Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Doggy OHventures

Photos by OHventures
As a new dog owner, I am constantly seeking out new adventures that me and my pup can enjoy together. Believe it or not, there are a great deal of fun furry-friend establishments and activities for your pet across Ohio! Here is a short list of 5 OHventures you can emBARK on with your dog!
1. Eat Some Graeter's Ice Creams: Graeter's Ice Cream was established in the suburbs of Cincinnati in the late 1800s and has been an Ohio staple ever since. Graeter's continually is awarded as having some of the best ice cream in the state, having prominence in Columbus, Dayton, and even in some surrounding states such as Kentucky. Graeter's is a dog friendly establishment, allowing pups on the outdoor patios and providing you with FREE "Purina Frosty Paws" and small cup of water upon request (see photo above). Some stores even are known to hold an event known as "Graeter's Dog Night Out" (in places such as Centerville) where local vets and pet stores show up to hand out goodies and you get to be social with your dogs!  You can find one of dozens of locations near you from Athens to Zanesville by checking on the Graeters Store Locator Website.
2. Run A Doggy 5K: Since having my dog (for the past three months), I have participated in two "doggy 5K races" in which hundreds of dog owners gather together with their canine companions to participate in a 5K race or a one mile fun walk. The events typically are charity races that raise funds for local animal shelters or organizations, such as the Humane Society. I ran in the "Run With The Pack 5K" in June and the "Defend Your Friend 5K" in July. There are also events I have caught wind of such as the Mutt Strut in Plain Township, the Dog Jog in Columbus and the Dirty Dog Run in Cleveland.  I have to say that these are some of the most fun things I have done in a long, long time! If you have a dog, and/or if you simply care about dogs, I highly encourage you to participate in a doggy 5K! This race brings a smile to my face seeing all of the happy-go-lucky dogs running about, and knowing that it goes to such a good cause.
3. Drink Wine With The Pups: Believe it or not, some wine establishments in Ohio are open to dogs as well! While of course the dogs would not be sipping on the bubbly with you, they can join you at the winery. Since most wineries have outdoor seating in warmer months, and many do not have full kitchens, health codes allow for the dogs to intermingle on the patio. Perennial Vineyards in Navarre is an example of such a winery. They are so dog friendly at Perennial Vineyards that they even have a wine whose proceeds go to local animal shelters. Camelot Cellars in Columbus is an example of an indoor winery that holds special events for dogs. The first Friday of every month, Camelot Cellars teams up with Three Dog Bakery to host Freaky Fur-Day Whine Tasting, where they have treats for your little ones! Be sure to call ahead to your winery to check their policy on dogs.
4. Take a Hike With You Dog!: Most state and metro parks in Ohio have a special pet policy that allows for dogs to come along on a hike with you. Some have special paths that are designated for dogs while other portions of the park are off limits. For instance, the gardens at Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville prohibit dogs, but there are paths in which dogs are permitted. Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Northeast Ohio encourages pets to join you on your hike, but advises you to be on the look out for wild animals such as black bears or even raccoons that could potentiall harm your dog. They also ask you to use discretion when sharing the hiking trail with other dogs, runners, bicyclists, cross country skiiers, etc. The bottom line: every park is different, but most hiking trails are an open door policy!
5. Visit a Dog Park: While it seems obvious, some folks don't realize that there are dozens and dozens of fantastic dog parks in Ohio. Each park is a little different, so it is up to you to do some research to see what is best for your dog! Finding a park that offers one area for small dogs and one area for larger dogs is a "plus" in my book, as I have a 9-pound pup that shouldn't intermingle with humungous St. Bernards. Scioto Audubon Metro Park in Columbus is one such park, and it also has obstacle courses for the dogs! Some dog parks are as simple as an open area with a fence, such as Wheeler Park, also in Columbus. Some parks require you to be a paid member, such as the Wood County Dog Park in Bowling Green. This ensures that all dogs at the park are vaccinated, de-flead, and non-aggressive. Checking your city's local Yelp listings is a good way to find the perfect dog park in your area. Using a smart phone app or website, such as Doggoes is also helpful!

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