Sep 262012
 

We’ve always thought the best part of travel was discovering new things from other places and finding ways to incorporate them into our every day lives so each day feels like a vacation. But a vacation that includes our dogs. We spent much of the summer recreating one of our most memorable trips, but it wasn’t until the other weekend when I re-discovered one of our favorite things right here in Chicago.

Our favorite part of our last trip was spending the day in Jardin du Luxembourg. Maybe it was being among the history. Or the ornate statues and gardens. Or just the ability to stop and relax.

Little did I realize we had our own urban “formal garden” option which also happens to be dog-friendly.

Sure, our garden wasn’t built for royalty but the Humboldt Park formal gardens are part of the larger European-inspired park with its circular garden, pergolas, and statues. The park is framed by two large bison statues that were originally designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition by the same sculptor who made the lions in front the Art Institute of Chicago (seen in this video here, with Boris!).
We even had a photo of Mr. B trying to ‘get fresh’ with the bison, here.

It is fun trying to see our city in a different way. What other types of vacation-like things do you do in your city with your pups?

Our other favorite part of the Jardin we were able to re-create and more historical urban parks.
And…Miss M stares at flowers.

Oct 212011
 

After receiving a summer-full of some fantastic posts, we learned so many things we could do with our dogs. While we’re sad to see the series go, it did inspire us to be creative and continue be a Tourist in Our Own City with the pooches, even though the great weather and summer festivals are over. Here are some ways to be a Tourist with Your Dog in Chicago during the fall:

Appreciate Fall Foliage in Turn-of-the-Century Parks 

Through our SociaBulls walks we’ve been exploring more of the urban parks around the city. While they were gorgeous in the summer, we’re excited to see how these Victorian-style parks look decked out in fall colors. Plus, it’s even better with the company of 20+ of our favorite dog friends.

Take the Dog-Walking Desert Tour 

We wrote before about the dessert tour we like to take in our neighborhood. We’re excited to load up the pooches backpacks, pick up some fresh-baked ciabatta bread for some grilled cheese and tomato soup and finish with some pumpkin pie.

Take Downtown Art Walks

Tourists flock downtown during the summer making it way too crowded for the pooches. Now we can catch a cab with the pooches and visit some of the city’s outdoor art. I don’t think the pooches have ever seen a  Picasso statue before.

Have ‘Crisp Weather’ Impromptu Picnics 

We love having impromptu picnics while on our daily walk, and though the weather is getting cooler, we can still grab a foldable pizza slice from Paula & Monica or a hot chocolate and baguette.
Does anyone else have any fun fall-weather activities you do with your pooches?

And Now for Some Winners….
Miss M and Mr. B wanted to use the Tourist in Your Own City Series to donate to the rescues of choice to the 2 posts with the most comments. The pooches will be donating $75 to Heart of America Humane Society to support dogs like foster dog Ginger in Kansas, City. And they will be donating another $75 to East CAN in Nashville which helps dogs like Charlotte.

Also, Sirius Republic decided to give away 2 collars, through random drawing, open to everyone who submitted a post. Levi is very proud of his very own Sirius “Adopt Me’ collar advertising his single status. We ranked the posts in the order they ran, and we used a random number generator to pick the following winners: Shiva from Nova Scotia, and Sadie, Maggie, and Hurley from Portland. Congrats!


		
Oct 142011
 

When we started this ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ series, we were curious to see how people travel, or have staycations in their own city, with their dogs. We weren’t sure whether we would even get many posts, but we were surprised to get so many posts with so many diverse experiences. Plus, we started seeing people going out and trying new things with their pooches and getting a lot of amazing tips to help with dog travel. We especially loved reading this post where Laura says: We just want to thank everyone who has participated in this series, or made comments on previous posts! You gave us the courage and ammunition to take this trip and make it a stress-free success! Read about her experiences, and her own tips, as they travel with their 2 pooches to Saugatuck, Michigan.

 Thanks to this series, I was able to pull off a successful, surprise birthday trip for my husband from the Chicago area to Saugatuck, Michigan with our two dogs: Indy (our adopted mix) and Tessa (our foster-to-adopt bully mix).
Since we have a small hatchback, we didn’t really try dog seatbelts, but I think we will next time (or some other contraption — taking suggestions). After a few different configurations, the dogs finally settled down in the car … in very strange places.

This was our first ever trip with dogs, and even though it’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from our house to Saugatuck, we planned on making a halfway stop at Round Barn Winery in Baroda, Michigan since we didn’t know how they would handle the long ride. Thanks to the tips from previous posts, I learned about GoPetFriendly.com, which was awesome in planning our whole trip, and we were excited to take this stop!

The facility was extremely dog-friendly, as long as dogs were leashed. We were even allowed to bring the dogs in the tasting rooms while we sampled wines in the winery and beer in the brewery. We strolled through the vineyards and were very grateful for the poop bag stations Round Barn had throughout the property!

Through HomeAway.com, I booked a last-minute stay at a dog-friendly studio apartment in downtown Saugatuck. If you are looking to stay in the Saugatuck/South Haven area, I would highly suggest going through LakeShore Lodging as they have many dog-friendly rentals. They even surprised us with a doggie bag upon arrival!

Saugatuck is small, and there were only 2 dog-friendly restaurants listed on GoPetFriendly.com, so we did a few rounds of take out, but we didn’t mind waiting outside the restaurant …

… or at a park while the restaurants prepared our food. We don’t think the dogs minded, either since Saugatuck has beautiful areas overlooking the harbor.

We did find an awesome, inexpensive restaurant called Pumpernickel’s that allowed dogs on their sidewalk seating. Since we don’t live in Chicago proper, this was a nice little treat for us!

One thing we did find, was adding bandanas to the dogs seemed to make them 10 times more approachable to the people and tourists of Saugatuck. I tried to find cuter, friendlier bandanas on the trip, but came out empty-handed. Next time, I will be prepared!
We will be the first to admit that we are coffee snobs, so we were very happy to discover that Uncommon Grounds in Saugatuck had a doggie-walk-up ordering window and allowed dogs in their outdoor seating area where we met new (and incredibly giant) dog buddies, who are also from Chicago!

I was personally so excited about the walk-up window, that I submitted Uncommon Grounds to GoPetFriendly.com.
After a short trip, we were on our way home and in the car, yet again. Although Indy and Tessa became traveling nap champions, and probably would have slept the whole way home, we planned another halfway stop at Grand Mere State Park. We walked the wooded trails, climbed the dunes and played in Lake Michigan for the first time (for the dogs, not us!).

The beach was very rocky, so we would suggest wearing sandals, some type of water shoe or have webbed feet when visiting.

It was a great way to finish off our trip as it exhausted all of us. We will warn you though, if you plan on stopping at Grand Mere, be prepared for a workout on the dunes to get to the beach!

Tips/Things We Learned:
1) Packing portioned bags of dog food (from Reggies’s post) was brilliant! I would have never thought of this on my own. But since we do have one picky eater that hardly ate on the trip (probably from all the excitement), I would pack a couple of cups of microwaveable rice and a few cans of wet food next time to entice him to eat.
2) Bring all of your dog’s vet work with you in a binder. You may never know when you will need it. We ended up putting the dogs in a local doggie daycare for one day, and the binder made everything so easy!
3) Since we were staying in a rental where a security deposit was necessary, I brought an extra bed sheet from home to cover the white (eek!) sofa with since I had nightmares of muddy and sandy paw prints all over that pretty white upholstery by the time we left! Clearly, we are failing still working on the no-dogs-on-furniture rule.
4) If you have larger dogs, don’t be shy about dressing them up a bit in a new town. We learned from Mr. B and Ms. M that a few accessories go a long way in the eyes of strangers. From what we saw, Saugatuck had many small dogs and designer dogs, and we got a few nervous looks from passersby when we were walking the town. Some even avoided us by crossing the street, or sanding in the grass as we walked down the sidewalk. Once we added the magical bandanas, we were getting compliments nonstop on how polite and sweet our dogs were, which were very refreshing responses!
5) If you are new to traveling with your dog like us, we would suggest traveling on off days. We went up to Saugatuck on a Monday and came home on a Wednesday to avoid the heavy crowds.

Thanks again to everyone who did make this series a success!

Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by foster dog Levi. We will be having our drawing, and announcing our rescue donation winners, next week.
Oct 072011
 
When we started this series, we were curious to see what activities other people do with dogs in their hometowns, see an insider’s view of their city, and get ideas for a roadtrip. We were especially excited to see this post from Memphis as my family lives there, but we have never taken our pooches to visit. With the help of gorgeous Parker and his entourage of dog friends, they give us this incredibly detailed lowdown from different types of parks (including the largest urban park in the nation!), recommended doggie daycares, parades, Farmer’s Markets (complete with dogsitting!), and concerts.
The south has long been known as a place with LONG, HOT (and humid) summers and mild winters that come crashing to a halt with the sign of a single now flurry. However, I’m sure the term “dog days of summer” was coined somewhere close to the bluff city aka Memphis, TN.  But a little humidity and heat doesn’t stop humans and canines from enjoying a little fun around town.
My name is Rachel and I live in Memphis, TN with my 8-year old Catahoula, named Parker. There are so many excellent things to do for a person and their loyal companion to do around town. Parker and I like to explore them all together.

 First on our list Memphis Parks  – off leash or on leash we always have a blast.

OFF LEASH
1. Shelby Farms

Memphis is quite lucky to have a plethora of parks around town, but did you know we have the largest urban park in the country? It’s true – Memphis is home to Shelby Farms, which is a park larger than NYC’s Central Park and SF Golden Gate Park. The best part about Shelby Farms Park though is the large off-leash dog park. I’m not quite sure the number of acre’s the off-leash dog park encompasses, but it boosts 4-5 lakes, hiking paths, tall grass and a dog washing station. You can spend well over an hour walking in various directions or stay in one place watching your dog swim alongside his or her 4-legged friends. Others still however use the large space to train their retrieving dogs for hunting or other retrieving purposes. This park is a fantastic place to meet up with friends or just go on a long trail run/bike ride with your dog. 

 2. Midtown Dog Park

One of the two other off-leash dog parks located in the city is the Memphis Midtown Dog Park (@ Tobey Field). The park is sectioned off into two fenced in areas. One section is dedicated to small dogs, while the other area allows medium/large size dogs to play freely. It’s been open for over a year and it’s really become a gathering spot for dog owners. People have brought out baby pools and toys to entertain both dogs and humans alike. Although the space isn’t as vast as Shelby Farms it’s small feel and fund loving people keeps the crowds coming back.

3. Germantown Dog Park

 This park located in a Memphis suburb (right on the border of Germantown/Memphis) also has a two sectioned off areas for small or medium/large dogs to play in, but you must purchase a dog park pass  ($50 annually for Germantown residents/$100 for Memphis residents) for the year. This dog park is unique because it offers a dog agility course.

ON LEASH
1. Memphis Greenbelt Park

 Located downtown in an area called Harbor Town is the Memphis Greenbelt Park. This park is a beautiful site that runs parallel to the Mighty Mississippi – great for a sunrise or sunset outing for you and pup pal.

2. Greater Memphis Greenline/Wolf River Greenway both act as connectors to Shelby Farms Park. 

 Why drive your car when you can walk, run, bike or rollerblade with your four-legged friend to Shelby Farms. The Greater Memphis Greenline (http://www.shelbyfarmsgreenline.org/) was an abandoned rail(s) to trails project that runs east-west in Memphis. The Wolf River Greenway runs beside the Wolf River in Memphis and Germantown. Both these paved paths provide miles of trails to peruse neighborhoods or get some exercise for you and your pal.

DOGGIE DAY CARE 
 Dog day cares have become essential to hard working professionals around Memphis. They provide a great source of enrichment for dogs that may be trapped inside for long hours. Plus the day cares often have parties who introduce you to your pup’s new friends.

1. Dogs Rule (http://www.dogsrulememphis.com/) 

 The original doggie day care in Memphis is located in Midtown Memphis. Dogs Rule provides a safe and fun place for dogs to play while their owners are toiling at work. Their staff is knowledgeable and caring with dog wranglers who have been working since the establishment opened.

2. Brown Dog Lodge (http://www.browndoglodge.com/) 

Opened in the last four years as a day care and boarding facility it provides a fantastic operation in East Memphis. They provide an array of services including a spa like experience for your dog. Owners at work or vacation need not worry as they can always check in on their pups happens via the web cams that can be viewed from their website.

SPECIAL EVENTS – Memphis has a few special events throughout the year that may give you and your dog an opportunity to hit the town together.

1. Bark In The Park

 The AAA baseball team, Memphis Redbirds (http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t235), hosts an event each spring where you can bring your dog to a baseball game. The day at the park includes bleacher or bluff seats and pet owner/dog look a like contest.  What a great way to spend the afternoon and support the Memphis Redbirds.

2. 4th of July Parade (High Point Terrace) 

Each 4th of July weekend the High Point Terrance neighborhood hosts an annual parade where dogs are encouraged to attend.  People dress up their dogs with red, white and blue bandanas or walk them around in the parade around the block. Neighbors set-up water stations for the dogs to get a refreshing drink along the parade route.

3. Dog Days of August

 All dogs and their owners were invited to Memphis Botanic Gardens (http://www.memphisbotanicgarden.com/) to enjoy a day of activities to beat the heat this past summer. The afternoon was filled with a doggie-expo, a hot diggity dog play pool area and a variety of dog contests that ranged from tricks to costumes.

4. Memphis Farmers Market (http://www.memphisfarmersmarket.org/)/Cooper-Young Farmers Market (http://www.cycfarmersmarket.org/) 

 Two of the Farmers Markets located in town offer you a chance to go shop for local goods and bring your dogs along for the shopping trip. Although most dogs aren’t allowed in certain areas, stations are set-up for free dog sitting while you go shop for your fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. Levitt Shell Concert Series (http://www.levittshell.org/) 

Enjoy an evening filled with music, a picnic and your favorite pup while you’re in Overton Park. The Levitt Shell provides concerts in summer and fall for free in Thursday-Sunday. Pets are welcome as long as you are outside of the main seating area, but there is plenty of opportunity to find space if you find an artist you’d like to hear!

I’m sure I’ve left off some other favorites around town, but there is definitely a lot to explore for you and your puppy friend while in Memphis. Parker and I hope to see you in down south soon!

We have loved being armchair tourists and reading all the insider tips of things to do in your city with dogs. Next week will be our final Tourist post!
Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by foster dog Levi
Sep 302011
 

We have always loved reading about the adventures of Shiva: an honest portrayal of living with and training an excitable dog, but also because they live all the way in Nova Scotia. And we love exploring Dartmouth with Shiva, including the walking trails, city views, ports and pubs all in the city of lakes.
Fun Fact: Shiva actually has a lake in her backyard,  but ironically enough, doesn’t like to get wet.
While Dartmouth isn’t officially a city any more as it has joined with Halifax, Bedford, and Sackville to form the Halifax Regional Municipality – or HRM – I wanted to share the highlights of living on this side of the harbour. Known as the city of lakes, Dartmouth is full of lovely scenery to explore. It is also a very old city, founded in 1750, with many historical landmarks worth checking out. Unfortunately, it is so often over-shadowed by Halifax even I don’t spend much time discovering all it has to offer.

Dartmouth is home to some of the best dog parks in the city. Our dog Shiva’s favourite, has got to be Shubie Park. Located along the Shubenacadie canal, the park features a wide variety of off-leash walking trails great for chasing squirrels. And you can’t forget the fantastic dog beach!
Downtown Dartmouth is a terrific place to head for a walk. It is quieter than many similar areas with a lot less traffic. On a bright sunny day, I love meandering leisurely down the streets with my dog, taking in the views of the harbour. Shiva loves all of the exciting new smells.
Naturally, no visit to downtown is complete without stopping in at one of our favourite pubs, Celtic Corner. In the summer months they open their small patio, which is a relaxing spot to daydream and dog-watch. If your dog is cute enough – and if the pub isn’t full –  you can usually convince a server to let your dog join you outside while you enjoy a glass or two. Celtic Corner also features one of the many murals that decorate the city’s outdoor spaces. I think they make attractive advertisements for Dartmouth’s maritime history.

While Halifax proper may have the tall buildings and other typical city trappings, one has to go to Dartmouth to get the best views. The Dartmouth Waterfront Park provides an excellent place to photograph one of Canada’s oldest ports. It is also home to North America’s oldest saltwater ferry system. While there, I like to check out the unique triangular Peace Pavillion that showcases artefacts from all over the world, including a piece of the Berlin Wall. The Dartmouth Harbourwalk Trail extends 3.8 kilometres down the waterfront and is a picturesque way to get your daily exercise.

Not too far from downtown is Dartmouth Common, a gorgeous park space full of gardens and walking paths. There is even a section that has been designated off-leash!
As far as finding places to take your dog, I think Dartmouth is a great place to live. Its smaller size feels more cozy than claustrophobic. Everything is within a very convenient distance. Sure and it’s not as flashy as other cities, but if you are looking for a place to enjoy the beauty of nature with your canine companion, you really can’t go wrong with Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

We have reached the deadline to submit posts for the contest, and our last post will run Oct 14. Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by foster dog Levi
Sep 232011
 
Though we completely love Chicago and think it’s an amazing city, we secretly dream of living in the Bay Area with its beaches, hiking, and beautiful scenery (we even eloped in San Francisco!). Here is Sophie confirming everything amazing about Northern California and how to enjoy it with your favorite pooch!

The Bay Area is an incredibly dog friendly area of Northern California. Sophie wanted to share some of her favorite places to visit!

Visit Fort Funston
The dog beach to visit when in San Francisco! Fort Funston offers trails to hike and a beach to run on. It is off leash doggy paradise. On weekends the places is full of owners and happy dog fetching and enjoying the water. The dog community is currently organized to protest the proposed new laws which all but ban dogs from Fort Funston and other similar parks/beaches in Northern California. In the meantime, we continue to enjoy and love Fort Funston.

Short Road Trip to Half Moon Bay:

After Fort Funston take a drive up CA 1. It is a scenic highway overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Drive to Half Moon Bay, an incredibly dog friendly town 30mins from San Francisco. There stop at one of the many pet friendly restaurants. Our favorites include Sam’s Chowder House and the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. The pups always get belly rubs and bowls of water from the friendly waiters.

While you are there, the pups can take a quick deep at Pillar Beach another dog friendly beach with very calm waters (great for a good game of fetch while you wait for a table).
Attend a Rescue Walk Fundraiser or Pet Friendly Day in the Bay
Numerous rescues host walks throughout the year. In addition many of the Bay cities host big events for dog owners in the Park including Bark in the Park in the South Bay, San Jose CA. A well attended yearly event with dozens of vendors, rescue groups and numerous demonstrations including flyball, agility and herding. 
Go on a Hike with your pup!
 Enjoy one of the numerous dog friendly hiking trails (most do require leashes). Sophie’s current favorite is the Pulgas Ridge Trail in San Mateo County. It even has an off leash area at the top of the hike!
 Another favorite hike is the Windy Hill Preserve in Portola Valley. Sophie thinks a nice 3 mile loop around this Preserve is the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. For information on great hikes in the Bay Area, we rely on: http://www.bahiker.com/doghikes.html

You can read more about Sophie and her fantastic, active life here. And as one reader pointed out, it’s always a good idea for pit bull owners to research beforehand as some areas might not allow pitties.
We have reached the deadline to submit posts for the contest, and our last post will run Oct 14. Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by foster dog Levi

And we will still be donating money to the rescue of choice for the 2 posts with the most comments. We will announce the winners Oct 21.

In case you missed them, you can also read our other Tourist with Your Dog posts showcasing Milwaukee,  Upstate New York, New York City, Austin, Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping the 7 Wonders of Illinois with 4 large dogs, boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee), Chicago Dogs Sidetrip to Harbor County, and Destination “Dog Mountain” in Vermont.

Sep 162011
 
We have loved following the adventures of GoPetFriendly as they’ve been traveling around the nation with their 2 adorable pooches. And since we’ve recently ventured into roadtripping with the pooches, we were quite excited to see this recommendation for nearby Milwaukee. Nestled along Lake Michigan there is plenty to do with the pooches, including: pet-friendly paddleboats, strolling the riverwalk, pooch-friendly outdoor dining, and even a photo opp with “The Fonz”.

We were excited to see that Ms. M and Mr. B had such a great time on their recent road trip to St. Louis. Now that they have their first hotel stay under their belts (collars), we’re hoping to inspire them to jump back in the car make the short drive north to spend a weekend exploring Milwaukee.

Veteran's Park - Milwaukee, WI
View from Veteran’s Park

Like Chicago, Milwaukee sits on the shore of Lake Michigan, so fantastic scenery is a given. But, what Milwaukee has over it’s neighbor to the south is it’s intimate, more walkable nature. You can easily explore the nooks and crannies on foot, which is perfect when you’re traveling with dogs!
Start in the Historic Third Ward, and you might never want to leave. This neighborhood had undergone a major make-over and is now the hippest part of the city. Old warehouses have become, or have been replaced by, lofts and condos and the shops and eateries have followed. The Milwaukee Public Market is a highlight, selling produce, seafood, meats, cheeses, vegetables, candies, and flowers from local businesses – and their pet friendly sidewalk tables are perfect for a little people watching!

Inside at Milwaukee Public Market
Inside at Milwaukee Public Market
Outdoor tables at the Public Market
Outdoor tables at the Public Market

If you haven’t stuffed yourself at the vendors in the Market, cross the street to The Wicked Hop for lunch. With their covered outdoor seating, it’s the perfect place to relax in the shade and enjoy the icy cold beverages that made Milwaukee famous.

The Wicked Hop - Milwaukee, WI
Covered outdoor seating at The Wicked Hop

When it’s time to walk off lunch, head toward the lake. A path will take you though the festival grounds, past the art museum, and up to Veteran’s park. If you make it as far north as the Juneau Park Lagoon, look for the pet friendly paddle boats!

Path Along Lakefront - Milwaukee, WI
Resting tired paws on the lakefront
Milwaukee Art Museum - Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee Art Museum

Before you’re too tired, make your way west to the river and take a stroll on the River Walk. This pedestrian walkway overlooking the river is a popular hang out, with dozens of restaurants and bars providing outdoor seating with a view. Watch for John Hawks Pub – they have pet friendly outdoor seating.

John Hawks Pub - Milwaukee, WI
John Hawks Pub on the Riverwalk

Be sure to get a picture with one of Milwaukee’s most well-known residents – Arthur Fonzarelli! He was happy to have his picture taken with Buster and Ty, hooking their leashes over his famous thumbs. Aaaaaye.

Arthur Fonzarelli - Milwaukee
Posing with The Fonz

Milwaukee has a nice selection of pet friendly restaurants and plenty of pet friendly hotels where the pitties will be welcome. Though we stayed in the Winnebago at State Fair Park the last time we visited, the next time I’d love to try the Aloft Hotel or the Iron Horse Hotel.

Before you pack up and hit the freeway, take a cruise up North Lake Drive to one of Milwaukee’s must unexpected features – the old stone mansions built next to the lake back in the day.

Amy and Rod Burkert run the award-winning pet travel website, GoPetFriendly.com and write about pet travel as they explore the US and Canada with their dogs, Ty and Buster. Their blog, Take Paws, is an encyclopedia of pet travel tips, pet friendly destination advice, and humorous tales of the couple’s dog friendly adventures.

Today is the last day to submit Tourist Posts for our contest. We will run all the posts and have an extra week after the last post has run to conclude the ‘contest’.
And as an added incentive, Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by Levi. And we will still be donating money to the rescue of choice for the 2 posts with the most comments.

In case you missed them, you can also read our other Tourist with Your Dog posts showcasing Upstate New York, New York City, Austin, Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping the 7 Wonders of Illinois with 4 large dogs, boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee), Chicago Dogs Sidetrip to Harbor County, and Destination “Dog Mountain” in Vermont.

Sep 092011
 

I think Miss M secretly dreams of being a water dog, so we are always very interested in seeing our dog friends who actually are aquatic. We loved reading Corbin’s tour of Upstate New York complete with gorgeous lakes and scenery, war reenactment fields, local art, dog-friendly dining, and a dog-night at the ballpark (where Corbin even got to go on the field!). Read more about Corbin, here:                              
I didn’t realize how many dog friendly things there were to do in our area until we adopted Corbin.  Either these dog friendly things appeared out of nowhere, or I was just completely oblivious to them in the BC times (Before Corbin).

One of our favorite things to do with Corbin is to visit Lake George, which is about 45 minutes north from our home.  We have a boat, so it makes it easy to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Since we spend most of our time on the boat, we often miss out on the great hiking trails and camping areas the Adirondack Mountain’s offer.   Even if you don’t have a boat, most of our favorite places can also be driven to or hiked to.  Lake George is approximately 22 miles long.  Of course, boating is fun in the summer, but when winter comes and the boat is packed away, there are some really great places to go skiing just a few miles further north from Lake George.

 All of the camping sites in Lake George are dog friendly, except for the island camp sites.  The islands have a very strict no dog policy – dogs have to stay 500 feet away from any island, even if they’re on a boat.  One of our favorite camp sites is at Shelving Rock.  There’s a beautiful waterfall that you can get to after an easy hike.  Shelving Rock also leads into one of our favorite bays, Log Bay.  Corbin especially loves it here because he can touch in most areas.  He also likes to hang out in his float and enjoy socializing with everyone walking by.

 Lake George also has a dog friendly beach right in the village.  Corbin gets to visit the beach after non-swimming boat rides.  There’s also a large park across the street from the beach which is great for picnics and a good game of fetch.  About a half a mile from the dog beach is a great dog store that Corbin enjoys going into for some free treats.

 Aside from Lake George, one of our favorite places for a nice long hike is the Saratoga Battlefield.  There are over 9 miles of trails and 9 stops throughout the way to learn about the history of the land.  You can also drive to each of the 9 stops if you’d like.  There are often reenactments which makes it very interesting.  As much as you try, the volunteers who do the reenactments never leave their character.  They’re often building a camp fire and cooking food or washing laundry. This photo is Corbin at the Neilson Farm.  This home was used for quarters of the American staff officers in September 1777.

 Our area has lots and lots of doggie daycares.  Corbin enjoys his daycare days when we have a busy week and we know we’re not going to have a lot of time to exercise him.  If you visit our area, one of the best places to go that is not dog friendly is the Saratoga Race Track.  The track runs from the last weekend in July until Labor Day.  The big race before the last racing weekend is the Travers.  Often horses from the Derby, Preakness and Belmonte come up to run in this race, which has been known as the 4th leg of the Triple Crown.  

Aside from the track, Saratoga is a very dog friendly town.  It’s a classic town with Victoria style homes and shops.  The town is full of Art and there are over 20 unique horses painted by local and national artists. 

 Most restaurants and stores allow dogs and our favorite dog boutique, Sloppy Kisses, is located right on Broadway in Saratoga.  There are also many restaurants in Lake George that allow you to bring your pooch along in their outdoor seating.

Lastly, one of the events we most look forward to every year is Bark at the Park with our local double A baseball team.  It’s a night where you can bring your dog to the ball park and enjoy a game.  Since baseball is one of our favorite sports, and Yankee stadium is 3 hours away (also, they don’t have a dog night like the Mets do!), we really look forward to our outing with Corbin.  This year, Corbin was invited onto the field to do some tricks with other dogs.  He lost to a dog that could jump through a hula hoop!  This year was the first year we set up a booth for our dog rescue.  We ended up with one new foster family and a handful of people that came to our adoption clinic the following weekend!

Oh, and Corbin would like to add that I completely missed the best attraction in upstate New York… him!

You can read more about Corbin’s adventures, and his many foster siblings, on his blog here.
We have been getting so many great posts, but we would like to wrap up our contest and have all posts submitted by September 16.
And as an added incentive, Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by Levi. And we will still be donating money to the rescue of choice for the 2 posts with the most comments.In case you missed them, you can also read our other Tourist with Your Dog posts showcasing New York City, Austin, Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs, boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee), Chicago Dogs Sidetrip to Harbor County, and Destination “Dog Mountain” in Vermont.

Sep 022011
 

We were quite excited to see this week’s “How to Be a Tourist With your Dog” post showing a unique dog-destination in Vermont. Read about artist-created “Dog Mountain”, its fantastic annual dog party, and the reflective “Dog Chapel” covered with letters–the only of its kind in the world. Though sadly, this free refuge for dogs and owners has fallen on some hard times. Read the complete story, contributed by Nan, below:

P.S. Nan was the first person in real-life I ever knew who owned a pit bull!
 While planning my recent trip to Vermont I decided to peruse travel books and magazines to help me find some unique adventures because I had been to Vermont many times before.  I picked up a copy of Yankee magazine and was intrigued by an article called “Retrospective” about a Vermont artist whose subject matter was dogs.  Stephen Huneck, the artist, created Dog Mountain… 150 acres of trails and ponds for dog lovers to have fun with and bond with their pets and “Dog Chapel,” on the grounds, for owners who had lost their beloved pets to find closure and healing.  When I realized that the annual Dog Party at Dog Mountain was taking place weekend I was going to be in the area I knew the  drive to the Northeast Kingdom (as this northern part of Vermont is called) was going to be worth it. 
When I arrived many dogs were already racing around with wild abandon and others were jumping into one of the ponds chasing balls and each other.  This was definitely not the “show up fashionably late” crowd, but rather the ”let’s get this party started” attendees.  It was so funny to note the similarities in the dogs’ behavior to children’s at a birthday party…running up with an exuberant greeting trying to get a game going and then running off with tail and tongue wagging to the next adventure (ok, so maybe the similarities end at the tails). The acreage is at the end of a long, dirt road so there was no risk of traffic and dog parents seemed very much at ease enjoying their dog’s freedom.
 The chapel was a mixture of reflections and sadness, but also joy and smiles.  The dogs running in and out looking for their owners and each other certainly helped to keep the atmosphere light.  The messages on the walls are touching and I was surprised by the tears that unexpectedly rolled down my cheeks.  I didn’t see anyone else crying, so I quickly put on my sunglasses, but in the gallery a little while later a man told the sales person he never comes to the chapel without crying. 
 Certainly, most of the day was spent laughing at the dog antics, the parade and the contests, but one sad note is that Dog Mountain is having financial difficulties. When the economy took a downturn and Stephen and Gwen, his wife, had to let employees go, Stephen went into a deep depression.  It ended with him taking his life and Gwen left to cope with the business and bills alone.  Gwen would like to keep Dog Mountain open and free for people and their dogs to enjoy, just as Stephen had envisioned it would be for many years to come. Ironically, one of the last prints Stephen was working on was titled “Bring Your Dog To Vermont”.  The full story can be read on their website:  www.dogmt.com.
 I purchased two small prints while I was there, hoping to contribute to a better financial outlook.  There were no pushy sales tactics and the woman I spoke to about the Two Pitties in the City blog I was going to submit the pictures to seemed genuinely grateful.  She did remind me that they are the only Dog Chapel in the world. You and your dog might want to see it for yourself, especially if you can make the annual party.     

We would like to wrap up our contest and have all posts submitted by September 16.
And as an added incentive, Sirius Republic is donating 2 collars and we will have a random drawing of all the submitted ‘How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog’ posts to have 2 collar winners. Winners can chose from a standard collar, or an ‘Adopt Me’ collar to promote your foster or adoptable dog as modeled by Levi. Not only does Sirius Republic have amazing collar designs, but we love how they are so dedicated to supporting the pitbull community, and Jennifer even rescued her own Elderbull!
And we will still be donating money to the rescue of choice for the 2 posts with the most comments.

In case you missed them, you can also read our other Tourist with Your Dog posts showcasing New York City, Austin, Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs, boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee), and Chicago Dogs Sidetrip to Harbor County.

Aug 262011
 

We always talk about how we have big dogs in a small space, but then there’s our friends Two Grad Students & a Pittie who manage to all live together in 500 square feet. But what could be more amazing than having New York City as your backyard?
We started our blog to keep in touch with our friends and family, and get advice about raising our rescued pitbull, Havi.  As we look back, it seems to have evolved into a tribute to raising a pup in New York City.  Our friends frequently tell us they can’t have a pup because their space is too small, they don’t have time, and its too expensive.  Well, we blog about living with out 65-lb. pitbull in 500square feet, while attending Dental and Law school, on government loans! New York City gets HOT in the summer.  All that concrete!  So most people hit the Shore, Fire Island or the Hamptons.  The Two Grad Students and their pittie love NYC in the summer because it has SO MUCH to offer! Dental Student’s favorite thing about NYC in the summer are the street fairs.  There are usually 10 on any given day.  We usually check out Time Out NY online before heading out (http://newyork.timeout.com/things-to-do/this-week-in-new-york/34677/nyc-street-fairs-guide-aug-11–17).  Havi loves the long walk, adoring fans, and food that may drop on the floor.  The Grad Students love the fun crafts and new vendors at each fair.  We especially love the Hester Street Fair (http://www.hesterstreetfair.com/) , known for its gourmet foods and grassy area to enjoy.
The best thing about a long walk in NYC is you never know what you may run into!  A parade of music from around the world, Gay Pride Parade, the NYC Tenement Museum, or a free Fashion Show!
Havi is always ready for her long walks with a water bottle, backpack, and a snack!  And whenever she needs to cool off, the ground in New York’s beautiful Grand Central Station is perfect for a pit stop and picture.
Law Student’s favorite spot is the Farmer’s Market in Union Square (http://www.grownyc.org/unionsquaregreenmarket).  Havi helps pick out the perfect flowers, bread, and fruit from local, sustainable farmers.  Or maybe she just loves seeing all the other pups!
Outdoor restaurants are extremely friendly in New York, and usually even invite Havi with a bowl of water.   Although, her favorite has always been the Barking Dog (http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/barking-dog03/).
If you are in a bind, or moving fast, NYC has taken over the Food Cart and Food Truck craze!  Grabbing something to eat and sitting outside is perfect with a pup!  You can even attend the Vendy Awards (http://streetvendor.org/vendys/) on Governor’s Island!If you ever need a break from the city, NJ and Long Island are a nice hour away for a quick jump in the pool!
If you want to leave your pup home for the day…there are baseball games (we have two teams, you know!), nightlife, and movie theaters!   We didn’t get to go this year, but other pups seem to love watching a movie outdoors under the Brooklyn Bridge!
So when our friends tell us the don’t have enough time, space or money we kind of just roll our eyes, strap on Havi’s backpack and go on and explore NYC at its finest! You can read more about Havi and the gang on their blog: Two Grad Students & a Pittie. In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Austin, Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs, boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, and specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee), and Chicago Dogs Sidetrip to Harbor Country. We are still accepting posts, but we would like to receive everything in the next week. If you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.