21 January 2009

Life for dogs in Glendale AZ

Glendale AZ loves dogs. Regulations allow 4 per household, that's one more than municipalities in Ontario allow, even in the rural areas. And everyone here seems to own a dog, or 2 or 3, judging from the barks/growls I hear while walking along the streets with my dogs. I can't see most of them because the vast majority of fencing is made with solid cement block. That makes for better privacy but dogs don't get to see what's beyond their world, unless their humans take them outside of their yard. Although every household in this neighborhood seems to own a canine, I wonder how many dogs get exercised outside of their 'compound'.

Glendale also has 3 leash-free parks. I've only been to one here, Foothills, and I must admit, it was quite impressive compared to the 2-3 I've seen or been to at home. Foothills Leash-free park is about a 12 minute drive from our rental house. It has shade covers, water, benches for humans, some agility stations, and lots of garbage bins and pooper-scoopers. There's a separate area for small dogs, and a larger area for bigger dogs. By my standards, it's quite large and very well maintained. Here are some photos of our first visit to the Foothills leash free park. Fortunately (for me), it was almost empty as I was quite nervous to let my dogs loose with others that I didn't know.

Life for my dogs is different from at home. They can't run free, not only because of local regulations, but because there are dangers lurking in them thar hills. The biggest danger at this time of year is cactus. At warmer times of the year, a more severe danger is rattlesnakes. Arizona has 13 species of rattlesnakes, more than any other state. And they live in the hills and mountains that surround our area. I have spoken to some dog owners about the rattlesnake danger and one fellow said he found one in his back yard. Another told me I shouldn't worry about rattlers at this time of year. But I'm not taking any chances, especially with Miska and Nova who are avid hunters. They haven't been trained to leave snakes alone because frankly, we don't have many at home, just the occasional, 'friendly' garter snake. I've always tried to discourage them from snakes but having seen them hunt raccoons for example, once their hunting instinct takes over, they don't always listen to mama when she screams, "leave it".

So, it's long leash walks for my dogs. That's not a bad thing, especially for me, because it means I am getting a lot more exercise. I take 2 dogs out a time. There's a hydro corridor a couple of blocks away and some man-made and natural walking trails exist along this corridor. We walk mainly up and down it a few times and sometimes I explore the neighbourhood. There are streets that have wide sidewalks and bike lanes that give us more distance from passing cars. The dogs usually get 50 - 60 minutes of brisk walking / day (that's almost 2 hours for me!). They also get to go in / out into the small yard we have here. Much of the yard is taken up with the pool, which unfortunately isn't heated (the water is freezing cold!) so all I do is stick my feet in after a long, hot walk.

The pooches seem genuinely tired at night because they sleep most of the evening. The heat also makes them drowsier too. About once / week, I take them to the dog park, mainly to give my knees a break but to give them some fun.

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