We’re sorry to report that one of the great Pasadena dogs, and a featured fellow in our book Hometown Pasadena, has passed away. Otto Miller accompanied his mistress, Sally Miller, on her quest to walk every block in Pasadena. In memory of Otto, here’s what we wrote in the book:
Sally Miller is a professional organizer by trade, so when she does something, she does it in a terribly organized fashion. In 2005, she decided that her regular dog-walking route through her Southwest Pasadena neighborhood had become boring—so she got a map and set out to walk every single block in the city of Pasadena. “I love having a project, and I love Pasadena,” she says. “I’d lived here twenty years but felt like I didn’t really know it.” Ten months and some 530 miles later, Sally and Otto, her stubby-legged, walk-loving dog, ended their journey with a walk to City Hall with Mayor Bill Bogaard.
Sally had a system, of course, tracking each walk by color-coding her routes on a map and keeping a journal of every outing. Friends or her husband went along for some of the walks, but mostly it was just Sally ‘n’ Otto.
“I loved every street,” she says. “There are nice gardens in every neighborhood, and there’s a run-down house in every neighborhood, too. I never felt afraid, even in the so-called bad neighborhoods, except sometimes I was afraid of dogs.” They found blocks of Craftsman houses just waiting to be restored, little restaurants to return to and hidden pockets of the ‘60s ranch houses that she loves.
As for Sally’s walking discoveries, two stood out:
1. Arroyo Terrace, on the east flank of the Rose Bowl. “You have this incredible collection of Greene & Greene houses next to this amazing Buff & Hensman condo building, with the bonus of views of the Rose Bowl and the Arroyo. I’d lived here all these years and never knew about this.”
2. Glen Oaks, on the hillside above Linda Vista. “It’s kind of tricky—you have to wiggle your way up San Rafael north of Colorado, and you might hit a few dead-ends. But when you get to the top, past a new development of megamansions so ugly that you want to burn them down, you’ll find the most amazing 330-degree view, from Glendale across Los Angeles to Pasadena and beyond.”
After conquering Pasadena, Sally ‘n’ Otto went on to walk every street in Altadena, where several of her friends live; La Canada, where her son attends school; and South Pasadena, where she used to live. In recent months, Otto was too weak to handle more than a stroll to the corner, so Sally’s been walking alone.