Category Archives: dog travel

The Promised Land on a Horse with No Name

500 women over the age of 50 on the monterey bay peninsula are experiencing what I have as well as people across the country have been writing to me telling me their stories. Cici and I are overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who have sent me kind words, donations and offers to help us.  A special thank you to Melody and Diane, two inspiring women who gave us hope and friendship on the road.


Thank you to Eleanor at Vox and Karen Turner for their kindness and assistance with this article.


We have been featured on some pretty high profile pages, see below.








We also love what our friend Wanda Sue wrote about us in this week’s Cedar Street Times:


Monterey Workshop addresses Affordable Housing Solutions

Ask yourself: Now what was that all about?

Reducing a speech, lecture, or event into a one-line summary isn’t easy, but you’ll be surprised what you discover by condensing a major phenomenon into ten words or less.

If interested, try this: Focus on one specific event, such as the first Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last Monday. Then ask: What was that all about?

When I did the exercise, fifteen hours of contemplation resulted in extracting a comment Hillary made at the opening of the debate. Paraphrased, the most-important message I culled from event was:

One out of two Americans lives paycheck to paycheck

Never mind the fact neither candidate mentioned the H word. Hillary’s statement implied poverty is already a national epidemic. Mass homelessness proportional to disenfranchised Americans of the  Great Depression years seems imminent, even in a paradise like Monterey..

That not-too-distant future is now for CeliaSue Hecht, about whom you’ve read in this newspaper.

The former journalist who’s now homeless lives a nomadic life which is currently reminiscent of Biblical times.

Monterey’s rider on a horse with no name

CeliaSue is a stalwart symbol of bright, sober and mature homeless women with both courage and talent. She is a well-bred middle-class, college-educated former New Yorker, age 66, whom homelessness turned into a living example of the legendary person crossing the desert on a horse with no name. The steed in her case is a dusty white van shared with her dog Cici. It serves as the office from which she freelances as a writer and blogger.

During the six-months in which the City of Monterey was researching the feasibility of adopting five amendments to its Housing Element, each of which might hopefully ameliorate the affordable housing crisis in the city, CeliaSue Hecht went south to avoid becoming a starfish on another cold winter beach in Monterey.

Hoping to find a cozy room at an inn, she found instead, what I would succinctly define as a temporary oasis in The Promised Land for the Homeless, otherwise known as the desert near Giant Rock Airport.


The Promised Land for the Homeless?

CeliaSue has been sleeping in a trailer on a campsite where she helps tend a herd of thirty-plus goats. There is no running water or electricity, but a perk in this region noted for flying saucer sightings is an occasional anomaly above the yucca trees that could be a fortuitous sign or even revelation of future things to come.

Look at the photo and ask yourself: What is this streak all about?  Then try to define it in ten words or less.

As a  help, you might remember the most-beloved Bible story of them all, in which a bright star appears over the manger in which an infant sleeps while shepherds tend their flocks by night.

When I asked myself what this is all about, the answer was: History repeats itself.

If this goat could talk, it might reveal where the homeless go from here by baa-baa-baa-ing, “There’s lots of  land in the Great American Southwest!




if you live on the Central Coast of California or know someone who does and have an RV, camper, mobile home or trailer that is gently used and would like to provide a home for a senior or veteran, please call CeliaSue at 702-225-8206…have a list of those in need of housing. You can also contribute here:


Filed under Adventure, affordable housing, all you need is a dog, California, Dalmatian, dog friendly, dog travel, dogs, Don't worry be happy, donations, farm animals, goat, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Palm Springs, travel with dog, women with dogs

Wonder woofers

This column article is in the Cedar Street Times this Friday… thanks to Wanda Sue Parrott

see cici on page 14, article about wonder woofers
photo by Mark Anderson, Monterey County Weekly

Wonder woofers and owners who won’t live without them

“Housing First!” If you were a homeless woman, or on the verge, housing would be your top priority.

Alas, affordable housing is so lacking in Monterey County, that “housing first” is the slogan all agencies, both public and private, use in dealing with affordable housing across the board.  (Note: Cici and I wish this were true)

A special category of need exists that involves homeless women with pets, a few being cats and the majority dogs. The exact number of Monterey’s homeless pet owners is unknown.

Overnight dog housing needed

Landlords don’t want pets and agency-housing doesn’t usually allow them.

Homeless women don’t want to give up their dogs, so they sleep in their cars or on the street to be with their animals.

One reason for temporary suspension of the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program for Women (I-HELP) was the fact female guests weren’t willing to give up their canine  companions in exchange for food, personal amenities and shelter.

Suggestions have been made that an I-HELP for Pets program be devised through which pets can be sheltered at a designated location, then reunited with their owners during the daytime hours.

Between 400 and 500 homeless women were estimated to live on the Monterey Peninsula before the Soberanes Fire dislocated residents who were burned out over the past three weeks. Of this number, an unknown percentage includes pet owners who consider their four-legged friends as more than just canines. They’re their Wonder Woofers.

A few words about Wonder Woofers

Cici is a poster-dog for this column. She’s a loving Dalmatian-Pit Bull mix seen here celebrating her 10th birthday last month. Cici is a Wonder Woofer. Along with her Wonder Worker owner, Cici is homeless.




Since Cici can’t define Wonder Woofer, I’ll try.

A Wonder Woofer is a warm-blooded furry friend who speaks from the heart in arfs, ruffs and woofs we humans call barks. A Wonder Woofer is on the job 24/7, never complaining.

A Wonder Woofer likes to snuggle and wiggle and lick, as well as serenade his or her human with  love songs sung unconditionally through squeals, whimpers, whines and hums.

A Wonder Woofer’s vocal range is extensive, also being capable of issuing protective warnings by yipping, growling and snarling if danger exists.

CeliaSue Hecht, Cici’s loving owner, is a former journalist who’s so devoted to her pet that she defines herself as a “dog traveler.”

Unlike many homeless women who don’t know where to turn or how to get started to solve the housing crisis, CeliaSue is a 66-year-old articulate activist. Despite having survived breast cancer and being in need of medical care and housing, CeliaSue is seeking solutions to the housing crisis. A current example is this ad in Craigslist:

RVs for Seniors with Dogs





If you live on the Central Coast of California and have an RV, camper, or trailer or know someone that does and would like to provide a home for a senior or veteran, please call CeliaSue at 702-225-8206…we have a list of those in need of housing.

Hundreds of senior women have been displaced with their pets. Single women without children, women who are not mentally ill, not drug addicts, not alcoholics, with low income, not working or cannot find work, veterans, and other seniors with dogs, over 50 years of age, some ill and whose health has deteriorated without shelter. 

Thank you for your kindness.


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Filed under affordable housing, big dogs welcome, California, Carmel, dog travel, dogs, donations, four paws up, K9 travel, keep pets safe, Monterey, news, pet press, pet travel, Uncategorized

Lucky 13 California beaches

Sun, surf and sand with your dog

We’ll have fun fun fun with our furry friends begging for a vacation at the beach. Your favorite canine will love going surfing, swimming, fetching, sniffing, sunning and digging in the sand at all of these dog-friendly beaches.

1. Newport Beach

Miles of surfer and puppy friendly sand! What furshionista would not want to walk on a leash on this expansive sandy beach, surrounded by millionaire homes? Cici thinks it is a great place to sunbathe, relax and dream. And after hours, have a bonfire with your best friend, listening to the waves crashing and munch on s’mores while telling woof woof stories.

2. Torrance Beach 

Rat Beach is a little known beach near Redondo Beach in Palos Verdes Estates. Doggies can run off leash on soft sand for a mile and a half.


3.   Huntington Beach

Pooches can catch a wave, shoot a curl, hang four paws and practice their best moves at doggie surf camp for Surf City’s annual Surf Dog event. Three days of doggone fun for everyone.

4. Laguna Beach

Romping and rolling on leash is allowed during the non-tourist season from September to June and before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. during the rest of the year. But there are still fun shops, art to paw at, doggie parks to chase other dogs in, music and dance festivals and skateboarding for pooches with imagination and energy to spare.

5. Carmel

Soak up the sun and surf at one of the dog-friendliest beaches on the planet. Canines run wild and free (one of the few leash-free beaches in California) along the sand for miles. Fodor’s and others have named Carmel the pet friendliest city in the USA for good reason. Otherwise known as doggie heaven. White sand, blue skies and waves, who could woof for anything more?

6. Pebble Beach

After enjoying the surf and sand, canines in the know and their hoomans can watch the sunset, listen to bagpipes, and eat tasty gourmet treats on the patio fire pit area of the Inn at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach.

7. Pacific Grove

Asilomar Coastal Trail is where friendly furry four-leggeds sniff and explore, along Sunset Drive. There is a wooden boardwalk and bridge and lots of off leash fun to be had at Spanish Bay Beach, right after the State Beach.

8. Mendocino

Speaking of dog friendly coastal paradises, where else but Mendo can a dog do everything (and more) of what a dog’s gotta do? Van Damme State Beach and Noyo Beach are the hippiest and happiest places for pooches. Where else on earth can canines paddle a canoe, go kayaking, tiptoe through the tulips for free at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, get a few licks of an ice cream cone (also free), go shopping, dining and camping, all within a few miles?

9. San Diego

Dog beach baby is where the nouveau ripe and famous go for a little R&R (rough and rambunctious), zoomies. This is the best melting spot for hot dogs of all sizes, shapes, colors, and breeds.

10. Morro Bay

North of the Rock, at North Point Beach, canines can frolic off leash on a two-mile stretch of sand. At the Morro Bay Visitors Center (which keeps changing location), Cici had a selfie taken with a surf board.

Beach baby bungalows

11. Pismo Beach

Four paws in the sand. Do not wish to work on your tan or hate the feel of the pebbles beneath your paws? Take your hooman out for a sunset stroll along the pier. Roam the bluffs above Shell Beach at Dinosaur Caves Park.

12. Bodega Bay

Schoolhouse Beach, Goat Rock Beach and the other state beaches are a dog’s best bet for sun and surf. Some of the campgrounds are dog friendly and others are not. The freshest fish and chips on the planet can be had at the Boat House where furry pals can party on the patio.

 13. Dillon Beach

Marin county’s off leash private beach allows hoomans to call their dogs who play nice and friendly with others from the tide line to the water.

 Dillon Beach Resort – Beach

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Filed under Adventure, Bay area, beach, beach parties for dogs, Carmel, dog travel, dogs, four paws up, pet travel, Uncategorized

Xmas 2015 gift guide

Well, this year has been the year that we will be glad when it is done and it is over, my year started off with breast cancer, then progressed to blood clots on lungs, bashing my head which led to a concussion, a dear friend of 40 years in hospital (serious operation), several friends dead, no home for me and cici to live in. I have been getting sicker and sicker and sicker and on and on and on and on, that has been my year…


so pardon me, if I am not exactly filled with a lot of holiday cheer…


Here are some great gifts for the pooches and pooch owners:


Eco Dog care

Love the fragrance (all natural essential oil ingredients), even washed my own bad self and hair with it and my hair was all soft and good. Cici does not like bathing so the goodness of this shampoo and wash was wasted on her dog self.






The Total Dog Manual: Meet, Train and Care for Your New Best Friend by David Meyer, president and cofounder of, the world’s largest nonprofit homeless pet adoption website.

If you have a dog, know a dog, want a dog, you have got to get this doggie manual. It is the how-to of canines. (Do doggies come with instructions? Now they do !)  It is very easy to navigate and fun to read.


From understanding a dog’s anatomy and those deep-down doggie instincts to training methods and grooming tips, all the information you need to understand your dog is now at your fingertips. Broken up into three sections–behavior, training and care–and easily organized from puppy-hood to old age, you will learn tips on curbing bad habits, teaching basic commands, vacationing with your dog, communicating effectively and much, much more. The Total Dog Manual’s easy to follow format and step-by-step training methods makes this your foolproof guide to dog care.


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Kinn Kleanbowl–a stainless steel frame which fits over compostable refill bowls. Included was the bowl with several inserts, and a package of extra bowls.

The Kleanbowl Challenge was created to show a pets preference to eat or drink out of the Kinn Kleanbowl when compared to their average pet bowl. The Kleanbowl reduces health risks to pets with the disposable and germ-free Nourish Pet refills which provide a healthy bowl alternative to regular pet bowls that may be unsanitary and filled with bacteria. To set up for the challenge, pet parents fill both the Kinn Kleanbowl as well as their pet’s regular bowl with the same food or water, place the two side by side and let their pet choose which to eat or drink out of! Kleanbowl Challenge pets are not incentivized or influenced to select the Kinn Kleanbowl.


Santa poop bags:  A nice red clip-on-the-leash (collar) carrier for dog poop bags with extra rolls of bags to fit the carrier. The brand is Boty Dogs.


It was a bad spring in my  neighborhood for people NOT picking up after their dog.  We all stood around complaining about how it gives a bad rap to all dog owners.

We got to talking about what we could do and who always picks up.  The
conversation got a little silly and someone suggested Santa Claus
would always pick up, as a result I created the “Picking Up In Good
Company” poop bags with Santa reaching down to a dog who is pooping.  Carla
Here is the link to the product on Amazon;


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Barkworthies, yummy elk antler and 8 oz. of sweet potato chips.  “Naturally Healthy, Naturally Happy” All Natural Dog Chews. The sweet potatoes the ONLY ingredient.  The website is
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Sweet potatoes are a canine favorite because of their flavor and are: 

– packed with vitamin A, B6 and C, plus minerals manganese, iron, potassium, fiber, and zinc 

– great for senior dogs (because they help fight the effects of aging) and puppies (because they’re a high source of calcium) 

– natural dental aids, since the chewy texture helps remove built-up tartar and plaque 

– vegetarian and vegan friendly

A note from the Elmakis Family: “We love our pets and know that wholesome nutrition is essential to their health and happiness. This is why we started Barkworthies.
“We wanted dog lovers like you to have access to the highest quality chews and treats without additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients.
“Today, we’re proud to offer an exciting line of products that are as nutritious as they are delicious. We source our ingredients globally, selecting only the best for your family. When you choose Barkworthies, you can feel confident you’re giving your canine companions what they need to  eat, live and love.”
Pet Safety ID Tags with Links-It
Even the most well trained pet can have a bad day. A frightening noise, natural disaster, car accident or other unexpected event can trigger a dog or cat to run for the hills leaving owners devastated and frantically searching. Unfortunately, while 80 percent of pet owners report that they believe it is either very or extremely important for animals to wear ID tags, only 33 percent report always having ID tags on their pets. While many owners have their pets chipped today, a collar and ID tags are still an important visual signal that a dog or cat is lost from home and not just a stray. Pet IDs with a new technology to help keep them safe.
Many pet owners don¹t keep tags on their animals because it can be hard to get them onto the metal ring without breaking it, pinching a finger or wasting twenty minutes of a day. A new gadget called LINKS-IT solves the problem by eliminating the need for the ring. Made from an ultra-durable polymer, LINKS-IT snaps apart so tags can be slid on and attached to a collar, then snaps and locks in place. LINKS-IT can be used with existing tags or upgraded further with Pawdentify tags which are more durable than metal, virtually silent, and can be custom printed with up to 15 lines of ID information that will never rub or scratch off. They are available in over 100 designs. 

and a wonderful holiday gift guide by our friends at Kurgo



Happy, Merry Ho Ho Howlidays and Happy New Year to you and yours !!!!

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Filed under au natural dog, dog health, dog training, dog travel, dog treats, four paws up, gifts for your dog, happy holidays, K9 approved, K9 travel, keep pets safe, Uncategorized

23 Pet friendly places (Carmel to SLO)

2. Carmel  has gone to the dogs


Carmel, the pet friendliest city in the USA…   Where else can a pit bull eat lunch safely and comfortably next to family? Well, in Carmel, of course!

3. Monterey  (whales, dolphins and seals, oh my) Fishermans wharf



4. Mendocino (tiptoe thru the tulips, one of 12 things to do)


5. Anderson Valley dog friendly wineries (Navarros, Toulouse)

6. Napa wine country


Dog friendly wineries Napa and sonoma

7. Bodega Bay  (yummy fresh seafood)


8. Cambria rocks 


9. SLO  (a tiki boat, dogging it at the beach, and so much more)

see how we snuck Mama’s day in there, too…


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Filed under Carmel, dog travel, dogs, fountain of woof, four paws up, Mendocino, Monterey, pet friendly dining, pet friendly lodging, pet friendly winery, pet travel, Uncategorized

Gold country pet friendly

There is still gold in them THAR hills. When you are looking for a peaceful, quiet, and relaxing getaway, you will definitely want to visit the Courtwood Inn, high on a hill, overlooking the forest and the town of Murphys. It is a new lovely modern and spacious log cabin home with a tennis theme. The pet friendly room is downstairs (the Davis Cup) so that you and your pooch can come and go through the outside patio door.

Each of the five rooms offer Microsilk spa tubs and fantastic views. Our bed was so high, I needed a step stool to get in and out of it. And Innkeeper Chris Parker provided wonderful wines and cheeses for an afternoon refreshment and a delicious fruit parfait with yogurt and Dutch baby egg dish for breakfast.

Cici was very fond of Chris from the start. She slobbered on her and just followed her around to be near her. Of course Chris DID give her lots of attention and a toy and treats.

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Innkeepers Chris and Larry Parker, former tennis instructors, are planning to offer tennis courts and lessons by summer of 201. They also offer wine tours to some of the 23 wineries in the area.

Pet friendly wineries include Twisted Oak, and others.

Pet amenities: a gift basket filled with a toy that Cici chewed up immediately. There were also some gifts for me. A few samples were held for me at the Art on Main store (a necklace) and a spice sample at the Spice Tin. And a collapsible water bottle that can be filled up.

Louise, the K9 Personal shopping Assistant at the Dog Store on Main Street is an extremely gracious, knowledgeable and kind shopkeeper. She fitted Cici with a brand new harness and leash (purple) and we discussed tips on handling dogs (which I will write about in another blog post). She offers a full range of dog items and accessories from food to treats, toys and clothing. She totally believes that dogs are miracles with paws.

You can read more about the inn and/or book your reservation here:

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Filed under California, dog toys, dog travel, dog treats, dog wear, dogs, K9 approved, K9 travel, pet friendly lodging, pet friendly winery, pet travel, travel with dog, Uncategorized

Relaxing Spa in the Desert

If your dog could speak s/he would tell you to Leave the hustle, bustle, traffic, noise and smog behind and bring them to The Dog Spa Resort and Wellness Center for a fun time together. The DogSpa is the pet friendliest place on the planet, never mind Palm Springs and it is for both humans and canines. Talk about dogitude. The place oozes dog friendly vibes. For one thing, dogs go unleash everywhere, there are no pet fees, no restrictions in terms of size, weight and breed, and you can leave the dog in the room if the dog will behave.

That does not mean there are no rules. Guests are reminded not to feed their dogs in public, no treats in common areas, to pick up after their dogs, and to supervise their dogs at all times. The DogSpa is the brainchild of Paula Terifaj, a holistic vet, who knows dogs, knows dog body language and she watches out for any problem dogs. She wants the DogSpa to be a really fun relaxing place for everyone. She also rescues dogs and wants to get the many dogs in shelters adopted into forever homes.

“I wanted to create some place unique, different, a really dog friendly place for people and their four legged family members, to unwind, unplug and relax with fresh air, sunshine and mineral water pools,” she explained. The soothing mineral water is what really attracts people to this area. Year round swimming in a hot springs pool and getting a stress-releasing massage, who could ask for anything more?

Paula bought the intimate hotel in 2009 and spent two years renovating it to her specifications. There is a dog park that is fenced that dogs can enjoy. Dogs Vacation Free here. And if your dog happens to fall into a pool with you, well then, whoopsie. This resort takes dog friendly into a whole other realm.

The point is for you and your dog to share the experience. You do not want to have your dog stuck in some kennel or room while you are away having fun. People benefit from the whole experience and their dogs get to be part of it, too.  Imagine lazy days lying in the sun, swimming in the pool, enjoying the hot tub, and your dog is lying on a towel next to you relaxing, too.

A dog named black lab mix named Jake greeted Cici and I. He was running around the pool with a ball in his mouth that he would not let go of come heck or mineral water. Cici also met one of Paula’s dogs, Brad Pit, a brown beagle and pit bull mix. He was guarding the area between the kitchen and the dog park (a relaxation area). We did not get to meet her other dog, Black Beauty.




We stayed in a luxury Suite 4 (with café kitchen).Cafe Kitchens feature a full sized refrigerator, ice, coffeemaker, microwave, toaster, sink, and dinnerware. There are only six unique rooms including Wellness rooms with purified water, air, magnet beds and so much more.




  • Two hot mineral pools kept at the perfect temperature year around. Large swimming pool at a comfortable 88° F and Jacuzzi at a therapeutic 102° F. Both heated without gas by an underground hot water well.
  • Complimentary health conscious buffet breakfast from 8am until 10am.

If you live in LA or San Diego and want to spend a weekend or vacation and enjoy the mineral hot springs pool in Desert Hot Springs (a few minutes from Palm Springs), then this IS the place to visit. It is only two hours from LA and San Diego and you can bring your pooch(es).


Speaking of dog parks, Paula suggests:

l. Be prepared and be vigilant.

2. Bring a spray bottle of water, know where there is a hose, or bring an air horn or a whistle to use if dogs are not getting along.

3. Be mindful

4. Keep your eyes and ears on your dog at all times.

5. Be aware of the weather. Dogs should NEVER be left along in a hot car and in the summer, the pavement may be too hot for their paws and can burn their pads.

If you are seeking a small intimate healthy environment to do workshops or seminars or retreats, you may be able to rent the entire property for a yoga workshop, a cooking, meditation, or healthy retreat.

Ask for the Double the Fun special as well as a dog spa gift certificate. You and your dog deserve stress-free pampering time!   Click on the link below to find out more.

You can also go shopping with your dog at The River (a dog friendly shopping mall in nearby Palm Desert, yes indeed)…

and there are hiking trails. Click the link below to find out all about the trails, dog park and where to eat with your pooch, too.


There are some other dog parks in the area in case you want to visit (but you will enjoy the one at the Dog Spa Resort more than any of the others, we betcha plus who wants to drive all the way to Palm Desert or Indio when you and your pooch came here to stretch your paws and woof it up !

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Filed under CA, California, dog friendly, dog rescue, dog spa, dog travel, dog treats, dogs, four paws up, holistic vet, K9 approved, K9 travel, keep pets safe, Palm Springs, pet adoption, pet care, pet friendly dining, pet friendly lodging, Uncategorized