Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan

Durham is dog-friendly — Baumgartner Vaughan

Sunny, a Swiss mountain dog who came to Beer & Hymns at Fullsteam Brewery.
Sunny, a Swiss mountain dog who came to Beer & Hymns at Fullsteam Brewery. dvaughan@heraldsun.com

This is a column about dogs, but not my dog. I don’t have a dog. So I won’t carry on about how my dog is the greatest dog, because everyone’s own dog is the greatest dog, right?

I should hope so. To quote Dog Rates, the Twitter account phenomenon with a book on the way, “they’re all good dogs.” Dog Rates is run by a North Carolina college student. Closer to home, the Durham Bulls have the tradition of Bark in the Park, when dogs are invited to come to a baseball game.

The love of dogs is universal. Sure, some people don’t like dogs. I can’t imagine why, but I suppose some people prefer domestic animals that scratch up your furniture, walk on your kitchen counters, don’t care if you’re there, shed on everything and use the bathroom inside. Why yes, I am not a cat person, how did you guess?

I don’t have a dog right now, but the negotiations with my kid have been ongoing for the past year. A dog is in our future. In the meantime, we’ll be petting nice dogs when we see them.

My story about Durham County Beer & Hymns involved going to one of the events at Fullsteam Brewery, where I was quite pleased to encounter a nice dog. His name was Sunny, and he got a mention in the story. Sunny is a big Swiss mountain dog who was very docile and friendly, and wandered over to me to be petted. I happily obliged, and noticed Sunny wasn’t the only chill dog hanging out on a Sunday night in downtown Durham.

You can tell when the resident population of an area goes up, because you see some urban dogs out on their evening constitutionals (and morning, and afternoon). You can also tell that some dogs want to be petted by strangers, but their owners are too busy to pause. I see their cute doggy faces yearning for a pat on the head or back. But the tug of a leash and a busy owner keeps the dogs moving along. Not so when I’m interviewing someone who has a dog. Prime opportunity for petting good dogs.

I once covered the Animal Protection Society’s Walk for the Animals on Duke University East Campus, and couldn’t believe the bevy of dogs to pet.

So if you see me out and about and you have a friendly dog, bring it on over. In recent years I’ve developed an allergy to dogs that shed a lot, but petting a sheddy dog in passing doesn’t cause a reaction. It just makes the dog happy. And me, too.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: 919-419-6563, @dawnbvaughan