Checking In

Summer in the Dog House


By Catharine Cooper.

Summer time and the living is easy …unless you are a dog in Laguna Beach, in which case, you are banned from the sandy shoreline from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from June 15 until Sept. 11.

Buster, my mixed breed rescue buddy, doesn’t like this regulation at all. In fact, when we discussed it yesterday while sitting on the sand at Bluebird, he wanted me to explain just why he couldn’t spend a like-kind of day with me in the middle of June.

There were plenty of other dogs walking along the water’s edge. There were plenty of tails wagging, ball carrying by different sizes and shapes of canine companions. They (the dogs) were ‘smiling’ in their own doggy ways, and their owners were equally happy, leashes in hand; sandy feet and wet dog paws to be dealt with later.

I guess I’m just hard put to understand what happens June 15 that should ban a dog from spending a day with their owner in one of the best past times of all,  except more people who are not residents lay down towels and beach toys.

Adding to Buster’s frustration are those of the vacationers who are staying in local hotels along with their furry friends. There are 35 listed ‘dog-friendly’ hotels in Laguna Beach on the Internet : http://hotels.uptake.com/california/laguna_beach/pet_friendly/828610479.html, from the fancy digs of the Montage resort to the more price conscious Travelodge.

More and more travelers are taking their pets with them – and for good reasons. Besides having a good time, and being considered family “members,” pets have been proven to have a therapeutic effect on their owners.

Local establishments have realized that catering to visitors and their pets is good business.  Even restaurants with outdoor eating spaces are conscious of their value.  Several downtown shops have doggy water dishes outside their door.

The hotels have size regulations, surcharges and cleaning fees for pets in rooms. They also have policies that prohibit leaving pets unattended in the rooms.  So what to do with Fido (or Buster) when these visitors, who are the lifeblood of our summer economy, want to go to the beach?

According to Laguna’s policy, certainly not take them to swim in the ocean or play on the sand.  So what are their options?  Tie them to a post near the beach?  Leave them in a car for the day? Or simply not go ……

While Buster and I continue to wish the city would change it’s policy, we decided to research options.  We located three local dog-sitters, who for a fee, do doggy-day care.

Buster knows one of them and would recommend her in a heartbeat. Kate Riegler Cohen, who runs “Top Dog”, provides walks (not on the sand in the summer), visits, sits and overnights.  She is bonded, insured, a member of Pet Sitters International, and can be reached at 949-280-8813.  Her email is : [email protected]

Theresa McElhaney, also a member of Pet Sitters International, owns Laguna Beach Critter Sitter : http://www.lagunabeachcrittersitter.com.  Phone is 949-315-9489.   Her email is : [email protected]

There is also Dawg-Ma, Paige Strayer : http://www.ocdogfriendly.com/lagunabeachpetsitters.html  Phone : 949-683-4970. Email : [email protected]

Catharine and Buster are enjoying the last few dog-days on Laguna’s beaches.  She (and he) can be reached at [email protected].

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