Magazine  >  Issue 50  >  FIDO Friendly’s Best Of

FIDO Friendly’s Best Of

We love sharing the best of the best in the FIDO Friendly world. As you peruse through our 50th celebratory golden issue, we wanted to share even more juice for you. Please enjoy these additional treasures…


San Francisco, California (SF)
Sally Stephens of SF dishes with us as we named our best of the best.

What makes SF a city that people like to visit with their dogs?
SF, the city of St. Francis, recognizes the value of the human-animal bond and the positive benefits, and strives to facilitate positive interactions, for both you and your dog.

What sort of activities and events are available for dogs in SF?
A wide variety of activities and events for people and dogs means choosing from monthly Chihuahua meet-ups in Stern Grove to weekly Frenchie Fridays in Dolores Park (French bulldogs) to weekly walks on Ocean Beach. Pet Pride Day, a yearly celebration of dogs, organized by SF Animal Care and Control, has dog costume and trick contests, Frisbee® dog demonstrations and booths from dozens of animal groups and companies. The SF Giants has a yearly Dog Days game in August to bring Fido to.

How many dog parks/beaches/business/restaurants are there for dogs to take part in?
SF has 29 areas designated for off-leash play in various city parks, including some pet-friendly beaches and trails in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Some favorite city parks include Stern Grove, Bernal Hill, McLaren Park and Duboce Park. In the GGNRA, favorite spots include Fort Funston, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, Baker Beach and Lands End. Many of the downtown hotels welcome dogs with their people.

Where can folks learn more who wish to travel to SF with their dogs?
The SF Dog Owners Group (SFDOG) is in the process of revamping and will have a calendar of dog events when completed.

What are some doggie extras that make the town so very dog welcoming?
With more dogs in SF than children, off-leash space in city parks and the GGNRA’s hard-work are major contributors to helping make SF so dog welcoming.

(Left to Right) Whitney (15) and Shasta (16) are the darling miniature American Eskimo dogs of David Landis – whose daily play area is Alta Plaza Park in the Pacific Heights district of SF.

Resident San Franciscan, Sharon Castellanos, showcases why this is a Fido-friendly city.

Here belated dogs, Nikki and Fox, walk up the back of Bernal Hill. We salute these two explorers, who are eternally missed by Andrea Patterson.

At the Golden Gate Bridge, this pooch of Beverly Ulbrich, is ready for some SF fun.

Katie Hall shares this subtle canine moment, which shares a thousand words.

Jan Stephens shares a “picture of two old buddies” — me at 64 years and my dog, Scarlett, at 14. It was taken at Ocean Beach by friend, Shehla Khan.

Here's Rocky the French Bulldog running at full speed and Rookie, the black lab in the background at Fort Funston, belonging to Mark Rogers.

This is Chocco at Crissy Field, West Beach, shot by Dave Caldwell.

This is Ruby in a doggy wheelchair (she developed a neuro disease), but still very much enjoying the Fort, sporting a huge stick. This is the cover of the book, Almost Perfect, by Vicki Tiernan.


Portland, Maine (PM)
FIDO Friendly sat down with Alison Goddard (AG), PR & Special Events Coordinator with the Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau and Wendi Smith (WS), Publisher and Owner of Maine newspaper, Downeast Dog News to find out why PM is a wagtastic area.

What makes PM a city that people like to visit with their dogs?
AG: Many accommodations include hotels, restaurants and bars allow dogs; for example, Port Hole has a patio that allows dogs while you sip on a refreshing beverage and Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth allows dogs and offers pet pampering services.

WS: By some estimates, almost 17,000 dogs live in Portland, helping to make Maine’s largest city a great place to visit with your dog. There are at least 46 dog parks or dog-friendly beaches—many of which provide free plastic dog “clean up” bags—in the Greater Portland area; 30 hotels or motels that permit dogs in guest rooms; 25 restaurants with dog-friendly sections; 12 doggie day care centers; dozens of pet stores, groomers, dog walkers and trainers, dog clubs and play groups; two independently owned self-serve dog washes; one top-notch dog shelter; and one monthly newspaper for “people who love dogs.” PM is also home to Planet Dog, a socially responsible company that designs eco-friendly dog toys and donates 2 percent of every sale to the Planet Dog Foundation to fund the training, placement and support of service dogs. If your dog needs health care while visiting, Greater Portland has more than 60 practicing veterinarians, including at least one who specializes in alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

What sort of activities and events are available for dogs in PM?
AG: Many companies observe Friday as take your dog to work day. PET ROCK in the park is an annual event, benefiting HELP!FixME (spray/neuter program), including product vendors and services, animal rescue organizations, working dog demonstrations, food vendors, live music and an adoptable pet parade.

WS: The Woofminster Amateur Dog Show & Cover Challenge, Paws in the Park and Pet Rock in the Park are events you won’t want to miss. Dog lovers routinely turn out for vaccination, microchip, nail clipping and other special clinics offered by Portland pet stores. American Kennel Club shows held in neighboring Scarborough feature Portland canines, and the Maine Dog Tracking Club meets at the Barron Center. Fundraisers to support pet adoptions are a frequent event throughout the city.

How many dog parks/beaches/businesses/restaurants are there for dogs to take part in and would you provide names of them please?
AG: Restaurants/bars that allow dogs on sidewalk seating areas are as follows:

  • Beal's Ice Cream: 12 Moulton St, 828-1335
  • Bill's Pizza: 177 Commercial St, 774-6166
  • Black Tie Cafe: One Union Wharf, 756-6230
  • Flatbread Pizza Company, 72 Commercial St, 772-8777
  • Gilbert's Chowder House: 92 Commercial St, 871-5636
  • Gritty McDuff's: 396 Fore St, 772-2739
  • Nosh Kitchen Bar: 551 Congress St., 553-2227
  • Portland Lobster Company: 180 Commercial St, 775-2112
  • The Farmer's Table: 205 Commercial St, 347-7478
  • The Grill Room, 84 Exchange St, 774-2333

WS: The latest edition of petMAINE, as well as list dog parks, beaches and restaurants.

Where can folks learn more who wish to travel to PM with their dogs?,,,

What are some doggie extras that make the town so very dog welcoming?
AG: Our Ocean Gateway VIC offers water bowls as do many other businesses in town.

WS: Blogger Greg Closter once wrote, “Dogs in Maine, by and large, enjoy many of the same benefits the people in Maine enjoy. Open spaces and rural living mean that a romp in the woods is never too far away. The ocean and the state’s many lakes mean that a warm summer day can easily be tempered with a plunge in the water …” Closter also points out that although many cities and towns have leash laws, they aren’t strict about enforcing them as long as your dog is under control. The city is so dog-friendly in fact that it named its resident baseball farm team the Sea Dogs, and became home to one of 18 Black Dog gift shops. Along with the locally owned Fetch dog and cat boutique, that shop is located in the Old Port section of the city, where dog bowls on the sidewalk are a common site.

Austin, Texas (AT)
Brett Chisholm of Houston Dog Blog and LIFE+DOG magazine shares his insiders scoop on AT and why it is oh-so-very FIDO Friendly.

What makes Austin a city that people like to visit with their dogs?
AT perhaps is best known for its über-hip festivals South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits. While exploring, you'll constantly see signs, bumper stickers, T-shirts and more with the unofficial city motto: "Keep Austin Weird" on them. The city has a thriving arts scene that is a breeding ground for up-and-coming musicians. It's one of the biggest small towns you'll ever encounter, and it's one of the friendliest towns in the state for Fido.

What sort of activities and events are available for dogs in Austin?
The culinary scene in AT in something you don't want to miss, and you don't have to on your trip with Fido. Most every restaurant in the city has a patio with outside tables, and your canine companion is welcome to enjoy the ambiance with you. There are numerous festivals downtown on the infamous 6th Street, and AT is one of the most outdoorsy cities in the entire nation. Barton Creek Greenbelt is an 8-mile tract of green space with over 800-acres of space to experience with Fido by your side.

How many dog parks/beaches/business/restaurants are there for dogs to take part in?
In AT, there are literally too many to mention. Within an hour of AT, you are in the heart of the Hill Country with the historic town of Fredericksburg to the west, wineries and cliffs to the north, San Antonio and San Marcos to the south, and heaven in-between. You can take your dog with you in many retail establishments and they're welcome almost anywhere with a patio.

Where can folks learn more who wish to travel to Austin with their dogs?
They should always make sure to pick up a copy of LIFE+DOG when in the area. wink

What are some doggie extras that make the town so very dog welcoming?
AT is an outdoor-lover’s dream. As such, it's inherently prepared for the dog lover as well with wide sidewalks, an unbelievable amount of parks and green spaces, a progressive culture, a variance allowing dogs on restaurant patios, and a general Texas attitude welcoming strangers as part of the family.

Lori Gustin, the dog mom and voice of fab blog, shares some fun and frolicking images of Gus exploring Austin, Texas.

Lori tells us she enjoys taking Gus to Barton Springs, the Zilker Botanical Garden and walking along Lady Bird Lake.


Provincetown, Massachusetts (PM)
If Cape Cod, the ocean air and a general overall sense of Fido welcoming sounds too good to be true, think again. PM rolls out the red carpet beach style for canines and company. Robert Sanborn of the Provincetown Visitors Bureau shared this fab info about this must-visit locale.

A haven for tourists from all walks of life, PM extends its friendly hospitality to not only those who use two legs to get around, but to those on all fours as well. Since the Pilgrims first dropped anchor on November 16, 1620, dogs have played an important part in the town’s history. Its first canine residents—an English Mastiff and an English Springer Spaniel that traveled to PM in 1620 aboard the Mayflower—arrived in the New World to provide protection and hunting. Since then, this seaside community has become the ultimate canine resort on the East Coast.

Pilgrim Bark Park
Opened in 2008, the Pilgrim Bark Park is a non-profit, off-leash dog park and animal welfare resource. It allows dogs to run free and socialize with other pets on an acre of land, with a small-dog section. Local artists designed and painted benches, poop bag stations, kiosks, signage and a super-sized doghouse at the park’s entrance. There are also three fire hydrants just outside the park, painted to look like canine versions of PM’s police officers, firefighters and public workers.

There are more than 30 pet-friendly hotels, inns, b&bs, private cottages and campsites. Many even designate a special Pet Ambassador. From fenced-in yards and shaded front porches at seaside cottages to outdoor hoses and towels for beach-bound dogs, PM makes visitors and their pet guests feel welcome.

Several of PM’s most recognizable restaurants offer outdoor patio and beachside seating for diners and their dogs.

Downtown Commercial Street caters to the canine crowd with complimentary water bowls, fountains and dog biscuits set out on the street by local business owners. Several pet supply stores offer pet enthusiasts everything from day-to-day supplies to pet souvenirs, the latest in canine fashions and pet objets d’art. Canines can also have their likeness memorialized in art by a pet portraitist.

Dogs love the freedom they have on PM’s three miles of year-round, off-leash beaches and trails. Pets are also welcome to roam the Province Lands Bike Trail Loop, a 5 ¼ -mile trek that begins on Race Point Road and winds through the town’s dunes and forest. Adventurous pets are welcome to join their owners for whale watch tours, sunset cruises, kayaking, parasailing, a sightseeing trolley, sailing charters and walking tours.

Special Events
Every fall, the Carrie A. Seamen Animal Shelter (CASAS) hosts Pet Appreciation Week, where visitors can participate in canines games and contests, a pet parade down Commercial Street, a dog T-dance at the Boatslip and a blessing of the animals at St. Mary’s of the Harbor Episcopal Church.

Bay State Cruises allows leashed dogs on their Fast Ferry service to PM at no additional charge. Cape Air is also pet-friendly, allowing accompanied animals on flights for a $10 fee.

Photo by Robert Sanborn


We wanted to share these wacky pics with you!

Fenway Bark




Nemacolin Wooflands





Adventure Dog Ranch



Canyon View Ranch


Wow, you blew us away with the exploring nature of the dogs in your life. We received so many stellar examples that we’re building a future article around it. In addition to our top five dogs in print, here are some more doggone amazing Fido explorers.

James Steven Cisneros of Los Angeles, California
Our exploring always includes running and nature, and camping whenever possible. Almost every day, Sundance and I explore trails and paths in Griffith Park where we run the local trails and take in the beautiful landscape. Sundance's longest adventure was a road trip from southern California to Washington, traveling the Hwy 1, visiting the coast of California (SB, SLO, Big Sur, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Sonoma), the Oregon Coast, and Long Beach, WA. We also spend fire-cracker-holidays at quiet campgrounds huddled on the futon in the back of the truck. No matter where we are, every morning we find a trailhead, leash up, and run through beach, woods, mountain, desert, and town.

Cheryl Lawson of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Precious is the perfect travel companion. A frequent flyer, Precious has flown via United, Delta, American and recently, Southwest airlines. When I pull out the bag that doubles as a wheelie bag and backpack, Precious knows what it means. People are always surprised at the end of a flight when they realize Precious has been flying with them without making a sound. Before we fly, I do my best to take her on a nice walk. Precious understands it's nap time when she gets on the airplane. Car and RV rides are great with Precious. She'll sleep quietly or look out the window as if she knows the story of each place we visit.



Michael Uy, San Diego, California
Here are few of Abbie’s adventures:

  • Abbie's sizzle reel,
  • Abbie's dog surfing,
  • Abbie paragliding,;
  • Abbie paddleboarding,;
  • Abbie climbing trees,
  • Get out. Do more with your dog,

We were so touched by all of the giving and philanthropic Fidos out there, that we could have filled an entire magazine with your stories and photos. We heard from both Jenifer Whiston (JW) of Brown Dog Designs and Maggie Marton (MM) who shared their hearts with us.

Who is your dog who made a difference and how did this all get started?
JM: I have three dogs that have made a difference, Teal, gone since 09, Mallie, 9 years old, and Drake, 4 years old. Mallie and Drake serve as current Search Dogs for Vail Mountain Rescue Group. Teal was my first search dog, and his job was not only to find people but to teach me the ways of search.

MM: Emmett is a seven(ish)-year-old Staffie/Plott mix who works as a “pet therapist”. Whenever Emmett meets someone new, he leans against them and looks up into his or her eyes. After a few seconds, he rests his head on his new friend's knees. I decided to harness his heart-melting power with therapy work. Because he's tolerant, stubborn, solid, energetic, and exuberant, we work with children in reading programs and at the mental health facility.

What sort of things has this dog done to make a difference?
JM: Drake and Mallie use their amazing sense of smell to search for missing people in the woods and in avalanches. Usually we search for people who want to be found. Occasionally, we search for people who don’t know they are lost but who are delayed in their return. Although there is some research about how the dogs do this, it is by no means a simple feat. It is truly amazing when they find a missing person in extreme weather conditions and extreme terrain.

MM: We visit approximately 15 kids under age 12. Many have abused animals or have witnessed animal abuse, or even abused themselves. But when Emmett walks through the door, they scream, "Emmett!" They rush him, throw their arms around his neck and smother him with kisses. For the hour that we're there, the kids engage and work together to teach Emmett new tricks. They take turns handling him, and shower him with love and kindness (and treats). No matter what those kids have been through, for that hour, they're all just plain kids. The first day, there was a hysterical girl whom Emmett trotted right up next to and sat down. The girl reached out to pat him, and he slurped the tears off of her face. Instantly, the little girl started giggling, "He likes me!" She rubbed his belly, asked questions about him and told him that he was the sweetest dog she ever met. Since then, I've collected dozens of similar stories of Emmett helping these kids to be happy.

How can folks pitch in and learn more to help out?
JM: To simulate a real mission, I hide people in the woods so the dogs can practice finding. Dogs learn through repetition and reinforcement. I have to hide lots of different people to keep the dog reliable at finding. If I hide the same person over and over, the dog may learn to only find that person. Practice also teaches the dog to independently work out wind and terrain features to efficiently get to the missing person.

MM: Train and test to become a pet therapy team. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. You literally change lives, whether you’re visiting a senior, reading with kids or working with people with special needs, you’ll see your dog transform their spirits. If your dog isn’t up for it (and not all dogs are), encourage your local schools and public libraries to welcome therapy dogs.

What is on this dog’s horizon for future projects to help out?
JM: Both Mallie and Drake train continuously to be prepared for the next search. I work to make sure Mallie and Drake are focused and motivated to find the next lost person for many more years to come. Saving a life is the greatest thrill to them.

MM: Emmett has to retest to renew his registration this year (gulp). I’m hoping he passes with a higher level rating so that he can visit with more patient populations. As a bully breed, Emmett faces a lot of discrimination. But I’m proud – and honored – to have him serve as a breed ambassador. Inspired by our classroom and library experiences, I decided to pen a children's book about Emmett and his job as a "library dog" in the hopes that it will help encourage other kids to give reading a try!


To whet Fido’s palate, here are some more inspirational images to get your fresco mojo on and ready for doggie dining at its finest.

Chef Mark Bodinet at Copperleaf in Cedar Brook takes time to share fine cuisine with his Fido:

Nemacolin’s doggie room service menu:

Inn by the Sea’s Doggy Menu
Housemade Dog Biscuits: Rolled oats, peanut butter, wheat flour, honey
Meat Roaff: Steamed rice, raw vegetables, natural ground beef, dog cookie
Doggy Gumbo: Angus beef tips, steamed rice, raw vegetables, dog cookie
The Bird Dog: Grilled chicken, steamed rice, raw vegetables, dog cookie
K-9 Ice Cream: Topped with crumbled dog bones


We’d be remiss if we didn’t share some of our favorite additional images of the Best FIDO Friendly hotel Fido packages. Check out the following hotels with pawsome FIDO Friendly packages.

Hotel Vintage Plaza

Delamar Greenwich Harbor

Fess Parker

Heathman Portland 

Ritz Carlton




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Subscribe to Fido Friendly Magazine---Leave no dog behind!