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Last year, Los Angeles police charged five people in connection with the shooting of Lady Gaga's dog walker and the kidnapping of her beloved French bulldogs, while out and about in L.A.
"This was a brazen street crime that left a man seriously wounded," LA County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. "We have alleged very serious charges in this case and have faith that justice will be appropriately served as this case unfolds in court."
Thankfully, the dogs were eventually returned. But the dog walker Ryan Fischer took a bullet trying to save his lady boss's pups.
Walking your dog can be a walk in the park if you happen to live in certain cities. In other cities, however, it can be a chore, an obstacle course, a workout, or downright dangerous.
To mark National Walk Your Dog Month, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities to Walk Your Dog.
LawnStarter compared over 170 of the biggest U.S. cities on walkability, pup-friendly trail access, dog walking services, and safety.
2022’s Best Cities to Walk Your Dog
1 Portland, OR
2 San Francisco, CA
3 Oakland, CA
4 Las Vegas, NV
5 Boise, ID
6 Los Angeles, CA
7 New York, NY
8 Washington, DC
9 Colorado Springs, CO
10 Jersey City, NJ
2022’s Worst Cities to Walk Your Dog
165 Tulsa, OK
166 Laredo, TX
167 Fayetteville, NC
168 Macon, GA
169 Montgomery, AL
170 Memphis, TN
171 Garland, TX
172 Port St. Lucie, FL
173 Wichita, KS
174 Jackson, MS
The Best and the Worst:
Best in Show: Seven of the top 10 cities are located in the West. Portland, Oregon, leads the pack, followed by other big Western cities like San Francisco (No. 2), Las Vegas, (No. 4), and Los Angeles (No. 6).
Offering easy access to dog parks, dog-friendly trails, and businesses, these metro hubs are designed for both two- and four-legged community members to get around on foot.
Back of the Pack: Nearly all of the cities at the bottom of our ranking are in the South. Jackson, Mississippi, finished last, while cities like Port St. Lucie, Florida (No. 172), Memphis, Tennessee (No. 170), and Montgomery, Alabama (No. 169), managed to pull ahead slightly.
These warmer cities simply aren’t built with our furry friends in mind — they’re neither the most walkable nor the most accessible to dogs. Safety First: Keeping both pup and self safe should always be a dog walker’s top priority. That’s easier to do in certain cities than in others.
You and Spot are likely to feel most at ease in cities like Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Frisco, Texas, which claimed the first three spots in Safety.
But take precautions if you live in such cities as Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tucson, Arizona, which landed at the bottom of this category.
And be especially vigilant if you own a high-value breed, as we learned in 2021, when Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot and her French bulldogs kidnapped. Leave It to the Pros: No time or energy to walk your dog? No problem if you live in cities where dog walking services are a dime a dozen.
Cities like Springfield, Missouri, and Clarksville, Tennessee, hit the sweet spot between abundant dog walkers and affordability. These cities came in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in Services.
Florida cities, such as Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale (our No. 2 Best City for Dog Lovers), also scored high in the Services category. They offer the best access to pros — but at steeper prices.
The full ranking and analysis can be found here.
Four-legged friends and their owners are invited to gather for fun, games, and competition at Dogtober Fest 2021, Sunday, October 17, at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center in Jackson County’s Fleming Park.
This is the 27th year for the popular annual event presented by Jackson County Parks + Rec. Admission is free with the donation of dog food to benefit the Lee’s Summit Animal Shelter and other small, local shelters and rescues participating in the event. Masks are encouraged at the outdoor event when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Dogtober Fest 2021 is full of FREE contests and games throughout the day, such as Bobbing for Biscuits, Musical Discs and Roll-Over Races. Don’t miss the beloved Halloween Costume Contest at 1 p.m., featuring three categories: Frightful, Delightful and another for groups with three or more dogs.
What: 27th Annual Dogtober Fest 2021
When: Sunday, October 17
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Kemper Outdoor Education Center
8201 Jasper Bell Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015
Cost: FREE with donation of dog food
Visitors can also participate in the favorite “Tails for Trails Dog-Walk for Parks,” a one-mile walk on the nature trail at Kemper Outdoor Education Center. Registration is $20 in advance or $25 at the registration booth. Participants will receive an event t-shirt and a goodie bag. There are also small entry fees for dog sport competitions, clinics, good canine citizen testing, and trick dog title evaluations.
Back by popular demand is the non-competitive Canine Adventure Challenge. This 20-plus course features obstacles designed to intrigue and build teamwork among dogs and owners. The Canine Adventure Challenge is an on-leash experience. All dogs are welcome to join, whether they have advanced training or no training at all!
Guests will enjoy a variety of new activities this year including:
- Teacup Agility Clinics and Teacup Agility Fun Runs that are specifically for dogs of smaller stature who are no more than 20" at the shoulders. The teacup agility obstacles are a scaled down version more appropriate for their size.
- A Nose Work Clinic that capitalizes on your dog’s natural ability to hunt for and locate high value food or toys.
- Nose Work Outdoor Search for those already proficient in K9 Nose Work who want to practice their skills.
- Trick Dog Title Evaluations for dogs that know a lot of tricks and what to earn a Trick Dog Title. We will be evaluating both AKC and ‘Do More with Your Dog’ Trick Dog Titles.
In addition to great activities, guests will enjoy exploring vendor booths featuring pet products, services, breed education and demonstrations for pet owners. Area animal shelters and rescue groups will also be on hand showcasing dogs available for adoption.
Workshop and activity registration is available online for $5 per event. The deadline for online registration is October 14th. Event-day registration is available on-site at a cost of $7 per event.
For a complete list of activities and event schedule, visit:
About Kemper Outdoor Education Center
The Kemper Outdoor Education Center is owned and operated by Jackson County Parks + Rec. Nestled in the Fleming Park Nature Preserve on the east side of Lake Jacomo, the Kemper Outdoor Education Center is a haven for nature lovers and educators. The grounds feature nature trails, butterfly and water gardens, wildlife viewing areas, an arboretum, a shelter house, large pond, and a day camp site.
Dogs are adorable creatures, and we all can agree to that! They make such loyal and lovely additions to our households. But did you know that this four-legged companion carries a distinct spiritual value according to different religions throughout human history? Bet you’ll be surprised to learn some belief systems even see dogs as gods!
If you want to know more about the varying spiritual values of these fluffy four-legged creatures, make sure to scroll further!
Dogs are associated with sacred roles in Ancient Egyptian religion. In fact, Ancient Egypt had a jackal-headed god named Anubis or Inpu, the lord of the underworld. Anubis was believed to be responsible for the preparation of souls and guiding them into the afterlife. The belief of having dogs as guardians into the next life isn’t exclusive to Ancient Egypt as other religions also believe in such.
Overall, dogs were highly regarded in this religion—they are creatures that should be treated respectfully even after death.
Dogs are highly valued, as they are mentioned in numerous Christian stories. For instance, a dog is mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, wherein this four-legged creature accompanied the journey of angel Raphael and Tobias, Tobit’s son.
In another story, Jesus proclaimed the miraculous story of Lazarus, whose sores were licked clean by dogs. The Catholic Church also recognizes Saint Roch as the patron saint of dogs.
The majority of Shi’a and Sunni Muslim jurists view dogs as unclean and scavengers, which is why most don’t keep dogs as pets except elites in Muslim countries who keep them as status symbols. However, the majority of Muslims are still open to touching and petting dogs unless they are wet. Touching dry dogs is believed to remove uncleanliness from them. And when they accidentally have contact with a wet dog, they must wash their hands seven times to get rid of the impurities.
Opinions about dogs under the Jewish tradition vary. However, in the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, dogs are associated with uncleanliness and violence. For instance, Deuteronomy 23:19 correlates dogs with prostitution, the Psalms discuss dogs as beasts that attack human beings, and the Book of Kings describes dogs who feed on dead bodies.
Additionally, the Jewish law claims that people should prioritize giving food to animals, including dogs, before feeding themselves.
Jewish tradition does not strictly prohibit keeping dogs as pets, but Talmud describes dogs as vicious animals that must be restrained in chains to prevent them from causing damage.
Dogs hold a prominent religious significance in Hinduism in India and Nepal. They are believed to be the messenger of Yama, the god of death. A dog (also called as Shvan) is also the vahana (or vehicle) of the Hindu god Bhairava. Dogs are believed to guard the gates of Hell and Heaven.
Moreover, Hindus even worship dogs as a part of the five-day Tihar festival that transpires every November. People worship their four-legged best friends—both strays and pets—garland them, shower them with flowers, and offer them delicious treats.
Every religion has its traditions and beliefs in regards to dogs. Some worship them, while some detest them. Nevertheless, as most religions believe, they are still creatures blessed with souls that need to be respected.
About the Author
Mike Powell is an animal advocate who believes in the right of animals to exist without the threats of abuse. He writes about his undying love for canines on Dog Embassy, a website that aims to provide information about dog nutrition, exercise, accessories, and more.
Our pets fulfill an astonishingly wide array of roles in our everyday lives, from companion to protector, and from best friend to child. They nurture our children and comfort us when we are sad. They know what’s best for us—sometimes we want to be alone even when it’s not good for us, but they won’t have it.
For members of the LGBT community, which has too often been deprived of family and community, our pets are often an even more important part of our coping with the world. We wouldn’t know what to do without them. This month’s edition is a celebration of that special relationship—our staff and our community shares insight into our lives with our pets. We weren’t able to print every photo submitted so please check online for even more!
This month’s cover model, Dane Young (photo above), had always had pets growing up—he just wasn’t looking to have one when he got Dante. “I’ve had him for almost five years, and he’s my first of my own. An ex-boyfriend of mine actually got him off Craigslist! He bought him because he was an animal groomer and needed a dog to practice on. Getting a dog wasn’t on my radar but it was a necessity.”
“He had said he was getting a second dog to practice on but he would be my dog. So when we broke up, he used that in his favor… When we broke up, I got dumped with both Dante and his dog. With my busy schedule and trying to take care of two dogs... Dante was a puppy, and it was rough. Once my ex took his dog, however, the messes stopped and all that, and so, when it was just Dante and I, it was great!
“I’m happy to have him… he’s smart, he’s loving… I got the good dog! One fun thing about Dante is that he knows the name of his toys, so any time I say Elmo, he will specifically go get that toy. He’s also got a definite personality. He pouts when I’m gone, he won’t come downstairs, he won’t socialize with people—he just lays upstairs in a basket of my clothes!”
SHARON & SARAH McCURRY
Sarah and I are strong supporters of animal rescue: we currently volunteer with Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. Between Sarah and I, we have five rescued dogs and two rescued cats. While it would have been wonderful for them all to participate and share in the wedding ceremony, we knew some of them would not have been comfortable. We chose Luke and Sylvia to be our "Best Man" and "Maid of Honor." While we did not have the support of most of my family—my Mother being the exception—we had the complete support and love of our four-legged family. They love us without judgment, just as we do them.
JESSE EHRENFELD & JUDD HARLY
Our rescue pooch Madison is very much a centerpiece in our life. Judd got her in New York two weeks after we met, and as our relationship grew and blossomed, Maddie was alongside of us the entire way … all the way to the altar.
Out & About Nashville staff pets:
These are our two precious guardian angels-in-fur, Annie and Jaque (the smaller white one, pronounced "Jack"). My partner, Crystal, and I rescued both of these babies from a local shelter and have gratefully had them by our sides for many years. Fourteen years ago, Annie fooled us both when we first came to look for a new pet at the shelter, as she stood, covered in poo and mud, serving nicely as a step stool for her sister. We both thought Annie was going to be timid and submissive based on this initial sight, but boy, were we wrong! She rules the roost around our house, dictating the moves of all other dogs and often us too. Since this picture and after 16 loyal years, Jaque has since gone on to join the great pets in the sky. That little guy left quite the impression on us, however, with all of his shenanigans. Given that he was all of about 16 pounds, Jaque was known to often outsmart other dogs. Once while at a friend's house with three larger dogs, one of the dogs had taken Jaque's rawhide bone away from him and was guarding it, not allowing Jaque to recover it. So, little trickster as he was, Jaque ran to the front of the house and began feverishly barking at the window. Just as soon as the other dogs rushed into the front room to aid in the alarm, Jaque calmly trotted down the hall to retrieve his bone, seemingly laughing at how easily he played the others. We sure miss him daily and hope he's surrounded by all the bones he cares for these days.
Peggy the Pug is part of the Jerry and Benjamin Camarena Jones household. She was a rescue pug and they adopted her in 2008 when she was less than a year old. She loves barking at other animals on TV.
Pitbulls hold a very special place in my heart. Unfortunately, this past February my partner and I had to put our beloved sixteen-year-old Rosie down. Rosie had cancer and it was very hard for us to make this decision. However, we felt it was selfish to keep her alive and in pain because we couldn’t let go. I do feel better though knowing that she lived a very happy life, filled with so much love. We gave her an amazing last day, filled with eating anything and everything she wanted, riding in the front seat of the car, and drinking out of the toilet bowl. She was a blessing in my life that I will never forget.
We now have a new blessing in our life. This April Chris and I went to the kennel and saved the newest member of the family, Lucy. She is almost two years old and is a beautiful red nose pit. Lucy was rescued during a meth lab bust. At not even two years old, the vet said she has had at least two litters of puppies without proper healing time. It’s astounding to me how harmful and cruel mankind can be. Having experiences only harm before coming to us, Lucy is still the most loving and sweet pit I have ever met. She is full of love and only wants to share and give it to everyone. I am never concerned about Lucy getting along with anyone or any other animal. She just wants to hug and kiss everyone!
Both my partner Cody and I have had many pets throughout life. I have had my dog Joan for over ten years, and we’ve adopted two dogs together. The first pup we adopted, Bandit, was with us only a little over half a year. Bandit had suffered severe abuse, losing an eye, before we found him in the shelter. He was barely responsive and just laid there. We brought him home, and we literally had to move him around the apartment. Eventually he came around and would follow us. His person was my son Jacob—the only one of us who could always get him to play. After the happy few months he spent with us, Bandit died suddenly of unknown causes, and our only consolation was that he ended his life happy.
A few months later Cody bamboozled me into adopting a dog, which the shelter (I suppose in an attempt to make him adoptable) had classified as a nearly-full-grown lab mix. In reality, Virgil was a pit-mix puppy who has quadrupled in size. He’s the sweetest dog in the world but lord knows he’s more than a handful.
I didn't care much for pets until my partner Derek and I moved in together. He had a cocker spaniel named Elliott, but who I called That Dog—a name I stole from a Kathy Griffin joke about Anna Nicole Smith and Little Richard. He died earlier this year, and we miss him.
Two years ago we rescued That Girl (the white one in the photo); she responds to both Coco, her adopted name, and also That Girl, because alongside That Dog it was the only name that made sense. And nearly six months ago we rescued Fozzie and (of course) I promptly renamed him My Litta' Boy. I rarely use his name--in a crunch, though, it must be said--because when I'm home he's at least in the room, but more likely he's resting against my foot or thigh or sitting right on my lap.