Now that summer is here ( and, by the way, what the hell happened to spring? ) , it is time to talk about pet-related summer activities. But first, here's a warning. I have mentioned this before, but it seems that no amount of warnings will stop some people from leaving their dogs in the car in the summer. Please, heed the warnings! A car heats up to a lethal temperature in a matter of minutes. Do not leave a dog or cat in a vehicle even for five minutes.
Thanks to the new Chicago ordinance allowing dogs in outdoor restaurants, you no longer have to worry about that when you are going out to eat. The ordinance went into effect Jan. 1. Here in Andersonville we have seen dogs at outdoor restaurants for years—four-legged criminals everywhere. Now that it is legal, there are rules involved. Since dogs aren't allowed in the restaurant, the space must be accessible from the street. Restaurants can register and get a license to be a dog-friendly place, but it is a volunteer enrollment. Servers can't handle the dogs or offer food to them. ( Can you hear Topo crying over that one? ) Dogs can't sit on the furniture or table. If a dog attacks, the restaurant must call 311. And all dogs must have a city license and proof of vaccines. The dogs I have seen at the restaurants always seem to be well behaved which leaves our two out of the dining scene. It is hard enough to get past those places on a walk without Topo stopping at every table trying to make friends with the people eating. It is all about the food for her. Bowie would be OK, but we'd never take him and just leave the diva behind!
The dog-friendly parks and beaches are another opportunity to enjoy some quality time with your dog this summer. We like to go to the dog beach at Montrose weeknights after dinner. It is less crowded and, since our dogs are small ( don't tell Bowie ) , it is safer to go at that time. You can find a list of all the dog-friendly parks and beaches at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com .
There are also a ton of pet-friendly events and fundraisers to attend this summer. Here are some that are coming up this month:
—The annual pet parade at Andersonville's MidSommarFest ( Sat., June 14, at 12 p.m. ) features the cutest pets, pet tricks and a costume contest. Topo and Bowie are past winners of the costume contest. They are still deciding if the costumes they are working on will be fabulous enough to enter again this year.
—On Thurs., June 19, you can dine out to help the Red Door Shelter. From 5-10 p.m., Il Fiasco, 5101 N. Clark, will donate a portion of your dinner check to Red Door. There will also be a raffle with exciting prizes. ( Sorry, no dogs allowed. ) Visit www.reddoorshelter.org .
—Take the Canine Cruise with the Anti-Cruelty Society Thurs., June 26, at 7 p.m. The trip features a relaxing 90-minute sunset cruise with your pup along the river and Lake Michigan. Ticket includes a souvenir Canine Cruise bandanna and refreshments for you both. $35 per person, dogs are always free! Reservations are required: call 312-644-8338, ext 307.