For many the end of summer is a time for slowing down, but not for this canine. September has me busier than ever. As the temperatures cool starting in the middle of September, a lot of events and activities for canines begin. Along with about five thousand of my fellow canines and their uprights, I attended the fun festivities of the annual Bark In The Park event that takes place in the city of San Jose, California. This festival brings pet lovers, pet caregivers, pet doctors, representatives of adoption agencies, day care facilities, rescue groups, pet boutiques, gourmet treat creators and of course ambassadors from pet friendly travel destinations like Mendocino County together for a daylong celebration of everything K9. With agility demonstrations, competitions like best costume and longest tail wag, it is a fun-packed day celebrating all things dog.
I staffed the Visit Mendocino County booth along with my great friends Johanna Jensen of McDOG off-leash dog parks and Ann Bennett, owner of the amazing Sheep Dung Properties (www.sheepdung.com). We raised awareness of Mendocino County and spoke to many past and future visitors, raised money though a raffle for McDOG and promoted all the extraordinary pet friendly virtues that make Mendocino County a truly inclusive fun family-friendly travel destination. Thank you to all the sponsors who helped to underwrite my attendance and special thanks to The Little River Inn and Visit Mendocino County, Inc. for their participation in underwriting my attendance.
Often overlooked is that fact that it is not just pet friendly businesses that sponsor and support my efforts. Many individuals and businesses realize the positive benefits of having a visible representative for the county, like yours truly, has on their bottom line. I want to acknowledge these often unsung heroes of Mendocino County and especially my faithful readers; thank you for realizing that all businesses and residents of the county reap the benefits from ALL visitors to Mendocino County. Even if your business is not targeted to the pet traveler, along the way you are positively affected financially by having people who travel with pets spending their dollars in our community – which is something worth Woofing about for everyone in the community.
Ordering dinner at the Hilton
Not only is Bark In The Park a great event for promoting Mendocino County, it also gives me the opportunity to experience other pet friendly hospitality entities. This helps me tremendously in helping businesses develop better pet friendly policies and experiences. I was able to stay in the Downtown Hilton in San Jose and as many of you may know, I have stayed there before. Everyone at the hotel is always so nice to me and I get my fair share of attention. I would like it even more if they had a welcome treat for me when I check in. My dads got complementary bottled water, could there not be a Hilton brand treat for me upon check-in? I too have had a long road trip to get there. San Jose has lots of places to share with your uprights, a particular favorite place of mine is Santana Row, where several of the restaurants and stores allow me to dine and shop right along with the uprights. The first time I went to the JB Steakhouse, they brought out house-made cookies for me when the breadbasket was brought for the uprights. Now that is what I call class. Oh, and the steaks, well just let me say ‘buttah’ isn’t the only thing that melts in the mouth.
After a full day greeting nearly ten thousand uprights and their canine companions I was so tired that my uprights asked if it would be all right for me to accompany them and eat on the patio at the Downtown Hilton’s restaurant Affinity. This was not a problem and it was so nice to just mellow out and relax after all the socializing I had done that day. The three of us spent a terrific couple of quality hours processing the day. As I lounged on my chair, watching the flames from the hotel fire pit I listened to the soothing sounds of a cascading fountain wall of water while trying to keep my eyes open and listen expectantly for the waiter’s return. I day dreamed of all the pats, kind words and excited smiling faces that greeted us all that day and fell asleep contentedly knowing that I had done my job successfully.
Rested after my busy day at Bark In The Park, we stopped at several of the wineries along Hwy 128 on our return home to say “hi” and drop off more of my Pet Friendly Brochures. A lot of wineries can’t keep them in stock they are so popular. This is something I always love to do as I get to greet and interact with the visitors and say “hello” to my dear winery friends. Remember over 90% of the winery tasting rooms in Mendocino County are pet friendly; now that is really something to raise a glass and paw to.