In a dog-eat-dog company town like Hollywood, the Laurel Canyon dog park, perched above Beverly Hills and Bel Air on Mulholland Drive, gives new meaning to the term doing business. Ostensibly the park’s popularity lies in its leash-free hours: Canines can cavort unfettered before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m., in the only place where L.A.’s 500,000 dog owners can legally let their pets romp unrestrained. But given the park’s A-list location, LCDP has also become a power place to Meet Cute.
”We desperately need other dog parks — the last thing we need is some article talking about all the celebrities who use it,” sniffs Cathy Doyle, executive officer of ParkWatch, which lobbied for leash-free laws. Still, let’s talk about who uses it: Pedigreed pet owners include Drew Barrymore and fiance Jamie Walters, Ione Skye and Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, Julie Hagerty (Princesses), Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years), Lisa Bonet (A Different World), Ricki Lake (Hairspray), Justine Bateman (Family Ties), and MTV VJ Martha Quinn.
”My favorite dog-park story happened to a friend,” says Sharon Liveten, publicity director for Slash Records. ”This really familiar-looking guy came over and started talking to her. It wasn’t until he left that she realized she was giving obedience pointers to Bruce Springsteen.”
”I’ve had producers approach me, men who use who they are to get dates,” says Carol Dobson, who works as a writer’s assistant at Carolco Pictures. ”And there are all these Chippendale’s-dancer types who borrow dogs so they can hit on girls. I had one guy say, ‘Hi, my name’s Thunder!’ and I asked Thunder what his dog’s name was and he had to look at the license.”
While weekends bring out the wannabes in packs, genuine dog people hit the park early or late in the day. But since so many dogs have their day at Laurel Canyon, some owners have gone ”underground,” running their pets at lesser-known sites like Fryman Canyon. Hey, it’s a dog’s life.