Every dog has its day at gardens

At Tucson Botanical Gardens, Darlene Smyth, left, and papillon Nickie find some company in Debbie Herrington with Barklie, standing against her leg, and Dixie, also papillons.

Tucson is apparently the most dog-friendly city in the U.S. 

At least according to a study publicized earlier this week by the financial technology company SmartAsset

The company, which says it creates content and tools to help consumers make smart financial choices, looked at the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents, the number of dog-friendly restaurants and shops, city walkability, the number of rainy days in a year and median home values to compare 100 cities. 

And Tucson ranked No. 1, with more than 240 dog-friendly restaurants (according to the crowd-sourced site BringFido.com), four dog-friendly shopping centers and barely any rainy days at all. Plus, it was the most affordable city in the study's top 10. 

SmartAsset pulled a lot of its data from BringFido.com, which we recommend if you're looking for a giant list of places where you can take your pooch. (Go here and scroll down to Data and Methodology to see where else SmartAsset got its data.)

You should know that in April, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation making it illegal to misrepresent an animal as a service animal in a public place or business, so make a call to clarify if you're uncertain whether your pooch is welcome somewhere. 

In the meantime, if you're looking to pamper your (well-behaved) pup with a doggy date, here are some of our favorite dog-friendly destinations. (Keep in mind that some of these dates are best enjoyed when it's not 115 degrees outside).

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Dogs on leashes are welcome at Tucson Botanical Gardens daily, June through September. Admission for your pet is $3.

Through Sept. 30, you can take your leashed dog to the gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, with a $20 membership (which includes all-day access throughout the summer) or $3 per visit. There's also a photo opp for puppy portraits 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23. It's $10 for one pose or $15 for two poses. 

More information here

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Giada, a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, sits pretty in her Halloween costume beside Rudy Moreno at Bookman's on Grant Rd. and Campbell Ave. on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Photo by: Rebecca Noble / for Arizona Daily Star

Browse for books with your leashed dogs. Just make sure they behave well and don't bark. Tucson's Bookmans locations are 6230 E. Speedway3733 W. Ina Road and 3330 E. Speedway.

More information here.  

A Loyal Companion

Ellie, a golden retriever and Callie, a border collie, emerge soaking wet from the pool at A Loyal Companion, 4758 E. Grant Road. Nearby, Nikki Frahm holds Maddie, another golden (and Ellie’s buddy). The facility is a fully dedicated canine gym.

This is a POOL just for your dogs! The indoor pool and gym, 4758 E. Grant Road, hosts open swims, private swims, lessons and even puppy pool parties. They also offer obedience classes, seminars, training, dog massages and even the occasional dog-centric book clubs! Your dog's initial swim is $20 for a 30-minute swim. Depending on how that goes, open swim costs $25 for 60 minutes. 

More information here

Meet Me At Maynards


Take a walk downtown with friends and bring your pup, too. The weekly walk/run starts near Maynards Market and Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave., and traces two, three or four miles, depending on your preference. The free, Monday walk begins at 5:15 p.m. and you definitely don't have to arrive on the dot. You can also help Tucson walk to the moon through the Maynards to the Moon initiative, encouraging residents to cumulatively walk the 238,000 miles to the moon between now and the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's moonwalk July 20, 2019. 

More information here

Rosie's Barkét


This is where you come to pamper your pooch. Just off of Fourth Avenue (327 E. Seventh St.), this dog boutique has treats, toys, grooming products, a self-serve wash station and even a small play area. 

More information here

La Encantada 

Zoe, a Chihuahua-poodle owned by Liliana Valenzuela, was a little hesitant before getting her picture taken with Santa at La Encantada. There was also pet merchandise for sale with the proceeds going to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

The upscale shopping center, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, is home to PAWSH at La Encantada, a pet boutique and small dog and cat adoption center by the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (on Saturday, Aug. 11, the shop is celebrating its birthday with merchandise and some adoption fees reduced). The outdoor mall is also pet-friendly and many of the stores keep bowls of water outside their shops, plus restaurants such as Blanco Tacos and Tequila and Ra Sushi have patios where your dog can chill while you eat. 

More information here

Hub Ice Cream Factory


Not only can your dog come inside the ice cream shop, 245 E. Congress St., as you sample flavors, but the store actually sells "Pupsicles" made of Greek yogurt, bananas and peanut butter for $3. One dollar of each sale goes toward the pet therapy organization Gabriel's Angels. 

More information here

Smiling Dog Ranch at George Mehl Foothills Park


This dirt dog park, 4000 E. River Road, will give your pup a chance to run around with other dogs off-leash. There are trees, seating and even a concrete pipe for your dog to run through.

More information here