The official start to autumn occurs in just a few days. This is one of my most favorite times of the year: the changing color of tree leaves, the crisp morning air, the cool reflections on waterways, and the intense hues of sunrises and sunsets…. all teaming together to create a magical season.
Autumn can be a time of fun travel, especially to enjoy nature. In the west, where I live, the majestic elk put on a show with displays of sights and sounds. Bugles and bellows echo across canyons and forests as males vie for the affections of females. Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone national parks reverberated with this eons-old mating ritual, bringing people from across the world to witness the performances. Recently, my family and I trekked to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado for the festive colors of the plant-life and majestic matches of the animal-life. We’ve taken similar trips to Yellowstone. Each experience is memorable, especially when including our pets.
Estes Park, the community gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, is very dog-friendly. From accommodations and eating establishments to gift shops and walking paths, one will find “Dogs Welcome Here” signs posted. Many a person I encountered browsing shops along the town’s main streets had dog on leash. Estes also has a dog park where Fido can run and play, unrestrained by a leash.
According to an article published earlier this year by the Chicago Tribune, nearly 40 percent of travelers bring their pets along for the journey, up significantly during the past decade. Therefore, communities such as Estes Park which embrace travelers and their furry friends, will likely receive a many-bones rating for its hospitality.
Sunset Magazine recently listed some top dog-friendly destinations in the West, including several communities in Washington, Oregon, and California.
Although pets are restricted in America’s national parks, this year being the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service would be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy these unique, beautiful places – in particular, during this special season of autumn. So, why not plan a journey to witness the striking autumn colors in New England or Great Smokey National Park or listen to the bugling elk in Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, or Teton national parks? Hop on websites such as BringFido.com or GoPetFriendly.com to find lodging, restaurants, and activities that welcome pets.
Find your national park this season. Or visit another natural area during this incredible autumn. And don’t forget your best four-footed friend, who is now welcome in more places than ever!
As spring enters its full glory, with blooming flowers and budding trees, my thoughts turn to times of upcoming travel. This season, as well as summer and fall, are optimal road tripping times for people, and oftentimes those humans travel with their pets.
My husband and I look to take a vacation this summer to visit family back east, and we will be taking our springer/cocker mix, Mary, along for the L-O-N-G ride. As we make those plans, we’re considering taking in a baseball game. Since we can’t leave the dog in a hotel, we’ve turned to Rover.com to learn about pet sitters in the city that we plan to see the game. We’ve discovered a treasure in that website, as we’ve used it before, when going to a concert in another city and having Mary along on that journey. I recommend pet parents who travel, or who need pet sitting services in their own town, including boarding or daycare, visit Rover.com – the website is very helpful!
Another helpful site is BringFido.com. This site lists pet boarding/sitting services, hotels that allow pets, and even pet-friendly adventures in different locations. This, too, is a very helpful website for people who travel with their pets; the site even provides information on air traveling with pets.
Dog parks and rest areas provide great opportunities for both pet parents and their four-footed traveling companions to get out of the car, stretch, play, eat, and just break up the monotony of driving. Be sure to provide this respite for yourself and your pet.
Here are some other traveling trips for taking your pet on the road with you:
Following these ideas can make road tripping with your pet much more enjoyable and safe! Happy Road Tripping!
Last fall my community opened a fenced-in dog park, the first secured setting specifically for dogs and their humans in town. Although the community had a dog park for many years, it was not completely fenced, and therefore, not secure. In fact, the North Platte River runs next to the park and several dogs have drowned there.
Good for Residents and Visitors
Throughout the nation, dog parks are popular not only for community residents (two and four-footed), but also for visitors to those communities. For example, in Wyoming (the state in which I reside) next to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter is the Nancy Mockler Community Dog Park. This dog park provides highway travelers on I-80 or I-25 ability to rest and stretch their legs … and to provide the same for their traveling furry companions. Rock Springs, Wyoming has the Bitter Creek Bark Park off I-80. This fenced-in dog park includes a water feature and small lake, nice amenities on dry, hot days.
With more hotels becoming pet-friendly, having a dog park in the community is an added benefit for enticing travelers to choose to stop in that town. Having a dog park, especially a fenced-in one, is welcoming to travelers with dogs because people like knowing their dogs are safe. An enclosed park keeps dogs from running away and from running onto busy streets. And, if you're a visitor to a community, one of the last things you want to worry about is your dog being lost!
Dog parks also provide socialization opportunities, again for both the dogs and their owners. While walking or playing with one's dog at a park, a person is likely to engage in conversation with other dog owners … and the dogs are apt to play with one another, running through the park or fetching a ball or other toy. Studies show people who have dogs are more outgoing and engage in more socializing because, well, like with our kids, we dog people like to talk about our furry family members!
Having a dog park provides great opportunities for exercise for both canines and their humans. Getting outside with our dogs to walk, to run, to play, provides our dogs with activity they need for a healthier life … and gives us people exercise and better health as well. And, exercising with our dogs helps strengthen the bond we share with them.
Separate Spaces for Different Dogs
It's my hope my city leaders will create more fenced-in dog parks in our town, and I hope the next one will provide a separate area for older, less active, and/or special needs dogs. Billings, Montana, for example, provides two sections within one large dog park (total of eight acres in size!): one area for active and larger dogs, and a smaller area for the older, slower, more shy, and for disabled dogs. I have a 17-year-old, deaf, nearly blind cocker spaniel, and when we are in Billings, we take him to this portion of the park, while our energetic, eight-year-old springer spaniel rushes around the trees and rock formations alongside more agile labs, boxers, and mastiffs. Having these two separate areas works well for our furry family.
Find More Information
For your summer travels, find out where other community dog parks are located by visiting http://www.bringfido.com/attraction/. You can also find pet-friendly hotel listings on this site.
Summer is in full swing and so are travel plans for many people. From weekend getaways to long vacations, some pet owners hit the road and want their furry friend(s) to accompany them. Here are some road tripping tips for pet owners:
Happy Trails and Tails!
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.