During the past weekend's CRSSD Festival, a beefy, muscular man barreled through the crowd toward me, approaching at full-speed for that awkward dance moment where one of you dodges right, the other dodges left and you both slam right into each other.
He could have easily crushed me. But I couldn't stop smiling.
"Puppies make me happy" was plastered across his T-shirt in the simplest font. "I love your shirt," I blurted out (mostly so he wouldn't kill me). "Thanks," he replied grinning ear-to-ear. Not so scary any more. Puppies make almost anyone happy. Even the biggest, baddest, tatted-up dude.
Over the past couple of years, San Diego has made huge strides in its dog-friendly attitude. While it's still not proper to bring your pooch everywhere, there are more and more dog-friendly restaurants, bars, beaches and shopping centers where it's totally acceptable to walk in with your four-legged friend.
This week on DiscoverSD, we look at some of the top dog-friendly spots in San Diego, and hopefully, offer up some new ideas for where to take your pup other than another lap around the block.
At downtown's Hotel Indigo (509 Ninth Ave.) rooftop bar, Level 9, a monthly yappy hour dubbed Canine Cocktails invites pooches and their owners to indulge in treats and an unbeatable view of PETCO Park. The events are themed and involve creative costume contests, plus food and drink specials. Hotel Indigo is celebrated for being a top pet-friendly destination, even promoting hotel packages with doggy daycare.
Over at Kelvin Restaurant at W San Diego (421 West B St., downtown), Paws on the Patio takes place every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for pups to mix and mingle with drinks and treats. $5 dog bites for your bff (best furry friend) include a grilled hot dog, homemade doggie biscuits and doggie ice cream.
For the more active canines, San Diego is brimming with paw-to-paw competitions. The big Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition, which took place in August, had fearless dogs jump on their boards, paddle out and hang 20. Yes, those hounds were riding waves better than I could, showing off some major agility and balance. All proceeds from the event helped animals in need at the San Diego Humane Society.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention some of the remarkable dog organizations in San Diego, starting with the San Diego Humane Society, dedicated to preventing animal cruelty. The Barking Lot is another personal fave. As a nonprofit dog rescue organization in San Diego, it's devoted to finding foster homes for dogs in need, matching rescued dogs with happy homes. Second Chance Dog Rescue San Diego is committed to saving homeless dogs, and also to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming dogs primarily from local shelters. There are countless other organizations in San Diego that are saving dogs' lives, and there's so much value that can come to a person or family from choosing dog adoption.
In a dog-friendly city like San Diego, puppies really can make anyone happy.