Carmel. A dog lovers paradise.

Most dog lovers living in California have heard about the uber dog friendly town of Carmel, just a quick jaunt south from San Francisco.

Clint Eastwood, former mayor and huge animal lover has a home here. Doris Day another animal lover took her love one step further by opening a hotel that is more than dog friendly it’s dog welcoming – Yappy Hour from 4pm – 6pm in the lounge every evening. Located at Lincoln and Seventh Avenue, you’ll never want for any doggy needs during your stay. www.cypress-inn.com

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If you stay at the Lamp Lighter Inn and Sunset House Suites just a frisbee jump away from the beautiful Carmel Beach, not only do you have the luxury of letting your dog run around and play leash free on the sand, but you can give them a refreshing warm shower at the the dog station located in the courtyard of the inn. As with most hotels that allow dogs, all the usual sensible dog rules apply and certain rooms are designated specifically for dogs, so call ahead to make sure you can get a reservation. After some play time on the beach and a warm shower for your canine, book a local pet sitter to stay with your dog (dogs are not to be left alone in rooms, hotel policy) while you enjoy one of the many amazing restaurants in town. www.carmellamplighter.com

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Need a place to park your Airstream? Just north of Carmel in the harbor of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary you will find Moss Landing campground. www.mosslandingkoa.com. Even though certain bully breeds are not allowed (along with wolf hybrids or coyotes?? Coyotes? Do the local coyotes know this?) you can bring your dogs to this beautiful location and then visit the surrounding areas, including that day trip to Carmel for a play date on the beach.

On a personal note, it’s always a bit disappointing to find so many places in the U.S. not dog friendly, that’s why Carmel is so refreshing. Having lived in England for the first 19 years of my life – which included travel throughout Europe, it was natural to see dogs on public transportation and at cafés and some restaurants. And this is where the problem lies for dogs living in the U.S. For most of us living in America we are not allowed to take our dogs to many parks, cafés and even some walk streets. Where I live, about 45 minutes north of Los Angeles there is a mall surrounded by outdoor restaurants, cafés and shops on walk streets, there is a sign as you enter this area that dogs are not allowed on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk! What happens to our dogs is this. They are left at home, in houses, in backyards and they have no opportunity for socialization or experiencing new environments. This causes a slew of behavioral problems. Whereas in Europe, dogs are welcomed in most places, so from an early age, people take their dogs with them when they leave the house and guess what this does? It makes for a well behaved, well adjusted dog that adapts to new scenarios and new people with ease.

If towns and cities in the U.S. adopted Carmel’s attitude toward dogs, we would have a nation of well behaved canines and we would all be much happier.

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