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Celebrity Pug Beats the Heat in Austin, Texas

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Los Angeles Celebrity Pug beats the Heat in Austin, Texas

By Sheila Appleby Williams

As temperatures in Austin, Texas hit the triple-digits, celebrity pug, Phoebe Rose keeps her panting to a minimum with a savvy summer strategy guaranteed to minimize the risk of overheating and dehydration.

Pugs, like other short muzzle dogs, are highly prone to heat exhaustion and, as devoted sun worshippers – often don’t realize when it’s time to head for a shady spot or an air-conditioned luxury hotel.

The sensory stimulation of a change of scenery is an effective strategy to combat a pup’s lethargic routine of sleeping and eating and Austin’s lakeside luxury hotels promised a fido friendly alternative.

An overnight stay at the fabulous Lake Austin Spa brought out the perky puppy in her psyche.  The award-winning destination spa is nestled on 19 lakefront acres in Central – Texas’ legendary Hill Country  (just 35 minutes from downtown) and features dining al fresco with a view of the lake, a guest cottage with private garden patio, room service and unlimited attention from the staff.

Phoebe Rose and Sheila Appleby Williams enjoying the luxurious Lake Austin Spa

Phoebe Rose’s only reservation: The onsite mascot is a cat.

Several days later, we checked into the upscale downtown Hyatt Regency, overlooking Lady Bird Lake and adjacent to the off leash trails.

Texas hospitality, city slicker ambiance and a breakfast menu that features scrambled tofu with grits–the hotel had us at the first howdy.  Pet-friendly amenities include a tasty and nutritious pet menu, indoor and outdoor pet friendly eating areas, and even an obliging bell captain to take your pooch for an early morning potty break.  Phoebe Rose’s only concern: the glass elevators are a little disconcerting for canines with a fear of heights.

River view deluxe room at Hyatt Regency Austin.

Looking for a budget conscious alternative – as in free?  Grab your “best friend” and unleash your nature-loving libido by exploring the myriad of dog friendly parks, lakes and springs that transverse the city (best enjoyed in the early morning or evening hours) and give your furry friend a chance to cool down and enjoy some canine camaraderie.

The following are a few of the Celebrity Pug’s favorite pet friendly nature spots.

  • Austin’s Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) was renamed in honor of Lady Bird Johnson in 2007.   Lady Bird was actually instrumental in getting the area around the 416-acre lake transformed from an unsightly flood zone into a recreational centerpiece for the city. A “must do” for canines-a doggie Disneyland pet paradise featuring 10.1 miles of walking trails, plenty of off-leash areas, greenery, swimming, football stadium sized grounds, a mobile canine store, plenty of complimentary waste bags and fresh water and pet-inspired sculpture.

Phoebe Rose and pal, Aldous, share a reflective moment at Lady Bird Lake.

  •  Zilker Botanical Gardens has tons of dog-friendly hiking trails.

Hiking Trail-Zilker Park.

  • Great Outdogs.com- a mobile dog store that recently opened at Lady Bird Lake -the first vendor’s truck allowed by the city (the truck has eco-friendly features including solar panels).
  • Barton Springs is a popular with amphibious canines. The dog friendly section of Barton Springs, known to locals as “Barking Springs,” has a cascading waterfall that can rival any Las Vegas strip hotel and lush walking trails. The pool gets rave reviews-“truly refreshing and relaxing” (humans only) but the dog-friendly outlet on the east side is where the pool actually drains into the river forming an amphitheatre encircled by layers of rocks shelves–providing a perfect vantage point for non-swimmers (canine and human) to stretch out and survey the scene.

"Barking Springs"

Photos courtesy of the author.