The ‘hood – My neighborhood

My home is in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco near the Presidio’s Lyon Street entrance. For a city, it’s a quiet neighborhood comprised of single family dwellings, 2 flats, and small apartment buildings.

Most buildings are near the street and the interiors of the nearby city blocks contain many good-sized gardens – we have one behind our house.  But it’s my choice to use the garden only for play – most days I get 4 walks and the neighborhood has a good number of trees and fireplugs.

My neighbors include responsible companions and Puppy, Molly, Archie, Harriet, Fidel, Casey, Drew, Speedy, Taffy, Bella, Zara, Molly, Dolly, Sadie, Rory, Adobe, and Riley.  And it seems like every week or two, I meet a new neighbor.

There are just a few small shops in my neighborhood, and my favorite is Artifact, http://www.sfartifact.com/.  It offers art classes for children and I very much appreciate its friendly owners and that they always place a big bowl of water out front.

I'm truly a "social animal" - here I'm meeting before class with Artifact's owners, Bianca & Lauren.

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A Dog’s Life…

Groom is on Clement near 10th - a street with many interesting shops and restaurants.

Usually I enjoy car rides because we’re going somewhere I like or at least find interesting.  However, occasionally that’s not the case – the best example is a short trip that comes every 6-8 weeks – I can sense the neighborhood and then see the signage at Groom, which is just what you think.   That means I need to spend 4-5 hours in the queue and on the table getting my soft coat trimmed.  It’s not a terribly long day and Nona and the other folks at Groom are very nice but, let’s face it, waiting around for a haircut isn’t as much fun as a lot of other things.

Slurpy and me at the garage sale - she's very cuddly but hard to keep still!

That was last Thursday…on Saturday, my guardians had a garage/furniture sale along with several neighbors.  It was a success as our house outplaced several furniture items that were from way back and other items as well.  I had a very nice time, lounging around on the cool, shaded sidewalk and retreating to my window seat inside our home when things got too routine or tiresome.  Some of my friends came by including Slurpy and Micky Lee, both from just across the street.  My guardians’ friends and our neighbors like
me, so I got a lot of good strokes that day.

Flowers we passed in Golden Gate Park on our way to and from Pet Pride Day.

On Sunday we went over to Golden Gate Park for Pet Pride Day, an outdoor expo in Sharon Meadow for pets and their guardians.  There were vendors for everything imaginable.  Leashes were mandatory, plus there was a blaring PA systems and hot sun, so we didn’t stay long.  Nonetheless, it was educational for my guardians, in part because they learned about a planning process in San Francisco that is threatening to make the city-owned parks less pet-friendly.  This information came from http://sfdog.org, an umbrella organization for over 20 dog groups in San Francisco.  Comments on the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) were due on Halloween and it is fortunate SFDOG provided sample comments so concerned citizens could more efficiently express themselves.  If you’d like to take a nap, the 562 page EIR (not counting appendices) is (at this moment) at http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=1828.  It’s Item # is 2005.1912E.

For 2011, this is the second EIR that has had SFDOG and its stakeholders including
myself seriously agitated.  The earlier one was floated by Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), a National Park Service managed recreation area, much of which borders on San Francisco.   This EIR concerned GGNRA’s desire for a more restrictive dog policy in the national RECREATION area – -since this post is already a bit “heavy,” I’ll comment on GGNRA in a future blog and also post my letter to the NPS.

In the meantime, for an overview of dogs’ growing stature in the discourse in San Francisco, I can suggest this article on our new DogPac:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/us/they-bark-they-fetch-and-their-humans-vote.html

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The week that was

Hadn’t felt very well for almost a week, not sure what started it all.  After that great hike last Tuesday, I rested on Wednesday. On Thursday, I was home alone for a while…something came over me…it was mental more than physical.  Without anyone looking I ate most of one of my toys and chewed on a rug. Then I felt really terrible, both mentally and physically.  When one my guardians came home and opened the front door, I ran away! Down the street, around the corner, up the block and around the next corner with my guardian way behind.   Was finally corralled by one of my neighbor’s guardians, who was out for a jog and knew where I lived.  My own guardians vectored in on my captor and me…We all returned home but I felt awful – embarrassed about my chewing and sick to my stomach. Fortunately, I got over the mental side in a few hours, but the toy and rug stayed with me and kept me lying low, very low for days.  My appetite was nil.

Then came Sunday morning, beautiful, cloudless, and windless, and we went down to the Golden Gate Recreation Area’s Crissy Field’s East Beach.  My guardians thought we’d go for a walk with me on the leash, but I was tugging so hard to get down to the water’s edge with the other dogs, they relented and let me go.  What a time I had! Chasing other dogs and their balls, even a frisbee to take possession of…I can be a bit of a pest sometimes… Sunday morning was a great time and most of the toy I ate left me.

I started eating my kibble again. Everyone knew I was improving and, to cut to the chase, today it’s Tuesday again and I’m finally back to my normal, personable self.  Wagging my tail.  Hanging out.  Going on walks and making friends.

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Great Hike!

In Marin Headlands 10/18/11

The Pacific Ocean is about a mile behind me.

Yesterday was a special day that I really enjoyed.  It was my guardians’ (should I call them parents?) 25th anniversary, and they celebrated by taking me for a hike!  What made it extra special is that we hiked for several hours and miles and I was off-leash almost all the way!  (Don’t tell the park ranger!)

It was a really foggy day near the Golden Gate and especially the Marin Headlands, which is where we hiked.  Parking in the Rodeo Beach lot, we went up the Coastal Trail to Wolf Ridge, across, and then back down on the Miwok  Trail.  5 miles and around 1000 feet of elevation.

It was a bit mysterious because visibility was very low, often just a hundred yards or so.  (I’m glad it was cool – warm weather can slow me down.)  The dense fog blocked out the horizon, and the normally beautiful views of the nearby hills and ocean were greyed out.  But we could see the path and I was an exemplary leader, showing the way and scouting for any critters and interesting smells (found no critters and only a few good smells).  I looked back often, was welcomed by the people we met, and didn’t disturb the  environment.  (We crossed paths with 10-12 school groups of 12-15 including instructors, from the Headlands Institute.)

After our hike we drove to the nearby The Marine Mammal Center, an outstanding resource for humans and marine mammals.  I stayed in the car while my guardians checked out the exhibit of large sculptures of sea creatures made from plastic found along the Oregon coast.   The exhibit is closing soon and the coordinating artist, Angela Haseltine Pozzi, was out front by Henry (sculpture of a large fish), making sure it was in good shape for traveling to its next stop.  I’m told it was really nice to visit with her.  In all, a remarkable show and we hope it travels to a location near you.  Check out http://washedashore.org.

Angela & Henry

Artist Angela Pozzi with plastic fish, Henry.

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Home sweet home

As soon as the door closes Wally will be lying down, worn out from chasing & teasing his new friends.

Five October days in Sonoma were wonderful, especially with so many of my peer group. Even so, when my driver came to pick me up yesterday, I was so excited to see him I could hardly contain myself! Here’s a photo taken just after I jumped into the car…you can probably tell I’m worn out from my days at camp…Even though it’s a sunny and warm day in SF, it’s nice to be back home.

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Fleet Week 2011

I’m up in wine country this weekend with many new pals.  I came up yesterday for a few days of R & R because my guardians are busy travelling and working.  I’m lucky to be here because this is Fleet Week in San Francisco.  What this affair normally means for me is 3 days of ear shattering noise while Navy and Canadian jets burn a lot of fuel flying right over my house, scaring people and animals alike.

But this year I’m in the countryside, safely away from the crowds of tourists and aggravating noises in San Francisco.   Here it’s sometimes a little hotter than I like, but at least I can hear myself think.

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Barks by Mr. Wally

OK, I’m trying to get this going.  So far so good.  I’d like to change the title but haven’t figured that out yet.  Then I’ll get to posting about what I hope will be at least somewhat interesting to you.   In the meantime, you can read about my background…even I’d like to know more about that!

Another thing I’d like to fix is the photo you see.  That was a nice day in a very nice place but I wish it showed more of me!  We’ll see what we can do.

Finally, I’d like to mention that, notwithstanding this post’s title, I rarely bark.  Only at the beach and about important things like “give me that ball.”

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