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May 08, 2006

Carmel Has Gone to the Dogs

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California went to the dogs years ago, though I haven't yet discovered exactly when it happened or why.

What most folks call "Carmel" is officially "Carmel-by-the-Sea" and is distinct from Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley and other nearby Carmel-ish places named after the mission established in 1771. Carmel-by-the-Sea was an artist colony as long ago as 1913 when poet Robinson Jeffers settled there.

Carmel is at the southern edge of the Monterey Peninsula and adjoins ritzy, golf course strewn Pebble Beach, home of the famous Lone Cypress tree and the annual Concours d'Élégance classic automobile show.

Perhaps its best-known resident is actor Clint Eastwood, who served for a time as mayor. He owns the Mission Ranch resort which includes a nice restaurant where I sometimes dine.

Other Carmel area residents you might have heard of are Reggie Jackson the baseball player ("Mr. October") and actress-singer Doris Day.

Doris Day is a big-time animal lover. She is part-owner of Carmel's Cypress Inn hotel, which is big-time pet-friendly.

I visited the Cypress Inn once a couple of years ago. As you can see on its Web site, it's a charming-looking place. There are plenty of framed Doris Day movie posters and you probably won't have to wait long before spying an animal -- a dog, most likely.

Actually, when walking the art gallery infested streets of Carmel, you're seldom out of sight of a pooch. Or two. Or three or more. Many with the same owner; multiple leashes might well be a status symbol hereabouts. Dogs range from twitchy, tiny things to shaggy, white ones resembling small polar bears.

Here are some pictures I snapped on a recent visit. (Pardon the quality; it's my first digital camera and I'm still learning how to get pictures from the camera to the blog.)

Carmel-by-the-Sea Dog Gallery

Carmel pet goods store -cropped.jpg
The central sign is for a pet goods store.

Carmel - dog water bowl - blog - rot.jpg
Many stores offer water bowls for passing pooches.

Carmel - Tiffany dog water bowl -crop 2.jpg
Tiffany too!

Carmel - petting dogs -crop.jpg
Petting other folks' pets is a favorite sidewalk activity.

Carmel - dogs - crop.jpg
No comment.

Carmel has too many dogs for my taste and for the taste of The Fiancée as well: we often find ourselves making snide remarks about them and (especially) their owners.

No doubt this is because I'm not much of a dog fan. I like dogs in theory, mind you. They can be useful for tending sheep and calling out warnings when strangers approach. But I don't like them sticking their slobbery snouts on me. Nor do I have enough time to devote to their psychological needs to be a good owner. Cats are much less trouble, but I prefer being pet-free. (Yes, my family once had a pet dog when I was young: cats too.)

All-in-all, I think Carmel needs fewer dogs and more children.

I'm certain that all of you agree.



posted by Donald at May 8, 2006


I guess you could say they do it doggy style in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on May 9, 2006 7:51 PM

Having brought up 5 kids, I'd cast a tender vote for pooches.

Posted by: citrus on May 9, 2006 8:53 PM

Speaking as a cynical old former animal control officer, I'd say Carmel's high dog density and communal water bowls are a good setup for a dog plague. Distemper. Parvo-virus.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on May 9, 2006 11:24 PM

My aunt, Dorothy Kingsley, lived in Pebble Beach. She was a Hollywood screenwriter--things like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Kiss Me Kate, Pal Joey, a lot of Esther Williams movies. She seemed to enjoy it a lot, although she's been gone for a few years now. I dunno if she had any critters.

Posted by: winifer skattebol on May 10, 2006 12:09 AM

If you don't adore dogs, you are a sick bastard. I consider it a profound character flaw and a sign of low IQ.

Posted by: annette on May 10, 2006 9:40 AM

For Carmel to have fewer dogs would be a doggone shame.

Posted by: Rick Darby on May 10, 2006 9:53 AM

Charlton -- [Snigger]

Citrus -- I only had 2 kids.

Mary -- Hmm. The "Pinecone" (the local news rag) ought to get wind of this and do an expose. They could use a Pulitzer.

Winnifer -- Carmel is indeed very enjoyable, aside from having way too many dogs.

Annette -- Okay, I'll concede the low IQ and bastard bits. But I'm a real, unflawed character.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on May 10, 2006 10:29 AM

We like all the dogs here in Carmel. It keeps our costs low.

Shanghai Gardens Restaurant

Posted by: Peter on May 10, 2006 11:18 AM

Having just passed through Carmel the other day, on my way to my honeymoon at Big Sur, I have to say that I didn't notice any dogs at all. We ate at Clint's other place (Hogsbreath Inn), which is very nice, and strolled around for a bit. Dogs or no, nobody does its particular type of charm/cuteness better than Carmel. For me, it's good in relatively small doses.

Posted by: missgrundy on May 11, 2006 11:22 AM

Honeymoon? Congrats!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 11, 2006 11:39 AM

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