Category Archive for: ‘Woody Weingarten’

Purebreds or rescues? Dog-lovers discuss dilemma

San Anselmo Avenue isn’t exactly a dog park where leash-less canines can run wild.

It’s a small-town promenade where genteel, elegantly groomed dogs prance in front of boutiques and fine restaurants with their genteel, elegantly groomed handlers.

And woof-woof freely.

I know, not because either my rescue mutt or I fit those parameters.

Neither of us is truly genteel.

But we do routinely mingle with upper-crusters there, as well as reg’lar folks, because it’s our favorite pooch walkway — because it’s but a Frisbee’s throw from my hilltop San Anselmo homestead.

In what becomes a somewhat futile attempt to satisfy my somewhat insatiable hunger for information, I randomly stop dog-walking strollers one Saturday and extract somewhat nosy data about their pets and their breeding (the dogs, that is, not the owners).

The answers provide no pattern.

But don’t hound me about that — especially since the interviews resulted in this column.

Staysea Colteaux in her Dogville store in San Anselmo — with Zeus. Photo by Woody Weingarten.

Staysea Colteaux in her Dogville store in San Anselmo — with Zeus. Photo by Woody Weingarten.

Staysea Colteaux, owner of Dogville, a pooch-supplies shop downtown, cohabits with Zeus, a pedigreed Great Dane she “re-homed” not long ago from a woman who couldn’t handle him.

Zeus inhales six cups of dog food daily, and zips through a full chicken every two days.

Staysea’s had Danes before, and swears it’s her “favorite dog breed. I like their temperament, their size, their bigness, their goofiness.”

But just for contrast, I suppose, she also owns three miniature Dachshunds.

Erin Carson of Corte Madera, meanwhile, adores Lolli, a year-old female rescue with three legs.

Her daughter — who’s fostered 10 pooches from the Milo Foundation in San Rafael — “wanted a three-legged dog because she has an affinity for underdogs,” Erin tells me. “We think she’s a Cockapoo.”

They got her as a pup “from a pit bull rescue outfit in Vacaville.”

I share Erin’s love of damaged animals.

A three-legged doe periodically lives beneath our deck. I’ve named her “Tripod.”

I used to feel sorry for the deer, but that dissipated as soon as she learned to run “like the wind” when threatened, despite her absent appendage.

Milo, incidentally, is where my granddaughter’s mom likes to donate almost-new pet paraphernalia.

But that can be risky.

The last time she dropped off some stuff, she cell-phoned to say she was in deep doggy doo-doo — because she’d “accidentally fallen in love.” Lola, an ultra-cute mixed breed she was compelled to rescue, now cuddles with her and several other rescue critters in Novato.

Julie Murphy of Sausalito tells me a similar tale about Daisy, her five-year-old Dachshund-Shepherd mix: “I picked her out at Milo. She snuggled and that was it.”

Milo might have been my go-to place, too, but when our Golden died, my wife and I attended an adopt-athon at the Marin Civic Center.

We knew what we wanted — a hypoallergenic, tranquil female that wouldn’t shed on my blue sofas.

Yet we returned home with a male mongrel rescue whose leg lifted like a perpetual motion machine, who barked unapologetically at every skateboard and vacuum cleaner, and who shed short white hairs on everything in and out of sight.

Naturally, we named him Kismet — destiny, fate, meant to be.

Anya Schandler of Fairfax and her rescue dogs, Prim and Puddle. Photo by Woody Weingarten.

Anya Schandler of Fairfax and her rescue dogs, Prim and Puddle. Photo by Woody Weingarten.

Anya Schandler of Fairfax prefers twosomes. She believes dogs need companionship.

Her latest? Puddle, 3, and Prim, 3-1/2, both mixed breeds.

Both rescues.

“At another time in my life I sought out dogs with pedigrees, because it was the prevalent attitude,” she admits, “but then I grew into a person who understands there are too many dogs in the world that need good homes.”

Cici Butterworth of San Rafael might demur.

So might Mario, the 2-1/2-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog she bought from a breeder.

“He’s our third,” she tells me. “Very calm, sweet, a good family dog. Just large enough and not too much.”

She pauses, then adds:

“Seems to fit the Marin County mold where there’s an elevated status and dogs get $80 baths.”

Dennis Henmi of Kentfield has a purebred, too — Lucy, a 12-year-old West Highland Terrier. He adopted her four years ago “from a friend…who got the dog through a divorce but didn’t want it cooped up in an apartment.”

Pedigree. Rescue. Dilemma?

Clearly, as a “Punch” cartoon affirmed in 1846, “you pays your money and you takes your choice.”

But then, I agree as well with John-Paul Sartre: “We are our choices.”

Contact Woody Weingarten at or at

Page 1 of 7712345»102030...Last »