She’s always so excited when I get home and acts as if she hadn’t seen me in years. The wagging of her tail matches the beating of my heart, for I too am excited to see her. My dog Nala is two years old and I, like so many Angelenos, have made dogs a major part of my life in the city. In fact, my dog has forced me to get out more and go on walks and to visit other cities and neighborhoods in LA County in search of hiking trails and parks. You could say that my experience in LA has been enhanced by my furry friend.
LA loves dogs and this can be seen on a daily basis whether you are out on a walk or jog or at one of the many dog parks the city has to offer. In fact, the LA neighborhood of Eagle Rock is in the midst of passing a motion to construct a new dog park off the 134 freeway on Figueroa St. This would be a great addition for all of the North-East residents. Many restaurants with outdoor seating are also very dog friendly and even provide a fresh bowl of water for your dog to slobber on. Sadly, many apartments in LA are not “pet-friendly”, with most charging a “pet rent” or not allowing dogs over 20 pounds. Are you kidding me? My dog is a healthy 70 pounds. LA housing is unfriendly to everyone; whether you’re biped or quadruped.
In addition to great dog amenities, LA provides steady work for dog trainers, retailers, walkers and boarding. On my last trip abroad, I took my pooch to a doggy hotel for about a week and she was taken care of very well. One fellow dog park frequenter told me that his dog walking business would not be a reality in any other country. Having moved from the Middle East, he told me that Angelenos are willing to provide care for their dogs even if the price is a hefty one. Having been raised in a traditional, conservative, immigrant family, their view of dogs was that of subhuman filthy animals that didn’t even deserve the scraps that fell off the table. Whenever I tell them that I take the time to train my dog or take my dog to daycare, they scoff and laugh, like many of my other non-dog-owning friends. I guess it’s very “LA” of me to care for my dog as if it were my child, but Nala kind of is my child. I’m the only protector that she knows. Whenever she feels threatened at the dog park or fireworks light up the sky and deafen our ears, she runs to me and places herself between my legs, like she would her mother.
It just breaks my heart to see these poor animals suffer either through neglect or violence. People have let these creatures down by not treating them with dignity and respect. As their humans, we need to step up and make sure that our dogs are well taken care of, that we spay/neuter them and train them to interact with BOTH dogs and humans of all ages. It really pisses me off when I hear people say: “Oh, my dog only likes people” or “My dog only likes dogs”. To those people I say that all dogs were created by humans for human use, whether for work or leisure. This means that all dogs are born liking people (that’s why they connect with their owners so easily) and other dogs (they have a pack mentality). So, if your dog doesn’t like humans and/or other dogs, you’re the one to blame and you have done your dog a great disservice. Let’s throw our dogs a bone and be good responsible doggy parents.