Woof Woof, Big Bro!
Holy tennis balls! It’s amazing what happens when you trade in the wickedness of a Midwest winter for the regular perfection of Santa Barbara. Honestly, I have no idea why Aunt Trixie is so infamously angry. This place is an outdoor lovers paradise whether you have four legs, two legs, or some other combination my dog brain can’t fathom.
Dot and I spent the night at El Capitán yesterday, a truly special state park tucked in beachside under the sycamores and oaks on the Gaviota Coast. We woke up to watch the sunrise from the ocean’s edge, had a quick dip, and then boogied back to town for our morning date with Jenny Schatzle. We thought, being dogs and all, that we had a pretty good handle on staying positive, staying active, and keeping our tails wagging. Then we got on the Jenny Schatzle Program. It is high-octane, gut-busting medicine for your body and spirit, and, yes, you could use some.
Sound like a full day right? That was only the beginning. Our lazy afternoons of napping in the sunshine have been all but erased since being in this town, and it feels great. We stared down the quintessential Santa Barbara problem of “What yoga studio should I try?” shortly after lunch and narrowed our choices to CorePower Yoga or Yoga Soup. Unable to decide, I went with the Core, and Dot hit up the Soup. My experience was tremendous, and the place was exactly what this old dog needed; there was a class for everyone no matter your schedule or experience level or feelings about sacred crystals and patchouli. Dot, on the other paw, took a class from Eddie Ellner at the Soup, and now she won’t stop panting about it. She keeps howling at me with an air of lightness, “Less talk, more pose! Your self-judgment is destroying you.” And I have no idea what it means.
We ended the day with an easy walk up to Inspiration Point. The 3.5-mile loop of uphills and downhills was a small price to pay for the rubber-necking world-class views of sea and sky that await you at the top.
The next couple of days are looking action-packed with no end in sight. I am beginning to realize that this is what life in Santa Barbara is all about — playing outside! Luckily, that is what we Daugs were born to do. We connected with the crew at A-Frame Surf Shop on the beach at Santa Claus Lane, and they have us completely geared up for getting salty and hunting some legitimate tube time this fall. When it is time to tickle our inner powder hounds, however, Mountain Air Sports, the Duddridge family operation at the bottom of State Street that has been helping this beach town play in the mountains since 1975, will have us covered for all our ski and snowboard needs. In the meantime, Dot is hitting up the fabled Bikini Factory in Summerland for its trademark fitting while hunting for a new two-piece appropriate for her body-by-Schatzle.
You should know that these old dogs have indeed learned new tricks. When the paws and pads were done with pounding pavement, we took to the weird yet wonderful world of bicycles to explore this town. Bicycle Bob’s has been a perennial Best Of winner since the beginning, says Aunt Trixie, and she should know — I am not sure there is a poodle on this planet (let alone a pink one) with more bike knowledge. They sorted us out with a Trek for me and an Electra for Dot, and now we get that “head out the car window” feeling all the time!
This town has taken on an exciting new and athletic meaning for me since falling under the tutelage of Dave Wheaton and Melodee Meyer at Martial Arts Family Fitness. Their family-first dojo has been a real game changer. Fewer licks and more high kicks are taking years off my dog years!
Woofs and wags, Dug and Dot
El Capitán, 968-1033, parks.ca.gov
Finalist: Refugio State Beach
Jenny Schatzle, 211 W. Carrillo St., 845-6700, jennyschatzle.com
Finalist: Santa Barbara Athletic Club (Swell)
CorePower Yoga, two locations, corepoweryoga.com
Finalist: Yoga Soup
Finalist: Rattlesnake Canyon
By Paul Wellman