Dog Park Clean Up

This past Saturday was a great event for event patrons of the Warm Springs “Dog Park” in Ketchum Idaho.

Clean up crew

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this location, the “Dog Park” lies on the former site of a golf course and restaurant. It also happens to be located on some of the most beautiful acreage you’re likely to see. It looks far more like the rolling lawns of a huge estate and yes, we get to walk our dogs on this!
Having been to dog parks across the country, I’m sure most of us are aware of the huge range in quality you can find on any given stretch of open ground that’s been designated as a place for dogs to meet, greet, run and play. That said; you’ve never seen anything like this. And even though you could say that those of us who live out here amongst some of the most beautiful wild places to hike, ski, bike, run and fish are just about the luckiest people around, (you’d be correct), we are like anyone else in that sometimes (OK a lot of the time), you need to be able to let your dog run and play without it being a long excursion into the back country. Enter the ‘Dog Park” to end all dog parks. Now my readers will know that I’ve been a dedicated traveler and blogger about pet friendly places, hotels, trips and so on, and you’ve seen and heard about some of the better and some of the could-do-a-lot-better dog spots around. This spot is far and beyond the nicest place you’ll ever stroll and it’s right in town.
Privately owned and maintained, the Warm Springs Ranch is also home to a vibrant Frisbee golf community as well.

Stick 'em up

Stick ’em up

On any given day, you’ll also see someone practicing Tai Chi, 5 or 10 dogs madly chasing each other, balls or squirrels (although oddly enough, NOT the Frisbess) as well as a few people just stretching their legs on their lunch break.

As the “park” grew in popularity however, some problems grew along with it, namely dog waste. It seems that some were taking advantage of the generosity of the property owner and the hard work of the property manager and not bothering to pick up after their pooches. To be fair, there was also evidence of some teenager partying going on as well. As the problem grew, signs were posted warning people to be responsible or else the area would be closed off to the public. This led to AllHailtheDog.com and Idahound Dog Food Company to arrange a park clean-up party. We’re happy to say that not only was the clean-up effort successful, but a lot of fun was had with a dog trick contest and some dog and dog people socializing.
Did I mention that even people without dogs showed up to help? Yep, it was that much fun, in fact the winner of the Most Poop Collected category was a mom and her young son and they don’t even own a dog!

Winner!

Winner!

Another winner was a very young girl and her pound dog Chihuahua mix Heidi. After a fabulous performance of dancing in a circle on her hind legs and rolling over, these two took home the grand prize of Idahound dog treats, Sun Valley Mustard gift pack and an All Hail the dog cozy dog bed.
All participants received a delicious bag of Sun Valley Mustard Pretzel Chips, generously donated for the event along with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies from a local restaurant Perry’s and coffee from Starbucks, also donated.

Our other trick contest winners also took home schwag from

All Hail the Dog, treats from Idahound and Sun Valley Mustard gift packs.
One other good thing that came out of this fun day in the “park” was a “Park Manners List”. All of the attendees wrote down their ideas for a clean, fun and polite dog park experience and that list will be printed out and displayed at the “park”. We’ll be posting that list for our readers as well; you can take it as is to your local park or add to it and let us all know what else you came up with. Until then, have fun and “doo” the right thing!

Are your dogs “spoiled’? How would you describe a spoiled dog anyway? I know that my dogs most definitely enjoy more privileges than a lot of other dogs, they’re allowed on the furniture (and before you ask, I’m a clean freak), they come along on family vacations and frankly, we’ve made more than a few detours on those vacations just because there was something I thought the dogs would enjoy seeing or doing.

Excessive? I’m sure many of you would say so, but for us, it’s just a part of the norm. However, and this is a big however, my dogs are trained, polite and almost unfailingly obedient. They eat the best quality food that I can afford, they have regular veterinary care, I groom them regularly and, as I’ve written about before, brush their teeth every night. While this also may seem excessive to some, it is in fact merely what I consider my responsibility to them; to keep them healthy. If your dog only sleeps on the floor or maybe has a cozy dog bed in your kitchen, as well as everything he or she needs to be a happy, healthy member of your family, are you neglecting them? No more than I am spoiling mine. Some might like to buy the finest in designer dog accessories; some might only have an old rope for a leash. As long as you make them a part of our pack, as long as they have what they need physically and emotionally, it doesn’t matter if they have a fancy dog bowl or not. Just as long as it’s regularly filled, you are your dog’s person and they are your very best friend; spoiled or not.

Best dog beds

Tres and the pony Imp, waiting for treats.

 

Wildlife and Dog LIfe

Best dog beds

I See You

 

How many of us can’t wait for the warmer weather to take our dogs on a hike or even just a quick walk in the sunshine? As much as we try in the winter, it just doesn’t happen as often. In my area, we’re lucky to have bike/ski trails where we can stroll in the winter; a nice and quick alternative to snowshoes and a lot of clothes.

Still, come spring, we’re all glad to get out and really stretch our legs. This can be very exhilarating for the dogs and we have to remember to be on the look out for seasonal dangers like wild animals and swift water.

I get such a kick out of seeing the abundant wildlife in my area and obviously my dogs do too, however I certainly don’t want them getting too up close and personal since this could be bad for all parties involved. No matter where you live, the chance of your pets coming into contact with wildlife is pretty high, even if that only means squirrels, mice and rabbits. My neighborhood has an abundance of elk, deer, raccoons, skunk, song birds, hawks, owls, eagles, fox, coyote, wolves, bear, moose and mountain lions. As you can probably figure; mixing up with any of these could be bad for either party, whether it’s my cats, dogs or chickens. And don’t think that it only matters one way or another, I have to disagree; we have a responsibility to our pets and our wildlife equally.

So how do we keep everyone safe and separate? Good question, start with some forethought. If I’m keeping chickens in a rural area, I have to be as prepared as possible for the animals that could eat them, so their fencing and housing have to be as raid-proof as possible. I have to keep bell collars (safety release of course) on my cats because the depredation of songbirds by domestic cats alone is devastating. And my dogs, well they have to be trained to recall on command, no matter what is running by and if they can’t be trusted, then they can’t be loose, period. Chasing deer and elk can stress out the herds as well as put them and the dogs in danger from vehicle traffic. Moose, mountain lions and coyotes can easily kill a dog, whether I’m out hiking or they’re passing through our yard, so again, I have to be careful. For instance, I never leave my dogs out in the yard unattended for more than a minute or two and I don’t let my cats out at night; they’re just not equipped to deal with the predators out there. I’ve heard of several pet owners in my community who acted very irresponsibly and left their pets out to fend for themselves, with tragic results. Not only for the pet, but also for the wild animal that was only doing what comes naturally as a way to survive and then was killed because of that. So you see how everyone was harmed by one person’s inattention? And anyway, who doesn’t sleep a little better at night knowing their beloved pets are right where they belong, snuggled in a cozy pet bed…… inside?

Dogs and Cars

Dog Love Car

Dog Love Car

Have you ever noticed that there’s a universal dog call? It’s not a whistle, or even a can opening, it’s the well-known phrase; “wanna go for a ride”? Across the board, I’ve rarely seen it not work & that’s a VERY important fact if you happen to rescue loose dogs off of highways a lot, which I do.

I’ve been faced with some very skittish pups in some very dangerous places, trying to get the to come for a treat just so I can get them away from traffic. It can be scary as hell & it’s rarely as easy as I’d like it to be. However, one very early morning, on my way to teach an EMS class, I passed a huge dog running up the highway the opposite direction. Lucky day, I thought because it was a weekend & there really wasn’t another car anywhere. So I made a u-turn, drove a hundred yards past the dog & pulled over with treats in hand. This poor. huge fellow was completely panicked; you know the look, just in survival mode & ready to plow through me just so he could keep running, it just about broke my heart. He passed my car, I jumped in & pulled ahead & tried it all over again without luck. Being a firm believer in Einstein’s definition of crazy, I used my serious voice to my dogs riding along with me (to keep them in the back seat), pulled up next to the dog, opened my door & said, “wanna go for a ride”? Then “get in the car”. And you’ll never guess what happened next; yep, I was flattened by 120 lbs of scared dog, leaping across my lap & settling into the front seat. He was so tall that his head pushed up against my car’s ceiling & so scared that the whole car shook along with him, but he was safe! I got his owner’s number from his collar (thank you for being a saavy dog owner), found his worried-sick family & delivered him to them in just a few minutes. They told me that he had run off after a fox the night before & here’s the interesting part; he lived a good 8 miles in the opposite direction in which he’d been traveling. So much for all those pets you here about making their way across 5oo miles to their old home, I think they are the rare exception.

With all the great precautions a responsible dog owner can take; micro-chips, collars & up to date tags with phone numbers, they still have to be safely caught for someone to get them home. Scary huh? Another thing we see a lot in my area are people vacationing with their pets without any tags or ID, or if they do have tags, the phone number doesn’t have an area code.

So please do your best not to have your pet wander but always be prepared for the chance that they will & make it as easy as possible to get them home to their cozy pet beds & loving family.