CHS Pics | A new daycare for Capitol Hill’s furbaby boom

With the smash of a tennis ball-packed piñata, the latest edition to the Capitol Hill pet economy opened over the weekend.

CHS reported last fall on the plans for a Capitol Hill expansion of the Tails of the City dog daycare business in the underground space beneath Velocity Dance Center on 12th Ave. The longtime Georgetown doggy daycare, is expanding to its second Seattle location under owner Karyn Johnson. Continue reading

Former Capitol Hill Arts Center below Velocity Dance going back into motion with Tails of the City dog daycare

(Image: Tails of the City)

Mostly inactive since the final days of the Capitol Hill Arts Center more than a decade ago, the area beneath Velocity Dance Center’s 12th Ave building will be swirling back into motion with more energy than even the curl ups and tendus going on upstairs.

Tails of the City, a longtime Georgetown doggy daycare, is expanding with a second Seattle location in the basement of the 1600-block 12th Ave building — a huge space that will provide room for the business to add a highly demanded new service: dog boarding.

“This space used to host raves and parties. I toyed with idea of making an area so people can watch,” Karyn Johnson tells CHS. Sorry to report, Johnson said the doggy bar just wouldn’t work out. And, yes, that’s the second time you can be disappointed about that. Continue reading

With Urban Animal vet clinic expansion, sun will set on Cafe Solstice Capitol Hill

(Image: Cafe Solstice)

(Image: Urban Animal )

Capitol Hill’s cats will love it. For the students and neighbors who hang out there for hours cramming, talking, and hanging out in one of the neighborhood’s largest, most bustling coffee houses, it will be a sad day.

Staff are telling friends and regulars that the Capitol Hill Cafe Solstice will shutter at the corner of 10th and Thomas mid-month. CHS has learned that neighboring veterinary clinic Urban Animal is set to expand into the space bringing an end to its five years as a cafe. It’s a much needed expansion, Dr. Cherri Trusheim tells CHS.

“We just don’t have enough room for the volume that comes through the door,” Trusheim said. “Quite frankly, it’s been crazy sometimes.” Continue reading

‘All Dogs Must be Leashed’ — Overrun by naughty off-leash visitors (and their dogs), Seattle U changes policy

Picture from a CHS reader. Thanks for the picture and tip!

It costs Seattle U students $45,765 a year to attend the south of Capitol Hill campus but many neighborhood dogs have been freely enjoying the fields of academia — off leash.

But now the school and its popular Union Green, one of Capitol Hill’s most popular “secret” off-leash play areas, is off-limits. Seattle University has changed its policies and now requires all canine visitors to be leashed:

“For the safety and wellbeing of our campus community and all visitors, dogs are now required to be on leash and under control of their owners at all times while on campus,” the university announcement reads. “This policy is consistent with the City of Seattle’s leash laws.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill cat cafe credited with helping boost King County pet adoption

A sleepy moment inside Neko

King County says it has been able to boost its pet adoption rate to 92% thanks to partnerships with pet stores and a new trend of cat-focused businesses — including Capitol Hill’s Neko Cafe.

The adoption rate has risen from a sad 51% in 2003, the county reports.

“The latest milestone is the result of several strategies, including partnering with cafes and pet stores to make it easier to adopt cats, starting a new dog playgroup to help staff and volunteers better assess a dog’s behavior, revamping the volunteer program, and significantly increasing the number of pets that are licensed,” a King County announcement on the happy numbers reads. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Pets | Dexter at Vita

Jessie McGee was having his coffee outside Caffe Vita with his little friend Dexter, a rat terrier/min pin mix, when we stopped to say hello. Dexter is not only an excellent friend, but he is also a service animal. Jessie told us, as he dug around in his wallet, “He’s the only dog that I know of that has ID.” Indeed, Dexter does have an ID, laminated and everything.

We ask photographer Alex Garland to follow marchers in the rain and do crazy things like trying to make yet another picture of yet another huge apartment building look interesting. We thought we’d ask him to do something a little more fun. Capitol Hill Pets is a semi-regular look at our furry, fuzzy, feathered, and finned friends found out and about on Capitol Hill. Are you a Capitol Hill Pet we should know about? Drop us a line. We also have amassed an excellent roster of submissions we’ll pull together soon for a special edition of Capitol Hill Pets. Thanks for all the mail!

Advocate group looks for Capitol Hill support for more off-leash dog parks

(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

The forecast this week calls for the dog days of summer, but dogs in Seattle don’t have many options for relief from the heat.

Dogs are only allowed to swim at Magnuson Park, which has 145 feet of shoreline.

Citizens for Off-Leash Areas, or COLA, wants to change that. The group wants more waterfront parks open to dogs and more off-leash options in general that are within walking distance of every dog owner. Organizers see it as much more than an issue of play and lakeside fun. COLA reps say resources for dog owners are a social justice issue in a city supposedly tackling equity issues across its neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Seattle’s population is set to soar to 750,000 by 2020. About one out of three of the new residents will bring dogs. Continue reading

Dog sickened after eating rat poison in Cal Anderson Park

A Capitol Hill dog was sickened Tuesday after eating what appears to be rat poison left near the playground in Cal Anderson Park.

Eva Gisellse tells CHS she was walking her dog Data in the park around 6 PM on Monday when the blue heeler ate an unknown substance. After Data became sick Tuesday morning, Gisellse retrieved the green substance and took her dog to Urban Animal at Broadway and E Thomas.

An Urban Animal spokesperson told CHS the substance was almost certainly rat poison, but veterinarians are awaiting final test results for confirmation. Thankfully, Data is recovering in her Capitol Hill apartment.

“We recommend that anyone walking a dog in the area makes sure it does not eat anything off the ground,” said Jen Pohlman, operations manager at Urban Animal. Of course, the same goes for humans.

UPDATE (7/20): After being notified of the incident, Seattle Parks had its pest control contractor check the roughly 20 rat poison traps that were set around Cal Anderson Park earlier this year. According to Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch, there was no evidence of tampering on the traps, which are designed to keep poison away from dogs and children. “All of the traps were locked and all of the traps have been regularly serviced,” she said.

Continue reading

Proposal would allow dogs to roam free in Cal Anderson Park

Dog parks inspire a special kind of divisiveness within Seattle’s civic skirmishes. With limited public park space, opponents of expanding off-leash areas say human activities should get top priority in park planning. Off-leash supporters say their interests deserve equal consideration.

Nevertheless, dogs are here to stay and Seattle Parks and Recreation is working on a plan to determine how best to accommodate them. Seattle’s canine population has reached an estimated 150,000 with no signs of slowing. The city is now reviewing its 19-year-old policy governing dog parks and considering some new ideas, including adding unfenced, off-leash areas inside public parks.

The idea is backed by Citizens for Off-Leash Areas, who say parks like Cal Anderson could implement the policy already working in other cities. “Dog owners are being pushed into scofflaws because they don’t have options,” said COLA executive director Cole Eckerman.

According to Eckerman, allowing dogs to be off-leash during certain times of the day at certain parks could reduce dog bites by increasing opportunities for exercise, create legal solutions to accommodate the city’s growing dog population, and yes, even deter nighttime crime. Eckerman also said allowing “multi-use” dog areas is an equity issue as many lower income neighborhoods lack traditional off-leash areas.

Portland has 24 unfenced, off-leash areas which are restricted to certain areas and times — a model COLA says could be replicated in Seattle. Typically, new dog parks are first piloted by the parks department and then approved by the City Council. Dewey Potter, the parks department’s unofficial off-leash expert, said a similar process would likely be used if the city decides to move ahead with unfenced dog areas. It’s unclear how many dog parks or off-leash areas Seattle could add in the near future, Potter said.

Seattle currently has 28 acres of fenced off-leash areas spread across 14 parks, including around Capitol Hill at Plymouth Pillars Park and the I-5 Colonnade. City policy recommends placing new dog parks away from playgrounds or adjacent to residential properties, which could be difficult to maintain if the city allows dogs to roam in unfenced areas.

Some of those criteria were actually developed in response to Seattle’s early experiments with off leash areas on Capitol Hill. In the late 1990s the parks department piloted two dog parks in Volunteer Park. One was scrapped because it was too muddy while the other received too many complaints from nearby homeowners.

The city’s dog parks report will not include any specific site recommendations, Potter said, but it will offer some suggestions for how to better accommodate dog owners as demand for all types of park space continues to grow.

Other recommendations include how to improve existing dog parks. The parks department plans to release its report June 11th at a date to be determined.

Images courtesy

The Feed Bag pet store is closing to go mobile after 21 years on Capitol Hill

The rapid pace of development surrounding Angela Pfeil’s longtime Capitol Hill pet store left her with two options: Get swallowed up in the change or make it work for her. After 21 years of serving Capitol Hill’s pet needs, The Feed Bag Pet Provisions will be closing at E Pike and Belmont in order to transition into a new mobile operation.

“We’re not going anywhere, we’re going everywhere,” Pfeil said. “I’m changing the business to fit the needs of the community.”

11885374_10153060051306824_1177700330871153691_nWith a commercial van ready to go, Pfeil is planning to close her brick-and–mortar shop in September when her new mobile store will take over.

Think of it like a food truck for pet supplies. The Feed Bag will initially focus on serving some of the very Capitol Hill apartment buildings that were partially responsible for the end of her shop, Pfeil said. As a die-hard Seahawks fan, Pfeil is also planning to tailgate with her van-full of Seahawks pet supplies and stake out other community events.

The Feedbagmobile will also make stops by appointment for a $5 fee or a $50 minimum purchase. Capitol Hill will remain home base, Pfeil said, but she’s looking forward to expanding into other neighborhoods. Unfortunately, Pfeil’s “bad boy” van won’t have enough room to stock the store’s current bird, fish, and reptile products. Customers shopping inside the walk-in van will also get to tap Pfeil’s decades worth of pet knowledge — something Pfeil hopes will make her business standout among delivery services like Amazon. Continue reading