Dog days of summer at Lake Tahoe |

Dog days of summer at Lake Tahoe

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune Sacramento's Steve Travis calls for a ball to his dog China on Monday at Kiva Beach.

If you think man’s best friend is reserved to the back yard, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

At Lake Tahoe, locals and tourists alike do a number of things with their dogs. The four-legged creatures have been found on ski area gondolas, eating at restaurants, ball catching at Kiva Beach, running around Spooner Lake as well as riding in cars, on motorcycles and beside bicycles.

There are even those that sit in kayaks.

Ninety-pound Buster, 6, cruised over the lake Sunday, sitting in the middle of a tandem kayak between Joe and Michelle Peltier of Carson City.

“He’s been very good,” she said of the golden retriever. Buster has become a water dog.

First-timer Clancy, a 4-year-old shepherd mix, took her introduction to the sport in stride, as owner Misty Gaswint took her out for a kayak demonstration.

“I wasn’t sure how she was going to take it,” the South Lake Tahoe woman said.

Gaswint was basing her kayak purchase on Clancy’s comfort level.

From lake level to mountain ridges, some dogs are more comfortable in unique places than others.

Northstar-at-Tahoe invites dogs to ride the gondola with their owners during the summer months. The charge is $10 and all types of breeds are welcome until Sept. 6.

Squaw Valley has answered the call for dog lovers by hosting The Bark Festival, an event designed to appeal to the canine. The Sept. 18 event will feature animal art, a lake-jumping contest, live music, a pet talent competition and fashion show.

This is familiar ground to the new South Lake Tahoe store, 2 Dogs and a Cat. About every type of dog-friendly product hangs in cubby holes through the Village Center shop.

“Can dogs come in here?” Marina Vazquez asked of her 10-month-old boxer, Raider.

The clerk waved her in.

“He goes with me everywhere,” the Antioch woman said, as the dog romped into the store and sniffed the merchandise.

Vazquez said she takes the spotted canine shopping in any store where he’s allowed. She’ll even take him to parties and other social functions.

He, in turn, gets better scraps than the ordinary dog bones. But of course, these treats have evolved, too.

Many dog owners have scoped out the Tahoe eateries that are dog friendly. On any day of the week, the canines can be spotted next to picnic tables at the Burger Lounge and Burgers A Go-Go.

Vazquez inquired about what beaches would accommodate Raider, who was named after the Oakland football team.

That’s the idea Steve Travis of Sacramento had in mind. He tested 8-year-old China’s fetching skills with a tennis ball at the popular dog spot – Kiva Beach, north of Camp Richardson Resort.

The Australian shepherd also went after a flexible throwing device that looks like a Frisbee, as Travis leisurely watched the waves lap over the beach. It was a mellow Monday.

“She doesn’t like the Frisbee because it’s too hard,” Travis said.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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