By Happy, Lady & Lucy, dog stars of the kids’ travel adventure series, It’s a King’s Life, about dog-friendly places. Read more about them at HappyLadyBooks.com. Photography and illustrations by Dan Merchant.
We know a thing or two about sniffing out adventure! As the dog stars of the It’s a King’s Life children’s travel-adventure series, we’ve traveled ‘round quite a bit. Having covered the Valley of the Sun rather extensively for our book, It’s a King’s Life in Phoenix, we’d like to share with you our personal, top five favorite things to do. Ready, set, sniff!
1. Hiking. Just about anywhere you live in the Valley, there is a mountain or preserve nearby that allows dogs. Get hiking and enjoy the great outdoors!:
- Camelback Mountain
- McDowell Sonoran Reserve
- Phoenix Mountain Preserve
- Papago Park
- Tempe Town Lake
- South Mountain
2. Dog Parks. We are blessed with off-leash dog parks in nearly every one our communities. Our personal favorite is Cosmo’s Dog Park in Gilbert, which has both a lake and sandy beach! Check your town’s website for a dog park near you.
You might also start a dog park and or club in your own neighborhood. Our parents did both. They established a dog run, named Woof-Gang Park, which doglegs around the community tennis court and is great for ball games and play dates. Plus, we have a regular Sunday neighborhood social gathering that’s been going on regularly for over five years. We attract quite a crowd!
Most of our towns’ municipal parks also welcome dogs on leash. We love our nearby McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for a leisurely stroll.
3. Shopping. Oh yes, most of us canines like shopping, too. No, it’s not so much for the jeans or heels, it’s to be with you, taking in new sights and smells and getting lots of extra attention from passersby. Many of the outdoor malls, like the Biltmore, Kierland, The Quarter and the Scottsdale Art Walk, are dog friendly with many shops setting out water bowls. Please ask politely before entering a store just to make sure you will be warmly welcome.
4. Cafes, Restaurants & Resorts. Nearly every coffee place that has outside seating accepts dogs, as do many restaurants. If you go enough, you’ll discover a few regulars and make new friends. There are some nice upscale eateries that welcome dogs on their pretty patios, as well, like Venetos, Zinc Bistro, The Herb Box and Cafe Forte.
We also love to visit the Valley’s resorts, so many of which are dog friendly at their outdoor bars and cafes. Some even have social events just for pets, like the Montelucia’s Yappy Hour or the W’s Doga. We like to go The Phoenician’s Cafe and Ice Cream Parlor and people watch!
5. Pet Therapy. Yes, we dogs love to help humans. There are several organizations in town that always welcome volunteers, such as Gabriel’s Angels, Companion Animal Association of Arizona, Happy Tails Service Dogs, Animal Assisted Therapy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Hospice of the Valley. For a list of all the organizations, fetch here. There’s no better activity to cement the human-dog bond.
Phew! Now, that’s a lot to do. Whether your best friend is an athlete or a lap dog, there’s always something to do for dogs in the Valley of the Sun. All you have to do is sniff out adventure! See ya out there!
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