Cycling / Food

Spa Pampering in a Dog’s Life: Bakeries, Bike Trailers and More

Happy dog in its bike trailer at a cycling event. Vancouver BC 2010.

Happy dog in its bike trailer at a cycling event. Vancouver BC 2010.

In the past few decades, a mini boom of small businesses has sprung up to serve dogs and their dog lover-owners.  At least in some major cities.

Bakeries for Dogs
I got whiff of the dog bakery business over 15 years ago, when I cycled past a new shop in Toronto’s Beaches area, a gentrified laid back small commercial and residential area with lovely trees and older homes, along Toronto’s East waterfront.  Upon closer inspection, I realized all the goodies were for dogs. And no mixing with delectables for their owners.

There must be a bakery that offers side-by-side doggie dessert snacks alongside with cookies and cakes for people.

Bakery for dogs. Calgary Farmers' Market 2012.

Bakery for dogs. Calgary Farmers’ Market 2012.

Growing Up in a Non-Pet Household
I grew up in a non-pet household in a poor family with 6 children crowded in a 3  bedroom old house that stretched for 8 people.  Apparently my father had a dog for short time when he grew up in China. Thereafter it was survival during the Chinese-Japanese war and the Communist takeover that changed everyone lives.

In fact, at the height of the Cultural Revolution during Mao’s time, owning a dog was seen as bourgeois –in face of massive starvation (and it really was) at different times in Communist political fervor and history. This was long after my parents came to Canada.  Disapproval of dogs in China during that time, must be viewed against a backdrop of anti-imperialist campaigns, torture and unlawful arrest of innocent people.  Dog lives seemed quite pale when family members disappeared or were brainwashed against their will.  However now, with China’s growing middle class, the number of dogs as pets, in China is on the rise again.

Faithfully waiting 2012. Photo by J. Chong

Faithfully waiting 2012. Photo by J. Chong

My mother was remotely uncomfortable with dogs and most likely that fear transferred to some of us.  I used to have mini nightmares as a child, involving a dog. Those sweat induced dreams, must have been partially fuelled by a neighbour’s dog.  Corky was a fierce, untrained German shepherd that was kept chained in their fenced backyard.  We never saw Corky walked around by his owners in the neighbourhood.  Same for his house companion, a caramel-coloured, dozy cocker spaniel that got fat since it seemed to lie around on the porch all the time.  We would snicker about fat Taffy dragging its butt, but really again, a result of owner neglect.

Biscotti and cookies for dogs 2012.

Biscotti and cookies for dogs 2012.

Admittedly I’m not totally comfortable as an oncoming cyclist to see another cyclist on their bike with a dog running along on leash.  It must be a well-trained dog to trot along side for the cyclist to toodle along.  Or a better idea for long distances that might tire a dog and if the cyclist is a strong distance rider, to plop the dog in a basket or bike trailer for a bike ride.

Guarding Baby from Danger 
As the home guardian, I have  heard of two stories  from people I personally know, whose dog was a convenient deterrent to home invader and thief.  Jack also remembers when his crawling baby brother was protected by the family dog from a snake.  By standing directly over the baby, the dog instinctively nudged the baby gently with its four legs and body to stop and redirect the crawling baby away from the snake.

Out for spin with running dog along Seawall bike path. Stanley Park, Vancouver BC 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Out for spin with running dog along Seawall bike path. Stanley Park, Vancouver BC 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

After such heart-stopping incidents, the family protector needs royal treatment –more than just a baked doggie cookie.

I am not sure about other municipalities, especially outside of North America, but Vancouver does have its contingent of vocal dog owners who make sure there are dog leash-free park areas  –a  great idea to deal with higher density neighbourhoods with many resident dog owners and busy bike-pedestrian paths.

As a cyclist, occasionally I do see the regular dog walker here and there –that is, paid dog walkers.  Usually the obvious sign is the dog walker has 4-8 dogs of different breeds and sizes,  linked by a master triaging dog leash.  One finds them

Dog leash-free park sign just under signs for bike-pedestrian route. Dog leash-free park is by the multi-use path. Park is designated to allow dogs to run around without iconflicting with bike-walking traffic nearby.

Dog leash-free park sign just under signs for bike-pedestrian route. Dog leash-free park is by the multi-use path. Park is designated to allow dogs to run around without iconflicting with bike-walking traffic nearby.

more often on car-free paths or several times, sharing the elevator going down for some fresh air.   It’s a mad, dog tail -scramble to spring outdoors by then!

About these ads

16 thoughts on “Spa Pampering in a Dog’s Life: Bakeries, Bike Trailers and More

  1. I have a little doggie! Her name is Sunshine – we call her Sunny! She was my walking companion when I first started out. She can walk up to a mile and a half, but I finally reached the 2 mile mark, so I’m leaving her at home for more casual walks….she’s a little Yorkie and is – truly – a ray of sunshine in our lives!

    • She gets a real workout with her tiny steps to stay in pace with taller folks! If she were put into a bike basket she might freak out initially but might enjoy it. ;)

  2. My mom was anti-pets and still is. I remember my dad brought home a stray cat and she kicked it out the door. I felt so sad seeing the cat scamper off. The only pets I’ve had are birds and fish.

    • Wow, it must have been more than just the cat itself or any other pet. Maybe what your father did really annoyed her. We tried having goldfish as kids. But they died. I also found a salamander which only survived for less than 2 weeks at home even though I tried create a home of moss, rocks, some water. I was only 12 years old or so. In other countries, where pet dogs are more “rare”, there maybe feral dogs wandering around which justifably the locals have reason to fear because of rabies, etc.

  3. Hola Jean!

    I have nominated you for a SUNSHINE BLOGGERS AWARD!

    THE DEETS: Post the .jpg of the award in a post or somewhere on your blog; mention the person(s) who nominated you; answer the following questions; nominate up to 12 other bloggers and let them know they’ve been nominated!

    Favorite Color:
    Favorite Animal:
    Favorite Number:
    Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink:
    Facebook or Twitter:
    My Passion:
    Getting or Giving Presents:
    Favorite Pattern:
    Favorite Day of the Week:
    Favorite Flower:

    • Thanks for this award nomination, Bluebird. I can barely catch up with blog stuff and comments. But will look to the instructions and ponder about awards, blogs and life. I’ve always enjoyed your energetic posts that grace blogosphere like Christmas lights –year-round!

  4. I grew up with no pets and we have no pet now too, and I know I am missing something wonderful. I have heard of a lot of dog-goodness stories and this story about Jack’s dog protecting his little brother is truly remarkable and memorable.

  5. On the surface, my mum appeared to be uncomfortable about dogs too. But somehow we managed to convince her to have 2 in our household (during very separate times in our lives, once in Indonesia and once here in Australia). Both dogs (Brownie and Samson) pulled on her heart strings and she ended up loving them both.
    I can’t wait till we find a bigger place where we can have a dog. The twins love dogs now. So, I’m pretty sure they’re going to love having one for a pet.

    • Dog lovers tell me that owning a dog teaches kids about boundaries and responsiblity of looking after a “family member”. Children learn how treat a dog well which can extend to people. I’m you will find a tail-wagging happy dog soon for the twins.

  6. Hi Jean,

    There were no dogs in my home when I grew up, although my mom often reminisced about a collie she had when she was a teen. I’m afraid of dogs even when they are obvious about wanting to play. I’m not sure why. My wife and daughters love cats, so we have three of them. Since I’m not a big cat lover either, we just sort of co-exist.

    I know a lot of people who are very fond of their pets – comparing them to people a lot of the time. It’s difficult for me to understand that kind of connection with an animal, but the owners and their pets seem to understand each other.

    I’d like to learn more of your family’s history in China. Perhaps you’ve written about it already. I’ll take a look around.


    • Well by now, you’re probably more attuned at least to cat behaviour. Most likely other family members enjoy looking after them. I haven’t written much about family history/background in China. We simply don’t know much. But there are / will be snippets over time.

      I appreciate that some people find their pets equal if not even better than some of their family members. It’s abit sad if it’s the latter. However if a trained, happy dog helps a person be caring and nurturing then that’s a good thing.

  7. What a timely post for me. I did not grow up with dogs or cats, but had a few parakeets, goldfish, and a gerbil which came to an untimely end. My kids would love to have a dog, but I don’t know if I’m comfortable with that yet.

    • Perhaps one would need a friend woho already had a trained dog to give your family guidance. From what I have observed there is more care because the dog is simply not always “caged”/confined in the same way as much smaller pets. There would a learning curve (I know for myself) at the beginning, to understand doggie behaviour. :)

  8. Thank you for interesting post, Jean. Actually, your remark about discovering pet bakeries years ago reminded me of my mother who banned me to go to the first one that was opened in the town where I grew up – just because as a kid I was able to spend all my pocket money for the stuff sold there! And she considered it as silly idea to buy treats for dog. Yeah, those times were like that. Funny memories these days. She came to visit me recently to Toronto, where I live now, and I was proud to show her where me and my doggie spend some time, either it is Kennel Café, Cosmopawlitan boutique, or Big Dog Bakery (with the most awesome dog food ever) – all of them proclaimed as best pet stores in whole Toronto. Well, my mum just shrugged her shoulders…

    • Nothing wrong with teaching a child to balance their spending, by not spending all their money exclusively on one thing! I guess the message was maybe don’t expect parents to help you out financially if alot of your own money is spent on a pet that is yours and your responsibility, etc.

I welcome your thoughts on this blog post:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s