Gardens and Dog Parks and Market Days

Of Gardens and Dog Parks and Market Days, Oh, My!

by Celia Hayes

 

Alas, now that it was in the high 90’s on Sunday afternoon, I must yield and submit to summer. Yes, it’s here. Likely I will not see a cool night, and sleep with an open window and properly under the feather comforter until somewhere the far side of September. I just hope that the Deity doesn’t decide to turn the temperature all the way up to broil, now that the tomatoes are lavishly in bloom, and the biggest and sturdiest of them are adorned with tiny green tomatoes, the size of pearls and grapes. Daily temps in the three digits would pretty well bake what is coming on so very, very well. Darn it, I have too good a start on the vegetable garden to be completely detached about watching it all shrivel up in the scorching heat. (Reminder; Get another jug of that insecticide – once the white-fly gets ahold of the tomatoes and beans, that’s the long slow slide towards resignedly uprooting the lot and hoping to do better next year.)

The pole beans are leaping up the poles, the tomatillo plants look to be turning into shrubs, the eggplants are burgeoning, and the very expensive cornichon gherkin seeds that I ordered from Amazon at a cost of about .17 cents a seed, plus another .15 cents shipping and handling – fourteen of them have put up sprouts. Yes, I want to make proper French Cornichon pickles this year … but I will so let at least one of the cornichon gherkins go to seed so that I don’t have to order them next year. The salad greens and lettuces are doing pretty well, too – at least, the ones that I have in pots and water every day without fail. We get a nice serving of salad greens about every two days. As for beans, I hope for enough for a side dish of them every day or so. In a spirit of resignation, I planted two packets of patty-pan squash and some kind of hot-weather zucchini in one of the wire-form raised beds. Everyone says that you are supposed to be overwhelmed with squash from a back-yard garden, but so far, I am distinctly underwhelmed. Hope springs eternal in the breast of the home gardener, though.

We ventured out this weekend to the Universal City dog park; a hop, skip and a jump away, in Universal City, which is small, but choice. It is adorned with enough rocks and small trees to give Connor and Nemo a chance to empty every drop from their bladders in a heroic attempt to mark every single one. Nemo thinks that every dog he meets is his newest, bestest friend in all the world. The last time we took him to the dog park at Hardberger Park there were just too many bigger dogs interested in chasing him. Once he realized that he was basically the ‘rabbit’ – and got bowled over by the bigger dogs several times – he lost all interest. This time, Connor, the Malti-Poo, our old man of dogs and usually not interested in romping, made friends with a Min-Pin who loved to chase a thrown rubber ball. Over and over again, the Min-Pin chased the ball and brought it back, with Connor toddling gamely after. An excellent hour of a morning spent – the dogs all nicely tired out.

And finally – preparations for our participation in the Bulverde/Spring Branch Spring Market Day continue. We will have a joint booth; my books and my daughter’s origami art at the Spring market on May 10, in the parking lot of Bealls at Hwy 46 and Bulverde Crossing. Look for the shrieking pink pavilion with the zebra-striped top. We just got it this week, and set it up briefly in the driveway. You will not be able to miss it, even though there are supposed to be scores of other vendors there.

A Packed Week

A Packed Week

by Celia Hayes

Call Mission Realty for your San Antonio Real Estate needs! 210-319-4960

Just to get into the mood and establish the mental sound-track, imagine a mariachi band kicking it into raucous high gear. Now, imagine a ten day long city-wide block party, food festival, oyster feast, rock concert, art show, parade, debutant ball and live comic burlesque … yes, it’s Fiesta time again in San Antonio, with the usual packed schedule of events suited to every taste. From Night in Old San Antonio in La Villita, to the Battle of Roses parade; it’s a couther and more family-friendly version of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, as a commenter once described it. Fiesta began over a hundred years ago, with a simple modest parade of flower-bedecked carriages and bicycles to honor the heroes of the Alamo and Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto. But everybody – simply everybody wanted in on the fun, and so Fiesta has grown, and grown and grown into it’s present extravagant form. Everyone loves a party – and the more the merrier.

However … it does make downtown San Antonio more than usually challenging, especially around those locations serving as event venues, and if the thought of heavy traffic and cheek-by-jowl crowds do not appeal, there is an alternate amusement over the weekend of the 27th-28th in the pleasant little town of Buda, just about an hour’s drive north on IH-35. That would be the world-famous Buda Wiener Dog Race, sponsored by the local Lions Club, which began sixteen years ago as a fund-raising hot dog roast, and then someone had the brilliant notion of including a dachshund race … and like the Fiesta in San Antonio, it just grew from there. This year’s event poster – which is always a riff on a popular movie – is “Les Wienerables.” Previous years posters have been “Lord of the Wien,” “Wieners of the Caribbean” and “Gone With the Wiener.” The whole thing is totally dog-friendly, even to non-dachshunds, and runs like a well-oiled machine. Instead of trying to find a parking place near the park in downtown Buda, the Lions have set up event parking in a huge open field behind the Cabela’s – and run frequent shuttle busses to the event venue in the Buda City Park.

And on a serious note – a little over three weeks ago, my daughter and I went up to Fort Worth for a book event. We made a pit-stop at the Little Czech Bakery in West, which I wrote up in an account of our road trip later. We were absolutely horrified to hear about the fertilizer plant explosion; an explosion so violent that it was heard for miles and demolished nearby houses and apartment buildings as if they had been made of balsa wood. But worse than loosing homes – which can and will be rebuilt – is that West’s volunteer fire department lost about a third of their number. That is a catastrophe for a small town and a tragedy for their families and friends. Human lives cannot be replaced, as much as we would wish it. But things can be and a home rebuilt, as I know from my parent’s experience when their retirement home burned in a wildfire in 2003. Knowing at least that strangers cared softened the loss of their home in a small way. Currently, HEB is collecting donations for the relief of those residents of West who have lost practically everything but the clothes they stood up in, as is the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and many individuals. As soon as we can, my daughter and I plan to drive up to Waco and to the Czech Stop – and this time, we’ll buy a dozen kolaches at the Little Czech Bakery.

Halloween for Dogs

Halloween for Dogs

by Celia Hayes

Since our household does not contain any small children, we normally make an effort to dress up the dogs in costumes instead. Cats are normally reluctant to cooperate in this kind of amusement, although I do wish that we could get some of the black cats to pose fetchingly with pumpkins, cauldrons, brooms and witch’s pointy hats. This would so take care of decorating the front porch for tricker-treating. A couple of years ago we did borrow the grandson of our next-door neighbor when he wanted to dress up like the Prince of Persia and our neighbor confessed herself quite unequal to that particular challenge. We fitted him out in a tunic and sword-belt and turban, and I roughed out a sword and dagger from thin plywood, and he was so pleased with the whole effect that his grandmother had the greatest trouble in getting him to take it off and put on his pajamas to go to bed. This is not a problem we have noticed with the dogs.

They don’t seem to care one way or the other, although Spike the Shi Tzu – who craved attention from anyone at any time and for any reason – seemed to like a costume for the attention it gained. She had a whole collection of costumes, hats and accessories, mostly because there are a lot available and on sale at reasonable prices in small-dog sizes. Connor the Malti-poo has inherited the gender-neutral costumes from Spike, and wears them with panache. This year we will dress him up in a purple cloak and fabric-sculpture crown, I think. He’s not particular – he likes everybody and everybody likes him, costume or not.

The Lesser Weevil is a large and rawboned boxer mix, and her costume wardrobe is not as extensive. The bigger sizes in dog costumes are rarer and more expensive … and compounding that is the fact that she is a dog who is as sensitive to being laughed at as your average thirteen year old girl. Given the wrong sort of costume, and the wrong public reaction to it, the Weevil would be hiding under the bed and crying her eyes out. My daughter sometimes amuses herself by dressing the Weevil in a ballet tutu skirt and gauzy fairy wings, but I believe the Weevil has begun to figure out how comic this appears. I think that she probably prefers to just appear as a dog. We’ll probably just dig out the enormous black spider costume for her again; better to be slightly scary than totally ridiculous.

We have seen some very clever dog costumes in past Halloweens and at the Buda Wiener-dog races this spring, where many of those who brought their dogs had made an effort to dress them up – some even as hot-dogs, with fabric ‘buns’ strapped to their sides like long saddle-bags. There were some very clever costumes on display at the yearly dog costume parade at the Christmas celebration at Goliad on the Square, including one white standard poodle who was colored green – to be the Grinch, of course, and a pair of Pekinese dogs dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
So, that’s our costume epic for this year – how is yours?

Woof Wednesdays

Woof Wednesdays at the Animal Defense League

by Celia Hayes

… At the Animal Defense League; every Wednesday until the end of this month, the adoption fees for dogs over the age of puppy are reduced … which is a very generous concession indeed, considering that the dogs available have been spayed or neutered, chipped, and up to date on things like rabies vaccinations and heartworm medication. We are not in any particular need of another dog at present, as the pair that we have are completely satisfactory, fairly young and in good health. But if we were looking for another dog, and the fates that dictate these matters didn’t present us with a suitable candidate straight off the streets of our own San Antonio neighborhood (as was the story with Connor, who was found running loose, and the charming little Pom, also found running loose) we would certainly consider adopting from the Animal Defense League. They have a sprawling compound off Nacogdoches Road, near the Wurzbach Expressway; a dozen buildings, an animal hospital facility, and a large area set up as a dog park.

So, hearing about this – and my daughter also heard that there is a thrift shop involved – we decided to stop by the place and actually go inside, and see if I could take some cute pictures of the cats and dogs and do a blog post about it. I had only been driving past the place for nearly fifteen years, so it was about time. We did explain that we weren’t interested so much in adoption, as we were encouraging other people to do so. The management in the adoption center were perfectly amenable to this, so we circled through two of the small dog buildings … but first, my daughter had to look at the kittens. There is nothing cuter than a basket of kittens, and there were some terribly appealing ones on hand in the so-called ‘Kitten Room’- including a little all-black one suitably named “Salem” who kept reaching out with his paw through the wire as I was taking pictures of the infant flame-point Siamese brother and sister in the adjacent cage. “Me!” it was as if he was commanding, “Me! Pay attention to me!”

Anyway – on to the small dogs and puppies; there were not very many puppies. The uncrowned king of the puppy area was a small poodle, who was introduced to us as “Patriot” – a special, special-needs dog. Patriot is almost nine years old, and completely blind. In spite of that, he is friendly and outgoing. He gets around all right, but absolutely hates the confinement of the cage. He is actually most content, sitting in a lap or in a basket by a chair – and appears also to be allergic to grass. He’d be a perfect pet for someone working from home in a small place; his demand for walkies would be absolutely minimal.

Then we walked around to a larger building housing a number of small to medium dogs, and the attendant suggested that if we wanted to get some good pictures, just tell her which dog took our fancy. We could go out into the dog park area, and get some good pictures. Our interest alighted on a medium-small tan-colored dog named “Piglet” mostly because of her pleading eyes, and the way her ears stuck out to the sides of her head. Piglet is half Chihuahua … and pit bull. However that worked out, the mating itself must have been comic to behold. In any case, it resulted in a sweet-tempered and appealing little dog, which came along readily on the leash. She was described as being rather shy, but we didn’t find her so. My daughter is still rather surprised that she didn’t wind up coming hope with us anyway. So – that was our Wednesday. And if you are considering adding a dog to your family, consider the Animal Defense League. On Wednesday or any other day.

Found Another Dog

Lost Dog

by Celia Hayes

Over the years that we have lived in our San Antonio home, we’ve lost track of the number of all the lost dogs we have found and managed to either returned to their owners, or found them new owners. Almost always it’s been a case of ‘return to owner’, and in one instance we kept the dog. My mother thinks we must display some kind of invisible sign which sends lost dogs scampering in our direction. She might be right about that. In any case, upon being met with a stray dog, we have worked out the most efficient series of steps for reuniting them with their person.

If the dog has a tag on the collar with a current address and telephone number of the owner – that will be about 90% of the situation sorted out right there. Secure the dog and call the number. Sometimes the owner will come right away, and sometimes they can’t come until after work. Quite often the dog will have done a runner from the back yard during the workday, and they will not even have noticed that Fido is gone.

A current rabies tag is almost as good as a name/address/telephone number tag. Call the veterinary clinic which issued the tag, and give them the rabies tag number. They can look it up in their registry and provide the dogs name, the owners’ name and telephone number. Should you find the dog on a Saturday afternoon, you will probably be keeping the dog until Monday morning.

Without a collar, or anything on the collar offering information, one can always hope for a chip. Any veterinary clinic can and will scan a lost dog for free. Even if they do not find a chip, they can always give you a good idea of the breed, age, general health and if it has been neutered or not. In the absence of a collar, rabies tag or chip, this is good information to use in the next step – registering the dog as ‘found’ on lost pet websites, and with local organizations such as Man & Beast*. If possible also take a picture of the dog, and upload it with the general description. Don’t forget about posting at the office of any nearby apartments or gated Dog Friendly Condos Communities.

But keep back one vital bit of information about the dog. Does it have a distinctive scar or marking? Ask anyone claiming to be the owner to describe it; sometimes people will try and claim a dog which doesn’t really belong to them for various reasons of their own.

We actually haven’t returned any dogs through the on-line lost pet registries, or through placing a free advertisement in the newspaper. It’s good to do this, just so that you can say you’ve covered all the bases.

Papering the neighborhood with flyers has proved to be the most effective method of restoring a stray dog to the owner; either our own flyers, or seeing that the owner of the missing animal has posted theirs. This does have limitations; a large dog can have come from a good way away. The first dog we ever found and returned had come from a home several miles up Stahl Road, and had been missing for two weeks. Another dog had come from the Feather Ridge subdivision, two miles up Nacogdoches Road from our home. (Coincidentally, both had been panicked by noise – a massive thunderstorm and 4th of July fireworks.) Even a small dog can cover a good distance; this summer, we found a tiny, fast-moving Pomeranian clear the other end of the subdivision from its home, a distance of more than a mile.

Besides papering, there is one more effective step: put the dog on a leash and walk around during the hours of the day that everyone will be out and about, asking anyone you meet if they recognize it. Very often, if it is truly lost, a neighbor will recognize a dog that lives close by … and of course, the owners will very likely be searching for their dog at that time.

* Man & Beast Inc., 3918 Naco Perrin Blvd # 109, San Antonio, TX 78217, (210) 590-7387

San Antonio Dog Friendly Condos for Sale

A Dog-Friendly List of San Antonio Condos for Sale

Check out my new San Antonio dog-friendly Condo list.

by Randy Watson

Hi, my name is Randy Watson and I am a self-confessed dog lover. I am also a real estate agent with Mission Realty, in San Antonio.

Texans love their dogs and cats… and here in San Antonio we are no exception. Dogs and cats are loved everywhere, except it gets a little tricky when it comes to buying real estate that accepts your pets. Especially when looking to buy: condominiums, townhomes and villas; since each may have its own rules and regulations regarding pets. Single family homes have fewer, if no restrictions regarding pets. (A word of caution, some HOA’s, even towns/cities may have dog restrictions.)

Moving to a new area, whether across town or across the country is stressful enough, especially, if you have pets. It can be frustrating to fall in love with the perfect home, only to learn that your fur-baby is too big or weighs over the condo complex limit. As a lifelong dog owner, I enjoy helping buyers and sellers who have pets with all their real estate needs. (I don’t want you to think we’re just limited to dogs and cats… if you have other animals, we can help with them too. Not many condos allow Longhorns, though… How about a nice farm or ranch for sale? ) My team of agents and I can help you find a dog friendly condo community that will welcome you and your dogs.

 

Many condominiums for sale in San Antonio allow pets, but, even so, it may not be exact the right condo for you and your furry friend. I happen to think that dogs need to have lots of green space. Just because the Condo board rules allow pets, doesn’t mean that is the right place for you and your dog. A condo that is a building in the middle of a parking lot with little to no grass or trees, doesn’t have a lot to offer for your dog, unless there are some nature trails or they are next to a park.

Some condos allow pets, but what they really mean is that they don’t really want pets. So you find out the rule is you must carry your dog through the lobby. (That’s pure craziness.) Or they only allow cats or non-shedding dogs under 12lbs. Don’t get frustrated, there are many San Antonio pet-friendly condos complexes that not only allow big dogs, but maybe allow 2 or 3 dogs, too.

Me and my hound, Milo (actually he’s an Australian Shepherd) are hunting down San Antonio condos for sale that not only allow pets, but welcome them with pet-centered amenities such as dog runs, dog wash tubs, and poop-bag dispensers near the potty areas. Maybe the condo complex has a nice dog park or trails nearby. We’ll check it out and see if we get the 2 paws up from my dog, Milo.

I’ve started creating a list of San Antonio dog-friendly condos for sale. It is by far, not a complete list and I’ll add to it as I find out more. If you happen to live in or know about a San Antonio dog-friendly condo please let me and Milo know and we will add your condo to our list.

#call-us#

Put us to work to find you a San Antonio condo for sale that fits you, your pets and your lifestyle. We are condo specialists, we specialize in Medical Center condos for sale, Alamo Heights condos, New Braunfels condos or downtown San Antonio condos for sale.

Call Team Randy Watson at 210-319-4960 to help find you a San Antonio Dog-Friendly Condo.

Wiener Dog Races in Buda

The Running of the Wiener Dogs in Buda, Texas

by Celia Hayes

Let me say up front that we’re still a little unsure of how to pronounce ‘Buda’ – although most of the people that we met there last weekend pronounced it ‘B-yu-dah’, which is fair enough. For those unfamiliar with the geography of South Texas, it is a once fairly independent and separate little community about an hour’s drive north of San Antonio on IH-35, and close enough to Austin that it and the similar little community of Kyle are more or less bedroom slippers to Austin, as Boerne and Bulverde are now bedroom slippers to San Antonio.

We decided to go to support a friend who has a dachshund and who had a vendor booth for his bird feeders and ornamental lanterns, and because the mental vision of galloping wiener dogs was too much cuteness to resist. It seems to have begun as a sort of adjunct to a Lion’s Club hotdog roast fund-raiser, and then someone suggested the notion of racing dachshunds as an attention-getting device. The whole thing took off from there, and now Buda has fully embraced the image of being the Wiener Dog Racing Capital of Texas – well, anything is better than slipping into dull suburban anonymity. The Wiener Dog Races in Buda a have just had their fifteenth run, so I can pretty much say it is now a well-established tradition – as being a very well organized one.

The event itself takes place in a city park in the older part of town, and in order to keep the traffic and parking situation from getting totally out of hand, the Lions’ Club very cleverly set up the parking lot in a huge empty field behind the equally huge Cabela’s outlet, just off the highway, and shuttled people to and fro in school-buses, which seemed to come every five minutes or so. Getting to the festival itself was practically painless, although I did feel for those people who were juggling folding chairs, kid-strollers and a dog or two on leashes. Did I mention that this was a totally dog-friendly event?

Why, certainly it was. Although only dachshunds or mostly-dachshunds can run as contestants in the races, other dogs were totally welcome into the venue itself, and even into many of the shops open on Main Street. I think about a third of the people there had dogs with them, my daughter says no, more like half … but as there were as many attendees who had multiple dogs, so it probably came out pretty much like. And if you didn’t arrive with a dog, there were opportunities offered by various dachshund rescue associations to leave with one, if you were so inclined. Dachshunds are jolly little dogs, friendly for the most part – and they made a fine show in the first heats, too. None of them lost interest half-way down the track, although some owners of fine racing wiener dog stock tell us that the racing is something that they really have to be in the mood for doing.

A lot of the vendors had dog and dog-related items; stuffed sock dogs, metal art featuring wiener-dogs, jewelry … and dog treats, of all kinds. The two creators of OohLaLa Gourmet Dog Treats even went so far as to tell us that their dog treat cookies were so wholesome and good that they could even be eaten by humans. There was one thing that we did notice, though … the whole of that afternoon in Buda, we didn’t see a single cat. I wonder why?

Critters Living in Our San Antonio Neighborhoods

Nature’s Critters

by Celia Hayes

We were walking the dog this morning, when we noticed two of our neighbors deep in conversation in the driveway. The object of conversation seemed to be an occupied Hava-Hart trap, and naturally being terribly curious about anything going on in our neighborhood, we went over and joined the conversation, discovering that the occupant of the trap was a mature and deeply unhappy opossum. This was not entirely unexpected around here, actually. Possums turn up all the time – in fact, before we acquired the dogs, there were several of them that hung out in my back yard, going so far as to help themselves to the cat food that I put out for the outdoor cat. The cat, by the way, was perfectly amiable towards the opossum, as she very well might be, as the opossum had way more and very much sharper teeth than she did.

The neighbor in question was a trifle freaked about her catch, as she had actually set the trap for squirrels. This year, between the drought and a bumper crop of acorns on the numerous oak trees, the squirrels are being a particular pest. They are everywhere, digging holes in the flowerbeds, in the potted plants, and eating the roots of certain ornamental plants, and sending our dogs into noisy frenzies of excitement. The Lesser Weevil surprised one particularly unwary and slow-moving squirrel at the bird feeder the other day, and came as close to actually catching it as she has ever come . . . although I am not certain she would actually know what to do with it if she did. My daughter entertains a lively fantasy of the Weevil being so enthused by close pursuit that she actually follows the squirrel up into the tree branches . . . and then we would have to call the fire department to extract a 90 pound dog from out of the tree . . .

Anyway, wildlife abounds in our little patch of San Antonio home paradise; plenty of the usual suburban small mammals and rodents, and a nice selection of birds. We planted various flowering shrubs to attract humming birds, and put out feeders which draw in cardinals, wrens, sparrows and doves. One of our other neighbors has actually induced several families of woodpeckers to take up residence in their yard; most amusing to watch, they tell us. I think the most colorful yard critters are the small anole lizards. They are everywhere in the spring and summer months, bright lime green in color with delicate pink throats that they will show off by inflating them. They always seemed to hang out in the wisteria, very possibly because the lizards and the wisteria leaves are the same color.

All this wildlife is about par, for a small yard in a city neighborhood – a bigger yard and one adjacent to a greenway or open fields can count on wider assortment. Like deer: Hill Country Village – well within the 1604 Loop – supports a herd of deer and has for years. McAllister Park has deer in it, best seen in the early morning, and I spotted some deer wanderers at the corner of Thousand Oaks and Naco-Perrin one morning, several years ago, meandering towards the open golf course at Northern Hills. Even the campus of USAA has it’s very own herd, which to my mind increases the likeness of the place to a stately fortified demesne on a high hill with an enclosed park around it. We might be in the city, or at least the suburbs . . . but the critters are always with us.

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Pet Adoption Clinics, Vaccination Clinics and other Cat and Dog Things Happen All Over San Antonio Each Week

Dogue, собака, Perro, Hund, 狗, Chien, 犬, Cão, Dog

 

There is a saying which has been kicking around in the back of my mind for years, to the effect that you do not find your pets – they find you. In some cases, usually those of the feline persuasion, they are the ones who actively pick you, by moving in and making themselves at home. Now and again, dogs have also been known to do this: most recently in my case, the little black dog that I nick-named ‘the little shadow’ which my daughter found running around in the street in front of a highly trafficked neighborhood yard-sale a number of weeks ago. A nice little black dog, very affectionate, well-behaved and clean, of a certain age in dog-years, and giving evidence in the fact that he had been neutered, tail-bobbed and taken to a groomer within a few weeks of being found . . . all of this indicated to us that he had simply become separated accidentally from a doting owner, and returning him would be a piece of cake.

There is a world of difference between a dog who is a beloved pet, and whose people are frantically searching, and that the sort of dog who has been dumped, but it seems that lately that difference has become sadly narrowed. All the usual and familiar avenues of returning a lost dog were explored and came up empty in this case. Eventually, all we could think was that perhaps his owner had died, or become incapacitated, and whoever was sorting out the household couldn’t be bothered to do any more than drive to a nice neighborhood, open the car door and boot him out.

In any case we became quite fond of him. We had an assortment of small-dog accessories and necessities left after the sad passing of Spike the Shih-Tzu, and little dogs don’t eat that much, so . . . well, why not? So, there he is, curled up underneath my desk as I am writing this. We named him Connor, because he was found near our San Antonio home close to Stahl and O’Connor, and a judicious application of tasty treats has taught him to respond to it . . . so he is one of the lucky ones, as the fates of rescued dogs are measured.

For every thrown-away dog on the streets who doesn’t find a likely sucker through their own charm and devices, the next-luckiest make it to a shelter; to Animal Rescue, or any number of the animal shelters, rescue services or to various specialty-breed foster care organizations. All of these institutions take a great deal of care with the lucky cats and dogs who are fortunate enough to make it to them. They are shown off at every opportunity and every possible venue: Spay-Neuter-Inject-Protect of San Antonio (SNIPSA), just to give an example is regularly at the Pearl Market on certain Saturdays, showing off the most amiable and appealing of their charges. There are so many dogs like Connor, like the dogs we saw a couple of weekends ago at the Pearl – they deserve a home for real.

VIsit DOGtoberfest on Bandera Road. Saturday, October 29, 2011 Family fun from 10-1! Including: Adorable Pet Adoptions, Costume Contests, Amateur Agility Run, Face Painting, CIV Vaccination Clinic, and more! Benefitting Helotes Humane Society.

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San Antonio Park Greenway

Return to the San Antonio Park’s Greenway

by Celia Hayes

Over last winter and spring, we were in the habit of taking our dogs with us and hiking stretches of the Salado Way – sometimes the portion between the old Voelcker Farm and Huebner Road – or along various lengths between McAllister Park south to where it peters out after crossing Rittiman Road near the north-east corner of Fort Sam. Some day, when all the segments are one long continuous stretch, from the North Side all the way down to the Mission Park on the South side, it will be a fantastic adventure to walk or bike the whole thing. Until that day comes, we’ll just have to pick and choose.

The last time we did this – in May, I think – we went from the McAllister Park trailhead, all the way down to Los Patios restaurant (enjoy dog friendly dining) and back. No, it was not possible to carry enough water for both of us and the dog, and the last half mile or so was an endless, broiling-in-the-sun and not-a-scrap-of shade misery. We gave it up until the cooler weather of fall . . . which, darn it, still hasn’t arrived to the point where we can turn off the AC and open the windows, but at least it rained a bit over the weekend, just when I am about sure that everyone in San Antonio had absolutely forgotten what the stuff looked like.

So on Sunday morning we went to Ladybird Park and walked to Tobin, seeing if there was any water from the rain filling up the various stagnant pools which appear at intervals in the dry-as-a-desert-bone creek-bed, to admire what autumn color there was, if any – and finally, and most importantly, to see if the link underneath 410 had been completed. In the spring, they were just building up the forms for the concrete roadway to go underneath the highway overpass, and link up the two segments of the trail.

Otherwise, one had to make a long trek along the access road to Starcrest Road, cross over and trek back to Tobin Park . . . or what most hikers and cyclists did, which was to pick a careful way down into what was essentially an open storm drain, cross underneath, and scramble up the other side. It was rather icky, picking a way through the trash and the mud and flotsam cast up underneath the overpass. Anyway – we were looking forward to the newly constructed, completely safe, legal and relatively clean passageway and we were not disappointed. It was open, in use, and there were two city workers, collecting up whatever had been washed down in the most recent rain. The far side was beautifully sloped, edged with limestone blocks, and landscaped. What is that strange, lush, green stuff covering the ground? I do believe it is new grass . . . which I have nearly forgotten about.

There were lots of cyclists – this must be one of the favorite venues; certainly one of the few where there is no danger of being walloped by a car or truck, unless you are not paying attention at those few places where it does cross a thoroughfare on the same level. There were some autumn leaves turning to gold, red and brown . . . although in a few cases we were worried that those leaves weren’t an autumn-brown, they were a pining-for-the-fjords, deader-than-doornail brown. So, that was my weekend – what was yours?

 

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