You’ll Be Shocked — Shocked! — by KRON4’s Investigation of Precita Park

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KRON-4 reporter Stanley Roberts investigated Precita Park in Bernal Heights recently. His reporting yielded conclusive proof that there are many off-leash dogs in Precita Park (despite what the sign says), and that visitors to Precita Park should watch out for poop. Journalism!

For more detail, lets go to KRON’s exclusive report. Over to you in Precita Park, Stanley:

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Good Samaritans Seek Owner of Doggie Found in Precita Park

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Neighbor Rebekah is searching for the owner of this wayward doggie:

On the full-moon evening of Friday the 13th, a dog was found roaming Precita Park. She looks like a Manchester Terrier or Min-Pin and appears to be about 9-18 months old, approx 25 lbs. Sweet and very scared with no microchip or collar. For now she is being fostered by Precita Park’s dogwalker-whisperer, Luke. If anyone recognizes this cutie, could they call Animal Care and Control or (415) 518-3984?

If the owner is not located, the dog will likely become available for adoption.

Reminder: Keep Your Dog Safe In Seasonal Tall Grasses

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Earlier this week, Miss Esther shared a photo of her dog Gertie whooping it up on the seasonally tall grass on Bernal Hill. “Gertie loves being in the tall grass!” she said.

At this, you Bernalwood editor experienced a sudden pang of anxiety, even though I don’t own a dog. Looking back through the archives, we recalled that this time last year Neighbor Nicolette had warned Bernal dog-owners about the danger of foxtail grasses:

Foxtails are small plant awns or seed-bearing structures, usually of the genus Hordeum. Starting in the Spring and continuing through the Summer, plants shed them indiscriminately. We started to see a steady flow of foxtail cases in our veterinary practice mid-April, right after several days of heavy winds which helped yank the awns from their plants and spread them far and wide.

Foxtails are shaped like a badminton birdie, but with a pointy instead of a round end. They also have tiny barbs along their shafts. All this adds up to a unidirectional migration pattern; they go in but they don’t come out. The most common problems we see with foxtails are wounds in the paws. Often the owner will just notice a swelling between the toes and think it is a growth or a tumor. After piercing the skin and entering the body, foxtails can actually migrate up the leg, if left untreated. We also see foxtails in noses, ears, and eyes very often.

The most dangerous exposure occurs when dogs inhale them. This typically happens if a dog is porpoising through a field of foxtail plants and inhales one, mouth wide open.

Read the whole thing for further guidance, and consider this a reminder that ’tis the season to be careful.

PHOTO: Gertie in the grass, by Esther

Dog Poop Along St. Anthony’s Sidewalks Creates Unholy Mess

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Our venerable neighbors at St. Anthony’s Immaculate Conceptions School near Precita Park have recently done a lot to beautify the sidewalk gardens along Precita and Folsom, with much of the work performed by students who attend the school. The gardens look great, but the St. Anthony’s community has a request for local dog owners: Please control your pets and pick up their poop!

Geno Lucero, St. Anthony’s Class of 1963, writes:

I volunteer at a school by Precita Park (St.Anthony – Immaculate Conception), where my family has attended over the past 100 years. I teach a drumline class there. I also help with other needs & concerns for the school’s staff, teachers, and families, who form a wonderful community.

The gentleman who takes care of the sidewalk gardens on Folsom St. & Precita Ave. has been frustrated that dog owners in the neighborhood are using these tended planted areas as toilets for their pets. I understand it’s human nature to allow this when walking a dog, but would like to reach out to area dog owners / walkers to address this issue.

The gardener installed “No Dog Pooping” signs (and replacements when the originals were stolen) and built individual fences around each garden to protect them. But the problem continues, and it’s become a public health concern for the children at the school and in the neighborhood. This is to say nothing of the damage done by pets when they scrape the plants with their paws after taking care of business. The dog urine alone is killing off plants.

There are numerous instances of dog owners / walkers just tossing their bags of dog poop on the sidewalks around the school & neighborhood, too. It’s not easy to monitor, but if our good neighbors can be proactive stewards, the entire neighborhood benefits.

This school just celebrated its 120th anniversary and as an alumnus of 50 years, I care deeply about not just the school, but this wonderful neighborhood which it has served. Precita Park is another dog owners’ “paradise”, and it, too, is used in a similar capacity. Families & children should be concerned when public health is at stake. I have been a dog owner and love them, but my priorities now are with the health and welfare of those affected by some of the area’s dog owners.

Message received? This admonition holds true over every square inch of Bernal Heights, and (unfortunately) it always bears repeating: Dog owners, it is your responsibility to manage your pets in a neighborly manner, and always always always clean up after your canines. No exceptions. No excuses. Just do it.

PHOTO: Top, Poop flags on Cortland, February 2013. Below, St. Anthony’s sidewalk gardens on Precita, via Geno Lucero. 

Lost Dog Makes Neighbor Julie Grateful to Be in Bernal

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Neighbor Julie had a tough day on Thursday, but her story has a sweet ending:

I was walking with my little dog, Sherman F. Peabody, around 5:30 yesterday afternoon on Bernal Hill. Sherman usually sticks right with me, but he was playing with another dog, and when I looked back to find him he was gone. It turned out, he ran all the way to Martha & Bros. Coffee Roasters on Cortland. I was beside myself looking for him, when the nice folks at Martha’s called to let me know he was there. When I got to the coffee shop, he was cozied up under a table with some lovely people – they had seen him wandering and brought him inside. I was pretty agitated by the thought of him crossing all of those streets unattended and what might have been, and I’m not sure I thanked everyone properly when I got him. I am so grateful, and so is Sherman. This is the kind of neighborhood where people not only rescue your dog but give him lots of love.

PHOTO: Sherman F. Peabody, by Neighbor Julie

Attention Dog-Owners: How to Protect Your Pet from Foxtails

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Neighbor Nicolette Zarday is a Bernal west-sider and a veterinarian whose name is often followed by the letters DVM and MPH. (She practices at the Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos.) She brings a special caution for Bernal canines, and the humans who love them: Beware of foxtails!

If you own a dog, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. If you have a dog and you don’t know about foxtails, keep reading.

Foxtails are small plant awns or seed-bearing structures, usually of the genus Hordeum. Starting in the Spring and continuing through the Summer, plants shed them indiscriminately. We started to see a steady flow of foxtail cases in our veterinary practice mid-April, right after several days of heavy winds which helped yank the awns from their plants and spread them far and wide.

Foxtails are shaped like a badminton birdie, but with a pointy instead of a round end. They also have tiny barbs along their shafts. All this adds up to a unidirectional migration pattern; they go in but they don’t come out. The most common problems we see with foxtails are wounds in the paws. Often the owner will just notice a swelling between the toes and think it is a growth or a tumor. After piercing the skin and entering the body, foxtails can actually migrate up the leg, if left untreated. We also see foxtails in noses, ears, and eyes very often.

The most dangerous exposure occurs when dogs inhale them. This typically happens if a dog is porpoising through a field of foxtail plants and inhales one, mouth wide open. As the dog takes a deep breath, the foxtail bypasses all the normal barriers, so they can end up in the lower airways of the lungs. These can be difficult to find, require extensive and expensive treatment and surgery, and are often fatal. Other places foxtails have been found, in many cases post-mortem, include the brain, spinal cord, urinary tract, and abdomen.

Fortunately for dog owners, foxtails usually represent a minor health hazard, although the expense of having the foxtail removed by a veterinarian (usually under sedation or anesthesia) can be considerable. For us vets in northern California, foxtails are simultaneously the bane of our existence and a significant source of income during the spring and summer. I even heard about one veterinarian who owned a boat named “Foxtail.”

So, what can you do to protect your dog?

  • If it is a long-haired dog, keep the coat short during the Summer, especially the feet. There are groomers who will do a “foxtail cut” if requested.
  • After each walk, check your pet thoroughly and remove any plant material.
  • If your dog suddenly starts sneezing uncontrollably, squinting, or shaking its head during or immediately after a walk, there is an excellent chance a foxtail is involved. Call your veterinarian’s office.
  • Do not allow your dog to run through fields of tall grass that contain these plant awns. (This is what I worry about most.)
  • Check your backyard for plants that shed foxtails, and remove the plants completely.

There are plenty of these nasty little dudes on Bernal Hill, so keep an eye out!

PHOTOS: Tabletop samples, Nicole Zarday. Wild foxtail from UCSC

Handy Ball Exchange Brings Slobber-Covered Joy to Bernal Heights Canines

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For humans who need a solution for mismatched footwear, the Bernal Bubbles laundromat on Cortland hosts the ever-so useful Bernal Heights Sock Exchange. Now Neighbor Jonathon and Canine Jolene bring word that a similar program has been established for Bernal dogs that need a ball to fetch.

The Bernal Ball Exchange is located on Esmeralda at Lundys Lane, and Canine Jolene is very excited about it:

I am borrowing my Dad’s email account. I wanted to let my other furry friends know about the Bernal Ball Exchange. I have no idea which of my fellow Bernal beasts came up with the idea, but I love it, and I always return my ball. I attached a few pics my dad took of me – he’s a sucker.

Sincerely,

Jolene

PHOTOS: Neighbor Jonathon

Your Illustrated Fashion Guide for Spring 2013 Dog-Walking on Bernal Hill

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What are the “It Looks” to have while walking your dog in Bernal Heights this season? Neighborhood artist Laurie Wigham created this handy illustrated field guide to show what’s hot in canine-accompanied hill fashion for Spring 2013:

People walking their dogs on Bernal Hill in the late afternoon. When I started sketching it was warm enough that jackets were tied around waists, but then it turned cold and people wore the jackets. I had just listened to John Muir Laws talk about how to remember bird calls, so I tried to apply that to representing the way one man was whistling for his dog to come (“Fee-Fu” x 3).

Harried Pet Owner Cleans Dirty Dog At New “Precita Bark” Dog Spa

PrecitaBarkLorarover1Precita Bark, the new dog groomery on the eastern end of Precita Park (across from the playground) is now open for business. Neighbor Regina stopped in recently to get a treatment for her dog Rover, and she filed this report:

Precita Bark is now open, and Lora, the owner, has done a fabulous job creating a practical yet spa-like environment for dogs.

Rover, my black lab, turned 10 on Valentine’s Day, so I took him for a self-serve wash ($19 to $17, depending on dog size) at Precita Bark. This service includes a “spa bathing station” and shampoo of your choice (we picked Eucalyptus), a waterproof apron for the owner, absorbant towels, any brushes you need, and individual dryers. Best part is you don’t have to clean-up when you’re done!

Rover sheds like it’s his job, and I usually dread bath day in our home. Wet dog hair clings everywhere, even to walls where he smacks his tail. My newly crawling baby becomes an unfortunate Rover-hair Swiffer after his baths; her pink footed PJ’s are black fur magnets. Several towels are necessary and my washer and dryer become inundated with dog hair and smell. We all need a bath after Rover’s bath.

Precita Bark has done a fantastic job designing the space, and they really understand dogs. When we arrived, Lora carefully adjusted the water pressure and temperature for Rover so “he won’t be nervous,” and she had great washing tips for me.

Next to us, Rover’s new friend Shakes was getting a Full Service treatment by Lora, including a blowout ($40 for dogs under 40 lbs., $45 for over 40 lbs.). Shakes has a ton of hair and his owner, who lives on the South slope of Bernal, was probably thrilled it wasn’t blowing around their home.

Rover has never been cleaner, he LOVED his bath, and is favorite parts were the blueberry facial ($2) and the big fluffy towels at the end. I let him pick a toy on the way out; He chose a squeaky hedgehog (non-native to Bernal, I know, but they don’t sell squeaky gophers).

Glamour Bonus: On our way home, a stylish Italian woman standing outside St. Anthony’s chapel commented on how handsome Rover looked.

Precita Bark:
433 Precita Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 926-5277
Hours:
Mon-Fri 10 am – 7 pm
Sat-Sun 8 am – 6 pm

PHOTOS: Top, Lora from Precia Bark with Rover. Below, Neighbor Regina gives Rover the business.

New DIY Dog Wash Opening on Precita Park

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Thrilling news for dirty dogs — and the humans who love them anyway: Neighbor Gina reports from the east end of Precita Park, where a new dog washing business called (… wait for it…) Precita Bark is preparing to open:

Across from Precita Park Cafe, the empty space will become a self-service dog washing station. I met the owners on Saturday morning as they were emptying a Zipvan into the store. He was excited. When the daycare closed up, the couple negotiated a lease and hope to do a soft open by last week of December.

PHOTO: via Google Maps