A dog walked into a bar . . .

A dog walked into a bar . . .

Pup took me for a walk this morning. He didn’t seem to want to take our usual route around the block to the empty field above Seacliff Beach to dig at gopher holes, so I followed him to see what he wanted to do. He made a beeline for Kid Two’s bus stop, where he sniffed around, left his mark, then took me down the side street bordering the field – past a hidden garden plot and the Meals on Wheels office and the carpet wholesaler and then around the corner away from the beach, where he jumped in fear at the sight of a small forklift. He tried to get into Strock Real Estate – the owner’s dog is a neighbor and friend – but the door was closed. Pup kept close to the storefronts lining Center Street, past The Healing Hairdresser, past the man washing windows outside Pizza One, and then . . . straight into The Med.   The Med was the dive bars of dive bars, the seedy underbelly of Seacliff Beach, where Black Panther Huey Newton was once arrested for shooting a gun during an argument. Maybe pup heard there’s a new owner who cleaned it up quite a bit and wanted to see for himself. 9AM is a little early for me, though. Luckily little dogs are easy to coax away from neighborhood...
Dog menu on the puppy patio (everything eats)

Dog menu on the puppy patio (everything eats)

Downtown dogs definitely don’t have any trouble finding food in Santa Cruz. If not for our pup, though, I probably never would have known; Koah has opened my eyes to an animal-lovers dog-eat-food world. Kid Two and I saw that we can take pup to Cafe Limelight for lunch, where we can not only sit outside and eat, but the dogs have their own menu.   Koah prefers fresh roasted turkey. Bully sticks take him months to devour, and he’s never tasted the other options.   Although a week or so later, I was tempted enough by this display at El Salchichero to add a smoked pig’s ear to broaden Koah’s palate. He wasn’t convinced, seeing as the treat was about as big as his head. I had to give it to a neighbor dog.   Everything eats....
Hot puppy kibble salad

Hot puppy kibble salad

Our pup has a seriously great life. At least, I think it’s great: morning romps through a nearby field to dig out gopher holes and chasing butterflies . . . afternoon romps on the beach to noshing on sand crabs and play tag with pelican diving in the waves . . . and anytime cuddles with his boy.   I’ve had a huge learning curve, though, in learning how to care for a pup. This is our first dog, and I wasn’t anticipating how much a 4-pound, 9-week old rescue puppy could tug at my heartstrings. He cried the first time he smelled bacon cooking in the kitchen. He cried the first time I made burgers. And he cried the first time he smelled real charcoal barbecue, this tiny thing just learning to walk on a leash, refusing to budge, loving the aroma of beach party dinner. What’s a mom to do? I fed him.   I started to sprinkle a little granola in with his kibble to make it more appetizing, or parmesan cheese, or cooked rice. I’d give him bits of cheese or hot dog as “training rewards” during the day and then get irritated when he wasn’t excited to see his bowl of kibble at 5pm. This was NOT working for either one of us. I didn’t make any – or many – mistakes feeding my kids, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I was following a pathway to terrible doggy eating habits. I realized my problem was that I didn’t think it fair for pup to smell me cooking all this great food for...