Rant: No pooches on Pearl Street.

Boulder’s Pearl Street won’t get my business. This is not the fault of any shop owner or restaurant, but it will be at their expense. On every street crossing on the ever-busy street reads a sign: “No Wheels, No Pets, Dismount Bicycles.” I completely understand the first and third requirements—both make sure pedestrians can leisurely enjoy the open-air space. But why no pets? It all seems very, well, un-Boulder.

Before I knew about this rule, my husband and I wandered up to Boulder to spend a spring afternoon on Pearl Street with our dogs. As soon as our feet and paws stepped onto the pedestrian thoroughfare, everyone including a panhandling gentleman, told us that we better ditch the dogs or risk paying a hefty fine. I’d rather ditch the mall than ditch my rovers, and so we left Pearl Street.

Boulder’s website reads, “According to Section 6-1-17 ‘Animals on Mall Prohibited.’ No animals are allowed on the four blocks of the pedestrian mall. Of course, the exception to this regulation is a marked service animal.” The law has been on the books for more than 30 years. Maybe it’s time for a change.

And if you decide not to heed the warnings, the Boulder Police will slap you with a $100 ticket. The immediate rebuttal is that people don’t clean up after their pups. (I do.) Or, that there may be conflicts between two-legged and four-legged walkers. (A well-trained dog is the last disturbance I would be worried about on Pearl Street.) Instead of hunting down well-mannered dogs and their owners, why not punish the handful of disrespectful non-poop-picker-uppers?

Rave: Tony Grampsas Dog Park in Golden

Midweek, when we are shuffling tight schedules and taking advantage of the little free time we have, it’s easy to just stop by one of the metro’s dog parks (read: dirt fields) to let our rovers roam. These parks are perfectly pleasant, but for a dog and nature lover, the packed earth is lacking. I’d rather head to the Tony Grampsas Dog Park on the northeast side of Golden.

This park is like a sliver of a mountain hike without the drive or the time commitment. The 2.5-acre park is shaded with large trees, and in the summer a creek runs through the park into a small pond (cue: happy water dogs, like mine). The park has a few picnic tables, hill, and plenty of obstacles to tire my dogs out.

Getting there: From Denver, there are two ways to get to the park. Either take I-70 to the Golden Freeway and jump off on the McIntryre Street exit, or take 32nd Avenue west to McIntyre Street. Then take a left on West 44th Avenue, then a right on Salvia Street. The park sits hidden behind the baseball field on the far north side of the park.