Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A walk by the bay

Just over the Golden Gate bridge, in Marin, is a lovely setting that we used to call Fort Baker. We took a walk down there last weekend and discovered that about a year ago, the decommissioned fort had been turned into a luxury hotel named Cavallo Point. We used to take the boys down there to the Discovery Museum, which is still vital. Now there is more to see than the hands-on children's museum. The fort's old parade grounds are soft and green with grass, and there is a nice restaurant and bar that we will visit someday soon. There's a spa and a beautiful grove of pines and gum trees. The view of the bridge is quite unusual from this side of things. Most tourists go over to the headlands side of the bridge, or look down at the bridge from the view lot positioned just above this fort. The views of the city can be great from here, depending on the fog, of course. We enjoyed a sunny day with minimal mist across the water.

You can take a hike under the bridge on a bike path and look straight up at the freeway's struts. This funky little building looks like something out of a fairy tale, but in reality held the circuit breakers for the nearby bridge workers' setup.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dogs unleashed

Our county seems to be full of people who are good with dogs. Everywhere, we meet dogs who were adopted from the humane society, have attended all the classes from "good puppy class" to "family dog two". The people know how to keep their dog close if an unfamiliar dog approaches, how to let the stranger dog sniff them first, and that it's best to ask first before dispensing treats to someone else's dog. The people all carry bags for the inevitable, and use them. There are strict leash laws in all the parks, and it's rare to see a dog who is unattended, romping free.

This leash law business has started to annoy me. Given all these well-behaved folks and their pets, why is it that the county and municipalities have gone the opposite direction? Instead of rewarding us for using positive reinforcement and special harnesses, the lawmakers have locked down even the least popular trails and parks. I suspect it has to do with the cost of insurance. One dog bite and the subsequent lawsuit could wipe out a park's slim budget.

In the media, we read about the huge numbers of dog owners who treat their pet like a child. The business of dog specialty food and accessories has exploded. I would like to see someone try to push back on all the laws against dog freedom. There should be laws protecting people from bad dogs, of course, and harsh penalties for those who let uncontrollable dogs do any damage. But let the good dogs be free!