Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dogs at the Farmers' Market

A couple of months ago, I wrote on this blog about how I wished there were a way to take your dog to the grocery store and safely park the pooch somewhere while shopping.

It was just a pipe dream; I never thought it would be possible. Too many safety issues, too many problems. How to provide the dogs with shade and water? What do you about the dogs' inevitable need to pee or poop? How do you make sure no creep runs off with little Max or Lucky while you're thumping melons?

It was too much to hope for. Still, I wished it could happen, somehow, some day.

Well, this past Sunday, my dreams came true: At my local farmers' market, I met a lovely and enterprising young woman named Bethany. She has a local dog-walking and dog-sitting business, Petopia-LA Pet Sitting. She is licensed and bonded, a legitimate business woman and dog lover. (She has some lovely client reviews on Yelp, too.)

To gain new clients and to advertise her services, Bethany and her friend Donna offer free dog-sitting every Sunday at the market while folks for organic strawberries, tempeh, kettle corn, fresh flowers, arugula, or what have you. (The market management is on board with the entire arrangement.)

Here's Bethany. She and Won Ton hit it off, right away:

Can't you feel the love? Here's Donna. Won Ton is thrilled with her, too:

Happy boy!

Bethany has staked out a little triangle of lawn right next to the market. It's entirely in the shade, and there's a parking lot right behind the lawn if a "client" needs to take a short stroll and stretch his or her legs. There's a self-filling water bowl, and a portable, folding cage if your dog is better off in the pen. Bethany and Donna have folding chairs to sit upon (although they get down on the grass with the dogs a lot, too). And there's a small table with her business cards, fliers, and a little sign advertising her pet services:

Here, Won Ton demonstrates the portable pen:

He wasn't entirely thrilled about being behind bars:

The consummate gentleman, he much prefers to be out with the ladies.

Here's a dog's-eye-view of the market. The pen is just steps away from the stands, separated by a sidewalk. It is outside the official market area, so there are no health code violations to worry about:

A closeup of the goings-on:

So, now I can shop to my heart's content...

...and know that my dog is happy as a clam, hangin' out with Bethany:

and other cutie-pies like Sweetie:

and this little girl, a Sunday regular. I didn't totally catch her name, but it is something like "Dalai Lama":

What's not to love about that?

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