Postcard from California: Dog-Friendly Pleasanton

Our favourite Rover Reporter Monty writes:

Well, chums, I’m discombobulated. I’d even go so far as to say, as we like to put it here at the Phileas Dogg features desk, that I’m in a right Fido Fizz. Sara has gone off to America to interview another dog! Coming over here, taking our jobs…..well, I suppose technically Sara’s going over there, but it rankles, chums. It rankles. Still, probably I’ll have to sub his finished piece quite a lot, as he’s not a professional newshound like me.

Sara’s going out to see my American cousin, Winston. He lives in Pleasanton, California, and although we’ve never met, we’ve barked at each other a lot on Skype (he says I have a great accent). Winston is a German pointer, but his family have been over there for generations. (I, on the other hand, am an *English* spaniel. Heritage. Culture. Point made, I think.) Anyway, Winston’s going to take us on a tour of his hometown, which is called Pleasanton, quite near San Francisco. Over to you, Winston!

Winston Lounging By His Swimming Pool


“Well. Gee. Um….I have to say, I’m a little nervous about being thrust into the limelight like this, but I sure was honored to be asked to show Sara around Pleasanton, and show her what a great, dog friendly place it is.

Now, when you first set paw in town, the first thing I recommend you do is go and see my friend Amadeus, who runs the town’s pet shop, Murphy’s Paw, on Main Street. Amadeus is a Newfoundland, and has his huge, webbed paw on the pulse when it comes to dog friendly ways to spend your day. He and his human Dean, who’s occasionally allowed to help run the shop when Amadeus needs a nap, stock some pretty tasty treats, too. When I took her to meet Amadeus, Sara picked out some ‘healthy fruit and pumpkin seed’ treats to take back to cousin Monty (WHAT! Fruit! Healthy treats? Bah! M.), but I managed to sneak a couple of ‘real cowboy sausages for dogs’ into the bag when her back was turned (Thank goodness – I owe you one, Winston!).

dog-friendly California, dog-friendly San Francisco

Next, it was off for a tour of the town. The principal street is called Main Street, and it’s a wide, pretty, shady boulevard lined on both sides with little shops and boutiques, including an old-fashioned bookstore and lots of coffee shops and restaurants.

Many of the buildings date back to the mid 1850s, when Alisal, as Pleasanton was then known, enjoyed a boom, as miners used it as a stopover on the way to the gold fields. The town is on the edge of the famous Napa Valley wine area, and many of the stores stock local wine, books and wine-related gifts. The town still has an intimate, small town feel, and in fact in 1917 it was chosen as the location of the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, leading to its contemporary nickname of the ‘Hollywood of the North’.

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My favorite place to walk in the local area is Shadow Cliffs Recreational Park. Dogs have to stay on the leash in a lot of the little local community parks (WHAT! and they call this the land of the free? – M.) But there are lots of dedicated dog parks and off-leash areas as well.

Once you’ve stretched your paws a bit, stroll down Main Street and pick out a nice spot for lunch. Several  cafes and restaurants welcome us dogs in outside eating areas, including Tully’s, Baci, Nonni’s, Cafe Main, Pasta’s Trattoria and Vic’s All Star Cafe, and quite a few of the shops also display ‘dogs welcome’ signs in their windows, so make sure to take your humans inside and pick up a souvenir or two.

As for where to stay in Pleasanton, the good news is that there’s lots of choice. It’s usual for hotels in the U.S. to charge a pet fee, and some also limit the size of the dog, so check out prices, policies and facilities at

For the humans, there’s always a lot going on downtown. In the summer, there’s open air concerts, antiques markets, and the famous ‘1st Wednesday street parties’, with live music, art demonstrations and local craftspeople lining the streets.

Well, I think that’s about all I can tell you for now – I’m off to top up my tan by the pool.”

(Huh. I’m still cross. M.)

Boxout: Phileas Phacts

  • For more information about the town and community, visit
  • Bring Fido, the U.S. website that lists pet-friendly accommodation, can be found at
  • For further details about Shadow Cliffs, see
  • For full listings of Pleasanton events, including details of 1st Wednesday street parties, visit

One Response

  1. Monty Spaniel says:

    Yeah. Favourite reporter.

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