

So as the family wanders through the sea of cute, they see the other happy dogs strolling around with “Adopt Me!” vests on. It plants a seed.

And then they see him:

So precious! He gets back on the ground, and then they notice it.

Where’s his front legs?

So they ask, and find out this little guy was born without front legs. He had a great owner who unfortunately lost her home and was no longer able to care for this happy, charming little guy who has managed to get along quite marvelously on his back legs for the entirety of his six years. In my mind’s made-up narrative, this imaginary family snatches him up on the spot.

Last year’s Doggie Street Festival saw 130 pets get forever homes. I sure hope this little guy is going to be a 2011 success story. I’m so grateful to live in a community that values pets the way I do. Do you live in a pet-friendly town?

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  • Love the slide show — so many great faces! I hope they all get adopted!

  • Lisa W

    Such sweet faces! Thanks for the nice story — it’s a great counter to all of the depressing/enraging ones I’ve been seeing on Facebook lately, and helps to remind me that there are good dog-loving people in the world.

  • Nubia

    We do now, moved to Seattle last December, super animal lovers all around. Just went to Pasado’s Bark at Marymoor Park this weekend, too.

  • lin

    I live in California’s Bay Area, which is quite pet-friendly. We have the East Bay Regional Parks, where dogs are allowed off-leash on all trails (but not the picnic grounds); quite a few restaurants that allow dogs on the patio, a locally owned pet superstore (Pet Food Express) and many frou-frou pet boutiques.

  • Julie

    I’m with you, here in San Diego. It is great having 3 dogs parks within a 10 minute drive of our house. I’m always surprised about how many places people bring their dogs here since it is so dog-friendly – there’s always dogs at the malls (since they are outdoors) and I wonder what happens when one poops in a store! And there are several bars nearby that welcome dogs, but the bars are always super crowded and I can’t imagine the dogs are having fun getting stepped on and tussling with other stressed out dogs on leashes. Of course, we are so lucky to live in San Diego and it is so close to perfect, we have to find something to complain about!

  • Elliott

    Our bullie got too warm to stay long at the Doggie Street Festival but it sure was a great event. I hope lots of the great pups at the rescues found their forever homes!

  • Looks like a great event and I love the slideshow, such great expressions. I live in Denver, CO and it’s very pet friendly (lots of dogs abound) but I do wish we had restaurants that allowed dogs on the patio, apparently it’s against the health code – boo.