I Left My Leash in San Francisco

In the 25+ years I've lived in the Bay area, I had never once spent a single night in San Francisco. Travesty! So this year for the holidays, with my mom and sister coming for a visit, we all decided to rent a house for 3 nights in the city. I wanted to do touristy things that I had never taken the time to do and which weren't convenient to do with an hour's drive in the way.

Good idea? Well, it might have been if it hadn't rained constantly for the first 3 days of our 4-day stay. It wasn't just a mild drizzle either--often, it came down in sheets. Also, my poor mom got the flu and spent almost the entire time in bed.

To my utter disappointment, our 4-bedroom house was not nearly as luxurious as it looked in the photos. Grrrrrrr. Its saving grace was the location, just half a block from the panhandle of Golden Gate Park. And the best thing about the house was that they allowed us to bring Cabana!

Even with the rain, I was determined to get my money's worth, and I took Cabana to the Park several times a day. Because it was raining so hard, though, I wasn't able to take my camera with me, until the last day, when it finally stopped raining.

There were stalwart runners and dog walkers at all times in the park. Living in the city, people know that exercise, especially for their dogs, is not negotiable. But Golden Gate Park is a HUGE place, and there were many times when no one else was in sight, making me feel that we had the Park to ourselves.

I really enjoyed exploring the Park everyday, going in different directions, finding beauty in each new spot. Some mornings, Cabana and I walked for 2 hours, meandering about, finding ourselves in the Haight-Ashbury district, and navigating our way back to our rental (a subtly disguised way of saying I got lost a time or two).

Here's Cabana in front of the Conservatory of Flowers. In some of the photos below, Cabana is off-leash, but I want to make it clear that I walked her on-leash. However, for the sake of good photo opportunities, when no one else was around, I would sometimes have Cabana "stay" while I walked away from her to take a picture.

Cabana is GREAT at "stay", and how else would I be able to get a shot like this?

Here we are on the beautiful grounds between the DeYoung Museum and California Academy of Science. There were several groups of people doing tai chi, even in the rain! If I lived in the city, I'd do tai chi there, too, even though I've never done tai chi in my life.

Here, life imitates art.

These two sphinx statues reminded me of Cabana, so I asked her to "down" in between them. It was a photo op I couldn't pass up.

There were reindeer outside of the California Academy of Science. I'm guessing they were there for Christmas, but maybe they have them year-round? I don't know. Surprisingly, Cabana couldn't have cared less about them.

We met many dogs on our walks, all of them very nice and well-behaved. I suppose city dogs have to be, living in such close quarters with millions of people and other dogs. These Westies are on leash, but I was astounded by the number of dogs being walked off-leash throughout the city. Even near streets with heavy traffic, by stores with throngs of people, and throughout Golden Gate Park. There are a few designated dog run areas scattered through the Park, but they were empty of dogs. It was like people with dogs purposefully avoid those areas, preferring to let their dogs be off-leash pellmell instead. The weirdest thing is that they have one large field that is designated a dog play area, but with big signs that say dogs must be ON-leash to play there. What an oxymoron! Of course, no one actually had their dogs on-leash there, which is no surprise since hardly any dogs were on-leash anywhere in the Park.

A few times, I succumbed to breaking the rules and let Cabana play off-leash for a minute or two before leashing her and continuing on our way. Can you blame me? I'm a self-righteous law breaker, try as I might to not be either.

As they say, when in Rome....Strangely, though, no matter where I was in the Park, I saw park rangers go by at least every 10-15 minutes. Maybe they don't enforce the leash laws, though. Or maybe people get tickets and don't care? It's a matter that must be investigated more thoroughly, on my next stay in SF!

Min  – (December 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM)  

Your post makes me miss our time in SF this time last year! I think those reindeer are a holiday thing because we saw them last year as well. Sorry to hear that the weather wasn't cooperating for you and your family. I'm sure Cabana didn't mind at all though!

Becky  – (January 2, 2013 at 6:31 AM)  

Gosh so sorry about the weather and sickness ... so hard! Sounds like an amazing location and glad you had fun inspite ... Happy New Year!

My Two Pitties  – (January 6, 2013 at 2:31 PM)  

We live near SF too! Though, the only place I take my dogs there is Chrissy Field because it is so beautiful and the dogs are actually allowed off leash there:D

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