Jake the Yellow-Lab-sort-of-dog and Maria Goodavage have traveled throughout California to check out some of the most dog-friendly parks, beaches, lodgings, and restaurants in the world. As part of their research, they've ridden on ferries, horse-drawn carriages, cable cars, gondolas, and steam trains. They've visited chichi art galleries, dumpy drive-in movies, kitschy tourist attractions, dog-friendly wineries, high-end stores, ski resorts, major-league ballgames, and even had high tea together. They've eaten at restaurants where dogs are treated almost like people (except they never get the bill). They've stayed at the best hotels, the worst flea-bitten motels, and everything in between. Jake's favorite saying: “You're not really gonna leave the house without me, are ya?” (This is usually accompanied by all his extra folds of neck skin drooping forward into his face, his floppy ears hanging especially low, his tail sagging dejectedly, and his big seal-like eyes looking wet and wide and oh-so-woeful.)
Since Jake still doesn't have a driver's license after all these years, he relies on Maria, former longtime USA Today correspondent, to be his chauffeur. Maria is well qualifiedshe started chauffeuring dogs many years back, when her intrepid Airedale, Joe, joined her during some of her travels for the newspaper. With all of their experiences on the road, it was only a matter of time before a book was born, followed by a series of books. Both The Dog Lover's Companion to California and The Dog Lover's Companion to the San Francisco Bay Area are now in their seventh editions.
Maria is a freelance writer, as well as an editor and blogger for Dogster, one of the most widely read dog websites in the world. She lives near the beach in San Francisco with her husband, their daughter, and Jake.
Phil Frank (19432007) penned the cartoon strip Farley for more than 21 years.