Check out any list of the best dog cities in America and chances are you’ll find San Diego somewhere near the top. This spectacular coastal city’s warm climate makes it the ideal destination for anyone who loves getting out and about with their pet. From its beautiful beaches to its paw-fect parks, San Diego offers myriads of opportunities for your pet to run, jump, sniff, roll, play, and socialize in the great outdoors.
And if a dog in San Diego falls on hard times, there are plenty of excellent rescue groups ready to leap into action and offer assistance. Take The Barking Lot, for example. This volunteer-run, non-profit rescue has saved the lives of more than 5,000 dogs since 2010, specializing in finding happy homes for dogs that are scheduled for euthanasia at other shelters.
Second Chance Dog Rescue is another hard-working rescue group that’s always ready to help dogs that are battling through a ruff patch. One of San Diego’s biggest non-profits committed to saving homeless dogs, Second Chance Dog Rescue operates on the belief that every dog deserves a chance at happiness. Founded in 2008, it has rescued more than 3,000 dogs and helped pair them with loving, devoted owners.
The Rescued Dog, yet another of San Diego’s most dedicated rescue groups, is also worthy of praise and support. This mixed-breed rescue is a non-profit group with a big heart, and relies on a network of foster homes and volunteers to help save dogs throughout California and Mexico. Currently a foster-based organization, The Rescued Dog hopes to one day have its own kennel and training facility so it can rehabilitate and rehome even more dogs in need.
San Diego’s largest dog walk, the much anticipated annual Walk for Animals, takes place at NTC Park each May. This paw-somely popular pet event sees huge crowds of dog lovers and their furry friends pound the pavement around a scenic two-mile course, with funds raised on the day going to support San Diego Humane Society. There’s plenty more happening around the walk as well, with a pancake breakfast, vendor village, and fun doggie activities right through till noon. So get your walking shoes, get your dog, and get ready to support a very good cause — and have a whale of a time doing it.
Put your best paw forward and support a couple of very worthy causes at this delightful annual dog walk. Held to benefit Rancho Coastal Humane Society and San Diego Botanic Garden, this 5k stroll takes dogs and their owners through this beautiful garden in Encinitas. As the event is completely non-competitive, you can tackle the course however you like: run at a million miles an hour, or sit, drop, and stay for a while whenever you feel like it. You can also browse a range of pet products, enjoy some tasty treats (for dogs and people), or just relax and enjoy the peace and serenity of the garden surrounds.
Beer and bow-wows — what more could you possibly need for a grrr-eat night out? Since you asked, how about a K9 costume contest and the chance to raise funds for a deserving local non-profit? All of the above is just a taste of what you can expect at the annual Bow Wow Beer Bash, the annual Halloween party with plenty of heart. Held at Mission Brewery, it gives dog lovers the chance to enjoy craft beers, food trucks, trick or treating, and pet vendors, plus all the cute canines you can handle in the doggy costume contest! The Bash raises funds for Cammies & Canines, a non-profit that rescues homeless dogs and heals homeless veterans, and you’ll need to get in early because tickets don’t last long.
If you’re looking for a fun family celebration of all things dog, this is the event for you. Held in October at La Mesa’s Harry Griffen Park, this woof-tastic carnival is packed full of dog-friendly activities to entertain all animal lovers. You can watch all the excitement on the doggie agility course, watch pooches pose and strut their stuff in the pet costume contest, check out local rescue groups, and get your paws on plenty of delicious food and drink. Best of all, the event benefits Jackie Blue's Rescue Angels and helps them find loving homes for unwanted animals.
The Doggie Street Festival is Southern California’s largest pet adoption-focused festival. It’s held in several cities across the country, but the original and best is in San Diego. While the main focus at this event is on saving homeless dogs — and you’ll be able to meet a heap of rescue groups on site — there’s a ton more to see and do. Bring your pooch along to NTC Park at Liberty Station and enjoy music, food, pet products and services, vet tips, a kids’ art area and stacks more. Your pet will love every second of it!