Dogs Dig Sonoma
Dogs Dig Sonoma
By Kirsten Lindquist
Sonoma is a dog-lover's town and even though I’ve yet to hear one tell me so, I know a dog’s life can’t get much better than it is in Sonoma.
I've never seen so many pooches-per-person in any other place. The variety of breeds in Sonoma far outnumbers the varietals of grapes grown here. There are plenty of Labrador Retrievers, of course. They are America's favorite and because they are working dogs, country dogs by nature, they are a perfect fit for Sonoma. I have a Lab, my chocolate girl Coco. I call her my real estate retriever.
On any given weekend the parade of different dogs around Sonoma's streets and walking paths is a dazzling and entertaining show. I've seen Mastiffs, Lhasa Apso, Komondor, Pulis, and Basenjis---just to name a few. Some arrive with tourists who know their furry family members are well -treated here. However, most are the constant companions of year ‘round residents or Sonoma second home owners.
Many Sonoma homes are owned by obvious dog-lovers. Dog door manufacturers must make a ton of money here based on the number I’ve seen in Sonoma, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood homes. Lots of properties feature dog runs or yards with fences designed specifically to contain canine critters. I’ve seen very fancy dog houses, too. Some luxury properties in Sonoma even have cast iron porcelain dog wash sinks and dog grooming rooms.
Our restaurants welcome well-behaved dogs. So do plenty of wineries including---among others---- Sonoma’s Buena Vista, Bartholomew Park, and Ravenswood. In Glen Ellen, Benziger and Arrowood accommodate dogs with their owners. At Kunde in Kenwood, for $50 you and your dog can explore miles of trails and enjoy Eco Tour Dog hikes together. Many hotels, Sonoma Valley vacation rental properties, and B&Bs advertise dog-friendly accommodations and some even provide water dishes, treats, and dog beds. There are several dog parks where you can let your dog play off leash, including Ernie Smith Dog Park, named after my late grandfather, a pioneer Bay Area sportscaster.
Sonomans take great care of their canine kids. There are at least a half dozen excellent vets in the valley, several top-notch groomers, a number of highly regarded dog boarding facilities, even a terrific Dog Camp. Our beloved Pets Life Line, an animal rescue and adoption center, does an excellent job of caring for underprivileged pets with a nearly all-volunteer staff of concerned local citizens. We’ve even got a thriving bark-worthy dog bakery a block off Sonoma Plaza.
I usually have a bowl of water sitting on the sidewalk just outside my real estate office on East Napa Street. I often fill it many times on hot afternoons. I first started doing this because I'm a doting dog mom who likes to see that Coco, who's very athletic, drinks enough water. I've since learned it's one of the best tools I've got at the office to meet marvelous people and their canine companions.
Dog lovers share a special bond. Sometimes we don't appreciate the same types of breeds but we can always talk about their behavior, eating habits, and how well they travel in a car. Truth be told, after meeting some dogs and their owners, I've found I like the pooch more than the person they have in tow.
Next time your dog takes you for a walk, stop in and say hi. If I bond with your dog better than I connect with you, your best friend and I will try to not let it show. And if you should see that we've become good pals, just remember---what's good for Fido is good for you.
I have fresh, clean water for humans, too!
Kirsten Lindquist, Pacific Union International