There is a popular hiking spot near my apartment.  It is a walk up into the Hollywood Hills and then about 2 more miles up a path that has been carved into the mountain.  There are a lot of beautiful hiking spots in L.A.. This isn’t one of them.  But, it is a good work out and it’s free and it  doesn’t require a car to get there (which means I can go on my own), so yesterday I decided to hike instead of getting Pinkberry.  It was a hot day.  Really hot.

Runyon Canyon consists of a paved trail on one side, man-made step like things on the other, about 3 trees and no shade.  There is no respite from the heat when you are up there and the higher you climb the hotter it gets.  So, why the fuck do people bring their dogs?  Obviously, this is something that upsets me.

The first dog I saw was with a woman walking up the last (very steep) bit of road before you get to the canyon gate.  It was a tiny black chihuahua, who was clearly struggling to keep up with the woman, trying to get her to slow down, and his paws were hurting from the hot ground, but she just kept walking and pulling and paid no attention.  My blood began to boil.

I walked through the gate and there were at least 8 more dogs either starting or finishing the hike with their humans (a questionable term for some of these assholes).  Some of the dogs are small, some large, white dogs and black dogs and golden and red and brown dogs.  Most of them are panting vigorously and looking uncomfortable.  Most are staring at their owners, as if pleading for water and shade, but the owners are much more interested in potential hookups and showing off their bodies to each other while talking about their next audition and getting that big break.  Why the fuck do they bring their dogs?

It was well into the 80’s at the bottom of the canyon (so it may have been 90 or more at the top), and the next thing I saw left me enraged and heartbroken.  As I started up the hill, a woman was walking down the hill toward me.  In her arms, she tightly held her dog, and her face was fraught with panic. The dog had clearly not been able to continue walking and when I saw what kind of dog she had, I knew that the dog very possibly had suffered heat stroke.  She was holding a pug.  I have 2 pugs.  Pugs don’t do well in the heat.  In temperatures over 80 degrees, a pug can suffer heat stroke and possibly die, within ten minutes.  Because of their smooshed (gorgeous) faces, they don’t cool efficiently and can’t handle heat or extended vigorous activity.  What the hell was wrong with that woman?  Why the fuck did she bring her pug up into a canyon to hike 2 miles straight up hill in 80 + degree heat?  I just hope the baby is ok and that the woman doesn’t bring the dog hiking ever again.

On my way up the mountain, I saw dozens of dogs, most of whom seemed to be struggling.  I was struggling.  It was bloody hot as hell up there.  I just kept feeling angrier.  On my way down, I saw another pug , who looked fine and had just been given water by her owner, but I followed them back up for a while anyway, just to make sure the owners kept paying attention.  Did they not know how dangerous it was to have their pug out there?  Did they know and just not care?  I wanted to scream.

When I got to the bottom of the canyon again, I saw a couple sitting around their dog (a big beautiful brown and white dog), who was lying on the ground, panting like crazy and clearly struggling to breathe.  It was terrifying, and from the looks on their faces, I believe that couple will not bring their dog hiking on a day that hot, again. They looked terrified. My heart was breaking.

I get that it is fun to hike with your dogs.  I don’t hike with mine because they are not built for that kind of activity, but I do get the appeal, for the dogs and the humans.  Runyon is considered a dog park, so people can legally let their dogs off leash, and I have seen dogs having a blast up there.  It isn’t the hiking with dogs that pisses me off.  It is the hiking with dogs in extreme heat and putting their health at risk.  I know that some dogs can handle heat better than others, and there are also plenty of owners who are attentive and have water readily available for their dogs.  But, no dog should be in Runyon Canyon in 80+ degree weather.  It is too hot.  They can get heat stroke.  They can burn their paws on the ground (the ground temps can be up to 20 degrees hotter that the air temps).  Even if they are just uncomfortable, why would someone want to do that do their dog?  Why don’t people care?

When I got my dogs, I took on a responsibility to care for them and make their lives as good as possible, to keep them out of harms way and make their safety and health a priority.  I take it seriously.  They are my kids, my family.  They are all love and deserve all love.

I may have to stage a protest at Runyon.