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Milo, Haley, and the Dogs of Santa Monica

No, it’s not my intention to turn BEAGLE MAN into a travelogue; it just happens that we found ourselves in Southern California a few days after our Costa Rica vacation. Seems our youngest son may be L.A.-bound for college next year, and we were out on campus for a meet-and-greet. Imagine if we have to be visiting him in sunny la-la land over the next four years. Boo-hoo.

S. Monica - blue bootiesWe stayed in Santa Monica, right on the beach. I managed to spend quite a bit of time on Ocean Front Walk, or the Promenade, or whatever you want to call it; if you’ve been there, you know the place I mean: that ultra-cool boardwalk, equal parts roller derby and catwalk,S. Monica - Haleycloseup stretching north beyond the Santa Monica Pier and south beyond Venice Beach. There are separate lanes for pedestrians and for cyclists (bikes, trikes, roller blades, skate boards, scooters) — and there should definitely be a third lane for out-of-town gawkers.

S. Monica - MiloIt’s been a good 20 years since I’d last been on that stretch . . . and nothing’s changed!! It’s like time travel in an episode of Lost back to the days when hippies ruled. Still the same great sunshiny, outdoors, anything-goes vibe. I saw a lot of wild get-ups, a lot of beautiful people, a lot of toned and well-oiled bodies — but what opened my eyes even more than the people-watching was theS. Monica - blue eyes endless parade of dogs! I saw more dogs on one 40-minute run than I see in three weeks in Westport — and God knows we love our dogs here.

I saw boxers and border collies and bichons. I saw black labs and brown labs and yellow labs. I saw S. Monica - RinTinTin on towelgoldens and shepherds and pit bulls and shih-tzus. I saw dogs being walked and dogs being run and dogs being biked and dogs being roller-bladed. (I saw one dog being carried because his poor little paws had nerve damage; notes booties in photo, top left) I sawS. Monica - outside Shutters dogs tethered to volleyball nets and dogs lazing on brightly striped towels and dogs drinking from upside-down panama hats and dogs catching rays on padded benches outside chi-chi cafes. (Btw, Milo is the little guy, left-center; Haley is the golden, top right.)

This massive dog presence, of course, got me to missing my own puppy — big-time. I started thinking about logistics for potential future visits. Even checked things out at our hotel: Yes, they happily accept dogs.

Ricky, you’re gonna love it there.

Hank Herman