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Wags for West Seattle

As Seattle’s largest and oldest neighborhood, West Seattle offers a plethora of places to sit, stay and play for both people and pooches.
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photography by Julie Clegg
It was a typcial spring morning in Seattle: a little rain, a little sun, a little mixed rain and sun. But, like any dog loving Seattleite, a little rain wasn’t stopping us from exploring one of our city’s largest, and most dog friendliest neighborhoods. Seattle is said to be a city of neighborhoods and West Seattle could be called a neighborhood of neighborhoods. A quick search online lists 24 neighborhoods within West Seattle. From Alki on the north end to White Center on the south end, West Seattle is a dog lover’s dream.

On a sunny day in Seattle, the hot spot is Alki, a long strip of beach that extends from Alki Point to the Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay. It’s the perfect place for a stroll any time of year, but especially in the spring and summer, it draws joggers, roller bladers, volleyball players, beachcombers, sunbathers, bicyclists and of course, dog lovers. We get lucky. Today is one of the first sunny days after a long, wet winter and Alki is hopping with two- and four-legged alike.

Our first pit stop (no pun intended), with pit bull Nelson and his buddies Gus and Ransom, is Slices, where we find an outdoor table on the spacious deck. We order a bucket of beer and pizza by the slice, while taking in the plethora of people and pooches walking by on “The Ave.”

For a little pick-me-up post pizza, we hop over to Pioneer Coffee, located right next door. The interior is tiny, but the outside seating area is spacious and we meet a bunch of new four-legged friends as their humans enjoy a cup of joe. We grab a latte and mingle for a bit before meandering north on Alki Avenue for a stop at the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the Boy Scouts of America in 1952 and popular gathering place.

Unfortunately, like most beaches in Washington, the sandy beach area at Alki is off limits to dogs, but the main path that runs 2.5 miles along the water is perfect for dog walking—or like Brad and Nelson, dog skateboarding.

With so much to see and do, we hop in our car for the short jaunt up to Admiral Way and California Avenue for a stop at Mud Bay. Mud Bay is a locally owned business, with 20 pet stores throughout the Puget Sound area. In addition to more than 500 formulas of cat and dog food, Mud Bay carries a wide assortment of treats, toys and accessories as well as features local artists and photographers. As of this printing, swing by and you will see photographer Julie Clegg’s dog photos on display.

Around the corner from Mud Bay on Admiral Way is Muttley Crew Cuts. Owner Kelly Rothenbuhler greets us, along with Louie, a springer spaniel rescue residing at the doggy daycare and boarding facility until he is placed with a foster family. Kelly works closely with rescue groups such as Dogs Deserve Better and Springer Spaniel Rescue Group. She says Louie was rescued along with three other springer spaniels from awful conditions. He and the others came to Muttley with matted, filthy fur, but luckily with grooming services on site, they were cleaned up in a jiffy.

Further south on California Avenue, is one of West Seattle’s most bustling neighborhoods, the Alaska Junction—or “the Junction” as locals call it. Here, you will find the infamous Easy Street Records, clothing boutiques, used bookstores and most notably, Next to Nature. This locally- and independently-owned pet store has been around since 1995, offering only the healthiest, all-natural foods and treats for your pets as well as a wide array of toys, collars, leashes and other accessories for discerning dogs. They also have adoptable cats onsite, so if you’re looking for a feline friend, be sure to pay them a visit.

One spot in the Junction we can’t resist is Clementine Shoes. Clementine owner Linda Walsh opened her shoe and accessories boutique in 2006 to share her passion for beautiful shoes, unique style and well-made finds. Speaking of, we find a pair of funky, blue Fluevogs to drool over while Gus is plied with treats for his patience.

Located across the street from Clementine, is Hotwire Online Coffeehouse—part coffee bar, part Internet café. Grab a cappuccino with your canine, and enjoy free wireless on your laptop or hop on one of their computers—to peruse Petfinder of course! The purchase of a tasty beverage grants you 15 minutes of Internet access on their machines. In a hurry? Hotwire is totally connected—you can text your order to them and what time you’ll be there and your coffee will be waiting for you upon arrival!

Side note: Not that you’ll need them on a dog’s day out in West Seattle—or we hope not anyway—but we thought it worth mentioning nearby Greentree Animal Hospital, where CityDog top dogs Scout and Ziggy are long time patients of Dr. McKim’s.

Coffeed up, we head south on California Avenue to Fauntleroy Way, where we take a right and follow it to Lincoln Park. One of Seattle’s best parks in my opinion, Lincoln includes 4.6 miles of walking paths, 3.9 miles of bike trails, five picnic shelters, acres of playfields, and an outdoor heated saltwater pool and bathhouse. Dogs aren’t allowed in the pool, but there are plenty of places to explore including a forested area at the top with miles of trails and a mile long walkway along the waterfront.

As the day closes, it’s time for happy hour, so we head back on Fauntleroy Way to the Morgan Junction. The Morgan Junction is not as bustling as the Alaska Junction, with as many shops and restaurants, but it is home to one place not to be missed—the Beveridge Place Pub. The Beveridge is a dog friendly oasis, with 25 beers on draught and over 100 bottled selections as well as wine, sparklers and ciders.

After a long day exploring West Seattle, Nelson, Gus and Ransom are ready for a nap as their humans sip cider ensconced in the Beveridge’s cozy, English-pub environment.

Also located in the Morgan Junction is the Wash Dog, a do-it-yourself or they-can-do-it-for-you bathhouse and spa for your dog, complete with all the ingredients to make your pooch sparkle. Further south on California Avenue is Stella Ruffington’s doggy playcare and kennel free boarding for your pooch to stay while you are away. And, be sure to swing by Pet Elements for high quality food and treats plus toys and other pet accessories.

Also worth a mention is White Center, located on the very south end of West Seattle. Once considered a sketchy part of town, White Center, and adjacent Westwood, have evolved into a funky, family- and dog-friendly neighborhood. Thirsty? Swing by the Triangle Tavern, where dogs are welcome. Does Fido need some training first? There’s Puppy Perfecters located right down the street. In need of some food and treats? Head to Pet Pros in Westwood Village.

Also located near White Center, is Westcrest Off Leash Area. Westcrest is a mixture of developed park and second growth forest covering 80-plus acres, and is adjacent to portions of the Duwamish greenbelt offering plenty of exploring opportunities. The park offers many on-leash trails and the off-leash area features a large fenced play area plus a small dog/shy dog play area.

If all of this “dog-friendliness” has you itching to move to West Seattle then the newly-built Link Apartments and sister property, Mural Apartments, have you covered. Both are pet friendly and located within walking distance to the Alaska Junction.

Whether you live here, are moving here, or just visiting, West Seattle is a dog lover’s paradise, providing plenty of places to sit, stay and play for humans and hounds.

Gear up for West Seattle at the CityDog Shop.

More Information
2600 Marine Ave SW

Mud Bay
2611 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

Pioneer Coffee
2536 Alki Ave SW

Muttley Crew Cuts
4200 SW Admiral Way Seattle, WA 98116

Hotwire Coffeehouse
4410 California Ave SW

Clementine Shoes
4447 California Ave SW

Greentree Animal Hospital
4440 California Ave SW

Next to Nature
4543 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

Beveridge Place Pub
6413 California Ave SW

Wash Dog
6400 California Ave SW

Stella Ruffington’s
7003 California Avenue SW

Pet Elements
6701 California Avenue SW

Pioneer Coffee
2536 Alki Ave SW
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