Dec 14, 2009 12:01:40 AM
Best places to walk your dog
The City of Lights earns top marks for its motorised pooper-scooper, the moto-crotte (literally meaning ‘poop-mobile’), which revolutionised the removal of urban doggy do. The manned contraption trolls about town collecting unwanted puppy pâté. Now, one can proudly parade their purebreds down the Champs-Elysées without worrying about sullying their pair of Christian Louboutin’s. Unlike many cities, Paris welcomes pets inside restaurants, so, after an afternoon of negotiating myriad cobbled sidewalks, pause for a cup of tea with your teacup poodle, or savour a box of chocolates with your chocolate boxer.
Padding round the big city can punish tiny paws, so why not hail your four-legged friend his very own taxi; from €30 (US$39).
Los Angeles, California, USA
…and from Paris, France to Paris Hilton. In Los Angeles pocket-sized pooches have replaced clutch bags as the newest, coolest accessory. All of the young celebs have a canine sidekick, donning miniature bling as they drool on their owner’s couture. Strut your stuff with your leashed Lassie on the Sunset Strip and be mistaken for an heiress to a hotel fortune. Dance the night away at SkyBark, a pet-friendly club in downtown LA, or, for something away from the paparazzo’s lens, try Runyon Canyon, a veritable Eden for pets where pups can roam free in the heart of the city.
What dog wouldn’t love an aromatherapy massage, a deep medicated soak or full nail buffing – essential for LA’s coolest canines; treatments from US$5.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Holland’s capital has always pushed the envelope when it comes to social mores, so it’s not surprising that local laws are quite liberal when it comes to manning one’s pup. You won’t see any pooches posing in red-tinted windows, but it’s not out of the ordinary to find them munching on designer biscuits at a canal-side cafe, or slurping on Evian at an upmarket hotel. Oosterpark’s dog-designated zone is a great place for paw stretching, as is popular Vondelpark, just don’t forget to pick up after your pup – sanitation officials on doody duty hand out hefty fines to violators.
Oosterpark lies on tram lines 3, 7 and 9; visit in June and you and the pooch can both bop away at the free Amsterdam Roots Festival.
Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain National Park, which looms over colourful Cape Town, is one of the only preserves in southern Africa that allows dogs on its trails. The park encompasses a diverse environment consisting of winding paths up the craggy mount, dense patches of forest replete with curious critters, and plenty of sandy dunes flanking the churning sea. Dogs must be kept on leash so as to not disturb the delicate predator-prey ecosystem – one step off the beaten path and he’ll quickly fall to the bottom of the food chain (his owner too!)
Visit the park’s website to find details of designated dog walking areas, which goes by the impressive title of ‘Dog Walking Environmental Management Plan’.
Phuket’s endless stretches of bleach-blonde sand have long been Thailand’s pet paradise – figuratively speaking – but now the ‘pearl of the Andaman’ has become a hotspot for hounds too. Luxury resorts are gradually opening their doors to man’s best friend, and, in recent years the island’s population of stray canines has decreased thanks to the efforts of local neutering organisations like Soi Dog (which sounds more like a vegetarian dish than a snipping service). Toss the Frisbee with Fido along the powder-soft dunes at Bang Thao Beach, and if he’s acting a bit too frisky, Soi Dog can fix him too.
From grooming to photography and PR to fundraising, Soi Dog is always looking for budding volunteers; add a touch of the feel-good to your vacation.
Have canine will travel? For more doggy-friendly destinations check out our Best in Travel 2010 - it’s all you need to inspire your travel plans for next year and beyond.