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Wish You Were Here (or 911)

dogs-playing-pokerTruth be known, there are currently more dogs than children in Seattle. At last count, 45 pet- friendly hotels, 38 pet-friendly attractions, and 150 pet-friendly restaurants. You say you want to go out to the San Juan Islands this summer? No problem. Dogs are seated like passengers on Kenmore Air Seaplanes. All of this puts Seattle in one of the top twenty destinations for travel with a dog.

I am not at all surprised. I live here. In our neighborhood in Queen Anne the local pet store, All the Best, is nestled between two popular watering holes for humans, The Parragon and Hilltop Ale House. The first time I walked in I was taken back by all the dog furniture and dog clothing (rain gear and fleece jackets) on display.

Oh, I get it, I thought. Dogs are the new American Girl Doll!

Some of us spoiled our daughters in that sense, and now we can spoil our dogs. And we do, even as they sleep in our beds and wear their own fur coats.

Dog people meet dog people, and often learn the dogs’ names long before we learn each other’s. Thus I knew Max and Millie (Teacup Yorkies) before befriending Sandra and George, and Callie (a Yorkie-Shitzu mix) before becoming Teri and Dan’s friend. However, six years later I am still “Coco’s mom” to many on the hill.

So at a time when some dogs have their own facebook accounts, why was I surprised to hear from Callie, the Yorkie-Shitzu, while visiting Whistler in B.C. Canada? She was staying at the Westin and posted a photograph of the hotel’s monogrammed doggy bed, bowls and snacks. (Teri and Dan presumably had their own).

And there you have it, the blog post I was going to write. Oh the places we were going to go, and the fun we were going to have! Doggy lattes and biscotti at dog bakeries. Dog cake mixes, dog birthday cakes, dog party hats and treat boxes. Homemade ice cream for dogs. Dog cards. Dog houses: cottage style, log cabin, Mediterranean or modern. Four poster beds with a Simmons Beauty Rest mattress for dogs (coil spring, covered in fleece). Waterproof fleece dog jackets, raincoats, cooling coats, goose-down filled coats, and faux fur lined “dreamcoats.” Dog shoes, dog boots, boot liners. And doggie doorbells that hang low enough from door knobs for pets to reach…. you can see where this was going.

Then my daughter in San Francisco phoned, waking me from my reverie. Suddenly the blog post title changed from Wish You Here Here to 911. Dogs, it seems, are under siege in San Francisco. Have you heard? Tainted meatballs poisoned with strychnine have been discarded on city streets in various neighborhoods including Twin Peaks, Lower Haight, Cole Valley, Hayes Valley, Bernal Heights, and Diamond Heights—dog frequented neighborhoods all. Community members have found and picked up hundreds of these tainted meatballs. Pet owners such as my daughter, need be vigilant on walks.

Last week a Park Police Station Inspector told a community meeting that the tainted meatballs may have been planted by someone afraid of dogs. Others suggest that the perpetrator detests dogs. That this individual has mental health issues is as clear as gun laws in Florida are flawed. Oskar, a much loved dachshund, was killed. No one wants to lose any more.  For we are now the dogs’ best friend, and it’s our job to protect them–if only from the worst of us.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call (415) 554 9400.

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