Tukee Talk Kelly Mixer

As we usher in fall and the Valley of the Sun begins its cool down, we will be ready for some outside activities with our “best friends.”

Each month we dedicate the fourth Wednesday to our pet edition that has been so well received by our readers, and what better time to highlight some of the best pet-friendly places to enjoy with your dog?

We all know that Ahwatukee Foothills is beautiful, especially if you like to get out and explore. The Telegraph Pass Trailhead in South Mountain Park/Preserve is a good place to start, located at Desert Foothills Parkway (north of Chandler Boulevard) and Seventh Street.

The first half mile of this trail is a textured concrete surface for easy walking for you and your dog. The trail then splits off to continue on to Telegraph Pass, or on to The Desert Classic Trail. The remaining 1 mile of Telegraph Pass Trail ends at Summit Road, and offers quick access to the National Trail and the Kiwanis Trail within the park upon reaching the roadway.

The Desert Classic Trail continues on for about 9 miles through the foothills on the south side of South Mountain and terminates at the south ramada area in Pima Canyon.

Whatever trail you take please be sure to stay on it so we don’t see you and Fido on the evening news getting rescued by the local fire department.

If you’re not up for a hike you can venture on over to Ahwatukee Foothills’ dog park at Pecos Park, 17010 S. 48th St. RJ Dog Park has a separate small and large dog area for your best friends to run and play before swinging by the water fountains on your way home.

Getting hungry after all the hiking and playing?

Ahwatukee Foothills is well known for its pet-friendly establishments. The Hillside Spot Café and Market, 4740 E. Warner Road, at 48th Street and Warner Road, offers a very nice patio that is open to pets and their owners to relax and dine. Other dog-friendly outside patios in the Ahwatukee area can be found at Einstein Bros Bagels, 4803 E. Ray Road, Suite 102, at 48th Street and Ray Road; Pomegranate Café, 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 28, near Trader Joe’s; Jamba Juice, 4302 E. Ray Road, at Ranch Circle Drive and Ray Road; and the Farm At South Mountain, 6106 S. 32nd St.

If you want to venture outside of the Ahwatukee Foothills limits, Gilbert has the award-winning Cosmo Dog Park, 2502 E. Ray Road, complete with a large pond for swimming, an agility course, and a small dog section, and dog wash stations. The park is approximately four fenced acres, has lighting for night use, pet drinking fountains, tables and benches, and more.

Another must see is the 13th Annual Friends for Life BARKtoberfest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Gilbert Town Center, 50 E. Civic Center Drive. Recently voted the East Valley Tribune’s 2012 “Best Place to Hang Out With Your Dog,” BARKtoberfest has grown each year as 2,500 or more people attend the event to enjoy shopping, fine arts and crafts, live entertainment, dog wash, Lure Course, a bobbing for bones contest, a Canine Idol contest, a best dressed dog contest, dog art (DOGvinci), raffles, contests for pet and owner look-a-like, best trick and costumes, and more. It’s a party in the park for dogs and their families. (Full disclosure: I’m on the Friends For Life Animal Rescue Board of Directors).

And don’t forget the annual Ahwatukee Dog Show by the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center, which takes place every March in Ahwatukee Park, 4700 E. Warner Road. It’s a fun event to show off your dog and participate in games and raffles along with judging and prizes for many different categories. Canine education booths and “meet the breed” booths usually round things out for the fun-filled day for dogs and their families.

Get ready, the nice weather is coming so get out and enjoy it with man’s best friend.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7913 or kmixer@ahwatukee.com

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