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Itinerary: Gone to the Dogs

March 29, 2001|DIANNE BATES | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In a great scene in the 1984 movie "Love Streams," John Cassavetes sits in a chair across from his dog and talks to him. As he confides to his canine pal, the dog morphs into a kindly sailor who listens and nods and understands.

Dog lovers know that pets are nonjudgmental listeners. So, reward your best friend by spending some time with him or her. The L.A. area has more dog-friendly destinations than you might think. Spare yourself that sad, lonely look on your pet's face when you leave, pack up the water dish and invite your dog to join you on your weekend activities. Bring plenty of plastic bags to pick up after your dog, and you'll both be invited back.

Friday

Get in some great ocean air without the weekend beach crowds. Until Memorial Day, dogs on leash are permitted at Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk (Rose Avenue to Washington Avenue). Dogs are not permitted on the beach.

Saturday

Find your local dog park. One choice is Laurel Canyon Park (8260 Mulholland Drive, Studio City, [818] 756-8060, open daily sunrise to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. until sunset), which features three off-leash acres, a fenced-off children's play area and parking. Silver Lake Recreation Center (1850 W. Silver Lake Drive, [323] 644-3946) is open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. and features 1.25 acres of off-leash space. At Griffith Park, the dog area is at the north end of the John Ferraro Soccer Fields. The 1.6-acre dog park features dog troughs, restrooms and parking. There is a separate fenced area for small and timid dogs.

On the Westside, the dog park at the Westminster Senior Center (1234 Pacific Ave., Venice, [310] 392-5566, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily) is a lovely shaded area with huge trees. A few blocks away, enjoy lunch with your dog at the Hydrant (1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, [310] 401-2275, 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends). Owners Savannah Loring and Erika Dobrin provide a nice outdoor seating area where dogs and their owners can enjoy both people food (sandwiches and snacks) and yummy dog snacks.

Schedule a photo session with Venice Beach dog photographer Scott Schulman ([310] 399-0245). Schulman specializes in dog shots from your point of view with sessions starting at $250. His work can be seen on many dog products and commercials. For an example of his work, go to http://www.dogfolio.com.

Sunday

Dogs are welcome at both Video West locations (805 Larrabee St., West Hollywood, [310] 659-5762; 11376 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, [818] 760-0096; open 10 a.m.-midnight daily). General manager Faith Cole says the owner loves dogs and may even provide a dog biscuit for your pooch, whether your tastes run to "Lassie Come Home" or "Dog Day Afternoon." The Century City Shopping Center (10250 Santa Monica Blvd., [310] 277-3898) permits friendly dogs on leashes. Shop 'til you drop--many shops allow pets--or at least until both of you are panting heavily.

Finish the day by taking your dog to pay homage to legendary celebrity animals at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park (5068 North Old Scandia Lane, exit Highway 101 at Parkway Calabasas and follow the signs, [818] 591-7037). Although the officials at the park are not allowed to tell you which famous animals are buried there, you and your dog are welcome to roam the grounds and find them yourself. Among those are Petey from the "Our Gang" serials and Hopalong Cassidy's horse, Topper. Leave a memorial Frisbee on your favorite celebrity dog's grave and both you and your dog will feel real good about yourselves.

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