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The 7 Best Places To Dog-Watch Around L.A. (Even If You Don't Have A Dog)

It is an indisputable fact of modern life that nothing is good except for dogs. Maybe, at some distant point in the past, other things were good, but now it's just dogs, and frankly, as a non-dog-owner, I don't feel I should be denied the joy of looking at adorable canines just because my landlord "doesn't allow pets" and I "can't sustain life."

To that end, I've put together a list of dog-watching spots around L.A. that won't make you feel weird for not bringing along a dog of your own. Obviously, if you're going to engage in the ancient and sacred art of dog-watching, be discreet—and always ask permission before approaching, petting or Instagramming someone else's pup.

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Huskies cooling off at Laurel Canyon Park. (Photo by Ciara F. via Yelp)

LAUREL CANYON DOG PARK

Runyon Canyon may be the place to hike with your dog, but Laurel Canyon is the place to not hike while looking at someone else's dog, and we think there's value in that too. The park sits at the bottom of a clearing within the canyon, so there's plenty of open space and some incredible views—particularly if you're there at sunset, just as the dog park is closing. Laurel Canyon Dog Park offers a fenced-off area for "small, timid dogs" (aw), but more confident canines can go off-leash in a large 3-acre dog run, and maybe you can pet one.

Laurel Canyon Dog Park is located at 8260 Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles. The dog park is open every day from sunrise to sunset, and closes every Friday for maintenance from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. (818) 766-8445

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The facade of Vanderpump Dogs in Beverly Grove. (Photo via Facebook)

VANDERPUMP DOGS

Diehard Vanderpump Rules fans will need no introduction to this L.A. institution, but for the rest of you, allow me to explain: reality star Lisa Vanderpump rose to fame on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, soon landing her own show, Vanderpump Rules, which chronicles the events of the staff at Vanderpump's West Hollywood restaurant SUR (which, I would be remiss not to note, stands for Sexy Unique Restaurant.) In addition to all that, Vanderpump also owns the Vanderpump Dogs pet adoption service in the Beverly Grove neighborhood. The neon pink-hued rescue center focuses on finding "forever homes" for adoptable shelter dogs, and is open to the public, which makes it the ideal dog-watching zone (and place to adopt, if you can swing it.) Plus, where else are you going to get your limited-edition Lisa Vanderpump-brand rhinestone velour dog hoodie?

Vanderpump Dogs is located at 8134 West 3rd St in the Beverly Grove area. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (323) 852-3647

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(Photo via Facebook)

MARU COFFEE

You can't throw an artisanal organic dog bone in Los Feliz without hitting at least one latte-sipping screenwriter and his loyal four-legged companion (note: please don't throw dog bones, or bones of any sort, in Los Feliz.) Still, Maru Coffee is the neighborhood's number one dog-owner flex destination, even generating its own #DogsOfMaru Instagram hashtag. Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is arguably peak dog hour, if you want to time your hungover caffeine fix accordingly.

Maru Coffee is located at 1936 Hillhurst Ave in Los Feliz. (323) 741-8483

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An uncertain visitor at Rosie's Dog Beach. (Photo by Dennis Y. via Yelp)

ROSIE'S DOG BEACH

It's a dog beach. How much more information do you need? This Long Beach destination's "Dog Zone" is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and it holds the distinction of being one of the few beach areas where dogs get to frolic off-leash. Marked by—what else?—dog silhouettes in the sand, the dog beach was created in 2001 by Long Beach community activist Justin Rudd, who was inspired by his own four-legged friend, a 38-pound bulldog named Rosie. There's usually plenty of free street parking in the area, so you don't have to worry about feeding the meter. Just kick back with some pita chips and watch a pug chase a seagull, as God intended.

Rosie's Dog Beach is located at 5000 E. Ocean Blvd, at the water between Roycroft and Granada avenues in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach. (562) 570-3100

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"Biggie" at The Dog Cafe. (Photo by Annie Lesser/LAist)

THE DOG CAFE

We've written before about The Dog Cafe, L.A.'s canine-centric spin on the popular cat cafe concept—basically, you make a reservation online, stop in, order your coffee and then get to spend 55 minutes hanging out with dogs. Perfection. The dogs at the cafe are available for fostering and adoption, so it's sort of like a cozier twist on a traditional animal shelter, one where you get to pet cute dogs while knocking back an espresso. The Virgil Village spot holds the distinction of being the first dog cafe of its kind in the U.S., and the Dog Cafe website allows you get familiar with its dogs before hanging out with them in person. (Someone please foster or adopt Boo, a Cain Corso mix nicknamed "The Big Baby," because I looked into his eyes via the photo on the website and now I am deeply in love and need to know that he's found a forever home where someone will love him and kiss his nose.)

The Dog Cafe is located at 240 N Virgil Ave 12 & 12B, Los Angeles. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m, and reservations can be made here. (323) 485-4077.

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A dog and his air plants. (Photo by Y H via Yelp)

MELROSE TRADING POST

Flea market aficionados love Melrose Trading Post for its live music, well-stocked food court and wide variety of overpriced picture frames vintage home goods, but did you know that the open-air market, held Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fairfax High School, is a veritable who's-who of L.A. dogs? While some flea markets merely tolerate man's best friend, Melrose actively encourages shoppers to bring their dogs (albeit on leashes), even featuring them on Instagram with a welcoming #DogsOfMTP hashtag. A fringe benefit of dog-watching at Melrose is that owners are often so distracted sifting through armloads of vintage scarves, their dogs are particularly enthusiastic about pats.

Melrose Trading Post is located at Fairfax High School, 7850 Melrose Ave in the Melrose area. The flea market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. (323) 655-7679


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(Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society, via Facebook)

BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY

If you're so into dogs that you read this entire post, you should probably just volunteer to hang out with them already. Best Friends Animal Society in Mission Hills lets you get involved in a variety of tasks, "from animal care to cleaning." Best Friends Animal Society's annual "Strut Your Mutt" event, in which people walk with their pups to raise money for the animal shelter, is coming up on October 21 in Exposition Park, and it's as prime a dog-watching opportunity as you'll get.

Best Friends Animal Society is located at 15321 Brand Blvd in Mission Hills. They are open daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. (818) 643-3989