Spring Has Sprung: Now Go Have Some Fun!
Say good-bye to your snow jacket and gloves. Spring has officially arrived and with it comes the promise of sunny, mild temperatures. If you've been itching to get outdoors with your best friend, now's the time. Read on for a sampling of fun, fresh-air activities you both can try.Say good-bye to your snow jacket and gloves. Spring has officially arrived and with it comes the promise of sunny, mild temperatures. If you've been itching to get outdoors with your best friend, now's the time. Below is just a sampling of fun, fresh-air activities you both can try:
Happy Trails. With more than 130,000 miles of trails, National Forests offer some of the best places to hike. City, county and state parks also offer trails of varying lengths and difficulties. Maps are usually posted on the park or forest service's website, along with any fees and rules regarding dogs. If you prefer group activities, consider joining a club like the California Canine Hikers in Pasadena or K9 Trailblazers in Washington, D.C.
Wet and Wild. Pools. Beaches. Lakes. No matter what your preference or locale, one thing's for sure -- your dog will love these water-filled excursions. A word of caution, though. Even if your pooch is a good paddler, keep a close eye on him, especially around pools. Some dogs can't find the steps, or get trapped under pool covers and accidentally drown. Also, before heading to the beach or lake, check for any alerts or closures linked to unhealthy water conditions. Also, be sure to check in advance that the location allows pets. (Check out this article for dog water safety tips).
Fast-paced Fun. Sports, like agility, flyball and Frisbee, are popular pastimes for dog enthusiasts. In all, more than a dozen organized canine activities exist. If you've never seen these games played, you're in for a treat! Agility, for example, is an obstacle course that owners must successfully direct their dogs through. The fastest canine, making the least amount of mistakes, wins. Practice sessions and competitions are usually held outdoors.
To participate, you'll first need to join the sport's local club. You can find one in your area by searching online, looking in the phone book or contacting the sport's governing organization.
High Seas Adventure. A handful of boat cruise operators nationwide welcome dogs on board. One such company is Fun Zone Boat in Balboa, California, which offers year-round narrated tours of Newport Bay. Another is Chicago's Mercury Skyline Cruise Line. The weekly tour, just for dogs and their owners, is more than a 90 minute water ride. Passengers learn about the windy city's dog friendly destinations too. Water bowls and newspaper potty areas are provided. Not all cruise operators advertise their pet policies, so be sure to call and ask ahead of time.
Relax with Rover. Latte sipping owners and their canine companions can kick-back at coffee houses with outdoor patios. Or, in many cities, they can dine alfresco at restaurants too. Some eating establishments even go as far as offering special entrees for your pooch. Another outing entails visiting a local vineyard. Many wineries welcome dogs on their grassy grounds.
So what are you waiting for? Grab the car keys and leash, and start enjoying the season with your best friend.
Share your favorite pics of you and your pet enjoying the warm weather with our fans on Facebook Maryann Mott is a pet journalist based in Arizona. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic online, and Dog Fancy magazine.To see more of her work, visit her website: www.petwriter.com