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Travel BLOG
January 20, 2015

Rocket’s Guide to Pet-Friendly Santa Cruz

Meet Rocket. Well hello there...
Picture: Garrick Ramirez Rocket is a fetching Rhodesian Ridgeback and proud Santa Cruz local. You may also recognize him as one of the stars of our 2013 Travelers Guide. Rocket was adopted in 2010 by Lori Siegmund and her spouse Howard Sherer – the publisher of our guide – after being rescued by the county’s animal shelter. The story of how he went from rescue dog to Santa Cruz poster pup is a sweet one. PUPPY LOVE Lori tells me that she fell in love with Rhodesian Ridgebacks after first encountering the breed while jogging at Rio Del Mar State Beach in Aptos. Before Rocket, she and Howard owned two Ridgebacks, but after having to say goodbye to them in 2009, she decided it was time to take a break between pets. Well, the break only lasted a few months before she was soon volunteering as a dog walker for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, the county’s only full service, open-admission animal shelter. Lori also started thinking about another Ridgeback. Through her work with the shelter, Lori decided to adopt rather than find a new dog through a breeder. As she says, “There are too many animals out there looking for a home through no fault of their own.” So she and Howard got in touch with a Bay Area group that rescues Ridgebacks. It turns out, they didn’t need to. An abandoned Ridgeback was found in Aptos and rescued by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter where Lori was volunteering. It was Rocket. He was under a year, extremely fearful, had no identifying tags or chips and was terribly skinny. Lori says she snuck away during her lunch break every day to bring him extra food and treats. No one claimed him and soon Lori and Howard brought him home with plans to adopt. Four years later, Lori reports that Rocket is happy, healthy and a bundle of love. Although he still exhibits some separation anxiety from time to time, a recent move by Lori and Howard from a rural setting to the city of Santa Cruz has him becoming more socialized. I got a chance to play with Rocket in between taking photos for this piece and he is a fun and friendly pup. The doggie treats that Howard gave me may have helped. Relaxing at the beach...
Picture: Garrick Ramirez DOG-FRIENDLY SANTA CRUZ What's Rocket's recs for dog-friendly destinations in town? His favorite place to romp is the Forest of Nisene Marks where he goes bonkers over the many vivid smells of the forest. And like most Santa Cruz locals, you'll often catch him enjoying the area's great beaches. He's a regular at a wide stretch of sand between Rio del Mar State Beach and Manresa State Beach in Aptos. In Santa Cruz proper, he's a fan of two West Cliff spots: Lighthouse Field State Beach (aka “Its Beach”) and Mitchell’s Cove, where pups can frolic off-leash (during certain hours). Come chow time, pups aren't allowed inside any place that serves food, but most eateries with outdoor seating are happy to host fido. Rocket loves the many Downtown Santa Cruz eateries as well as local brewpubs like Seabright Brewery. But where he enjoys the rock star treatment is at the Chaminade Resort & Spa which pampers pooches with a dedicated Pooch Patio Menu, serving delectables from chewy Yappetizers to meaty Faux Paw Entrees. And for the sweet canine tooth there are even doggie desserts! When relaxing at home, Rocket plans his next outing by boning up on the pet-friendly listings on our site. Having some off-leash fun
Picture: Garrick Ramirez A NEW 2015 TRAVELER’S GUIDE So how did Rocket end up being involved in the photo shoot for the 2013 Traveler’s Guide cover? While planning the guide, Visitor Council staff described to Howard the type of dog needed for the photo shoot and he thought, "Hey, that sounds like Rocket." Soon after, the handsome hound – as well as his furry doppelganger Kooper who stood in for Rocket when he was tired and vice versa – was modeling with his human counterparts down by the Walton Lighthouse at the Santa Cruz Harbor. The 2013 Santa Cruz County Traveler's Guide This month marks the release of the 2015 Traveler’s Guide, our 20th anniversary edition! You can order your copy by clicking here. And extra special thanks to its publisher Howard Sherer, his wife Lori Siegmund, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, and last but not least, our pal Rocket. PS: If you are looking for a furry friend or for volunteer options to support your community and help the amazing animals waiting for a forever home – look no further! Check out the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter as well as the Santa Cruz SPCA. Adopt or volunteer and change some lives!


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  • Dana 3 years 212 days ago
    Thanks, Rocket! I've always loved Ridgebacks - great dogs!

  • LOOLA 3 years 213 days ago
    Dog lovers would you like to see more off-leash beaches in Santa Cruz County? Right now, there is only 1 beach that is legal off-leash, and Santa Cruz County Parks and Recreation has recommended that the Board of Supervisors put on their agenda an Off-Leash Pilot Program at 21st Avenue County Park Beach!
    Please sign our petition to have more off-leash legal beaches:

  • Maggie Ivy 3 years 213 days ago
    GREAT BLOG! I've fallen in love with Rocket and Santa Cruz County, all over again!!