The Left Coast

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Melanie L Chang:
The dogs and I have been in San Francisco for almost two weeks now. What can I say? I'd love it here anyway, but having dogs requires seeing things through their eyes.
I think Solo can hardly believe his luck.
I had worried that Solo would find the move stressful. Ha! What's stressful about moving to dog paradise?
Solo was a happy dog in Philadelphia, but it took a great deal of effort to keep him happy, and make a routine in that very urban city that would suit him. Here, Solo simply fits in. There are far fewer people than in our old Philly neighborhood. The terrain and changes in elevation fascinate him. The weather, cold, foggy, and windswept, suits him perfectly. The kinds of places that Solo likes to go are only a few blocks away. The kinds of places Solo never dreamed existed are less than five miles away.On Sunday I took the dogs down to Fort Funston for the afternoon (http://www.bahiker.com/sfhikes/funston.html ). Fort Funston used to be a military base (hence the name), but now is a really freaking huge park that encompasses a few miles of beach, tall cliffs and sand dunes overlooking the Pacific, and miles of coastal hiking trails. The park is popular with hang gliders because of the cliffs and strong winds. The hang gliding cliff and a sand ladder trail that descends about 300 feet down to the beach are at the south end of the main parking lot.

A nice Lab owner directed me to the beach for private off-lead romping away from other dogs (it's interesting people here are cool about dogs who want to be left alone, instead of getting huffy and self-righteous like they did in Philadelphia), so we made our way precariously down the sand ladder to the beach.
We walked maybe a quarter mile south, and had the place all to ourselves.

Unbelieveable. A big, flat beach, wider than a football field, stretching for miles south towards Pacifica. Unscalable cliffs to our left and unobstructed views before and behind us, so that it was impossible for us to encounter anyone without warning. (When you have a dog like Solo, you get good at scoping places out like this.) On our right, the Pacific with the tide coming in. Seagulls, kelp, washed up jellyfish, sand, sand, salt, the dull roar of the ocean. I reached down and unclipped Solo's lead and said, "Go." Without looking back, Solo took off.
Solo ran, he flew, he charged into the water, he leaped over the waves, he chased the seagulls, he played tag with Fly, he buzzed little Skeeter (who had to wear a jacket because it was chilly), he ran in circles around me and said, "Woof! Woof! Woof!" He tore a hundred yards down the beach, and ran back, and ran a hundred more, and ran back, so that he could keep looking up at me with this expression on his face that said, "Is this for real? Are we really doing this? Is this really where we live?" And I got stupidly teary and sniffly and told him yes, this is really where we live now.

Other dogs may take this sort of thing for granted, but the thing you have to remember is that Solo almost never enjoys such freedom.

Fort Funston is only five miles from my apartment building.

We walked a couple miles down the beach, and then back. Or I walked a couple of miles, the dogs probably ran ten. We encountered a couple other dog walkers and some folks on horseback, but that was it. Solo's grin couldn't have been bigger. His tongue looked like it was hanging down to his knees, and his coat was huge and curly with salt spray.

San Francisco is so full of parks that we've been going to a different one after I get home from work every day the kind of parks that would have been a weekend project to get to back in Philadelphia (if parks like this existed around there, which they don't). Yesterday we went to Crissy Field, today we went to Land's End. On the way to both we passed by other equally cool parks that we could equally well have gone to. So far we liked Fort Funston best, though. We are definitely going back.

Here are some pictures from Land's End this afternoon. This is the Coastal Trail north of Sutro Baths, overlooking the Pacific. Sorry they kind of stink, but I didn't want to get the dogs any closer to the cliff edge. (In the picture of Solo looking over the cliff, he is on a short lead, don't worry.)


Melanie, Solo the Red, Superfly, and Skeeter

Melanie Lee Chang * (Email Removed)
Canine Behavioral Genetics Project
University of California, San Francisco
http://psych.ucsf.edu/K9BehavioralGenetics/
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Marcel Beaudoin:
@netnews.upenn.edu:
[nq:1]I had worried that Solo would find the move stressful. Ha! What's stressful about moving to dog paradise?[/nq]
Yayy Solo.

Marcel and Moogli
http://mudbunny.blogspot.com /
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Shelly & The Boys:
[nq:1]The dogs and I have been in San Francisco for almost two weeks now. What can I say? I'd love ... his luck. I had worried that Solo would find the move stressful. Ha! What's stressful about moving to dog paradise?[/nq]
Great photos, great news...I'm glad you like it.
And it reminds me that I seriously need to get my own dogs to the beach again soon.
Had Solo ever been in the Ocean before? Coda loves to dig in the sand, and Bodhi
loves to "chase" the seagulls, it's a paradise for them.

Shelly, Coda & Bodhi, and the Girl to be added in less than a month... see puppy photos:
http://www.geocities.com/shellybrosnan/newpuppies.html
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Janet B:
[nq:2]The dogs and I have been in San Francisco for ... anyway, but having dogs requires seeing things through their eyes.[/nq]
I made my first trip to SF a few weeks ago. What a lovely place! My first day was all dog places, including a dog park area somewhere near a bridge and water ;-D First dog I met, other than the 2 lovely GSD who picked me up at the airport, was an FCR!
The weather was just wonderful IMO, and the city seems so incredibly dog friendly in so many ways. I'm glad you and your crew are enjoying it - I know mine would! Anyplace with that much water has to be good.

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
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Mary W.:
[nq:1]On Sunday I took the dogs down to Fort Funston for the afternoon (http://www.bahiker.com/sfhikes/funston.html ). Fort Funston used to be a ... encompasses a few miles of beach, tall cliffs and sand dunes overlooking the Pacific, and miles of coastal hiking trails.[/nq]
When I lived in SF, my roommate had a lab mix that we used to take to fort funston all the time. It was one of my favorite weekend things to do, and I could get my dog fix at that time.

Mary W.
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ceb:
@netnews.upenn.edu:
[nq:1][/nq]
Awww, they look so happy. Glad to hear that you're all enjoying yourselves so much.

Catherine
& Zoe the cockerchow
& Queenie the black gold retriever
& Rosalie the calico
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KWBrown:
@corp.supernews.com:
[nq:1]http://www.geocities.com/shellybrosnan/newpuppies.html[/nq]
I was wondering when they'd star looking noticeably different to the FCR puppies, and it's already happening at three weeks. You're picking among a very attractive bunch of wombats, as far as I can tell...

Kate
and Storm and Hamish the FCRs
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Shelly & The Boys:
[nq:2]http://www.geocities.com/shellybrosnan/newpuppies.html[/nq]
[nq:1]I was wondering when they'd star looking noticeably different to the FCR puppies, and it's already happening at three weeks. You're picking among a very attractive bunch of wombats, as far as I can tell...[/nq]
I am getting so excited! This past weekend was spent at our breed club's Regional. The sire
was there, gaining an AOM, plus taking breed & group placing the two all-breed show days.
One of his daughters was entered, oh my gosh, she is 7 mos now and just stunning.
Sept 17th is the schedule date. :-) And,I have settled on a name Dharma. I keep coming
back to it, so I really should stick with it.
Shelly & The Boys
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Melanie L Chang:
I was wondering when they'd star looking noticeably different to the FCR puppies, and it's already happening at three weeks. You're picking among a very attractive bunch of wombats, as far as I can tell...

Wah. Almost makes me want a Black Dog!

Melanie Lee Chang * (Email Removed)
Canine Behavioral Genetics Project
University of California, San Francisco
http://psych.ucsf.edu/K9BehavioralGenetics/
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