Summer’s not over yet! August and September are full of dog-friendly events to get out and have some fun with your dog. One end of summer event you definitely don’t want to miss is the chance to take your dog swimming. All over town over the next month there will be dog swim events at community pools and recreation centers.
To attend these events, dogs should be up to date on vaccines and on leash when not in the pool. And please remember to clean up after your dogs! No one wants to hang out with their dogs in a dirty pool.
Cleveland Dog Swims 2018
Dog Dayz at Manry Pool
Cost is $2 per dog and proceeds go to the Lake Humane Society. 6 to 7 pm Small Dogs (weigh under 50 pounds) only and 7 to 8pm Large Dogs (weigh over 50 pounds) only.
Doggie Dip Day
1pm-4pm at Mentor Civic Center Park Pool. Cost is $5 per dog.
Brookpark Recreation Center
11 am to 1 pm, admission is free for residents and includes a picture with your pet.
For Rocky River residents, this dog swim will be held 6:30-7:30 pm at the Rocky River Rec Center outdoor pool.
13th Annual Big Splash Dog Party
This dog swim benefits Love-A-Stray animal rescue and will be held from 12-5pm at the Ellen Trivanovich Aquatic Center. This event is always very popular, so to avoid the long lines you can pre-register online for $20 and avoid waiting in line. Day of the event admission is $10. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/288457821734245/?active_tab=discussion
There are also dog contests and fun activities for dogs and people.
For Willoughby residents from 1pm-3pm at Osborne Park Pool, 38575 Lakeshore Blvd. Cost is $3 per dog.
When you think of canine massage, you probably picture a dog laying on a table wearing a robe and getting his ears scratched. Or, maybe you think it’s a glorified petting session and just another way cute way to pamper your dog. You may be surprised to know that canine massage is actually a therapeutic practice that can be used to treat all sorts of issues, from stress to arthritis and injuries.
I had no idea what to expect when Hunter got invited to try out a canine massage session courtesy of Diane Pekarek, Certified Canine Massage Therapist and owner of Modern Dog Massage. Diane recently began a partnership with Holistic Lakewood, a human massage studio, to offer canine massage clinics periodically throughout the year.
I figured canine massage would be similar to a human massage and that Hunter would eat it up since he loves to be pet and get attention. In reality, the massage was very different than what you’d expect based on how a human massage goes. Which makes sense, since dogs are very different than humans.
First, there is no table for a dog to lay on. Which is good, since if you think about it, a dog would not be most comfortable laying on a table. As Diane explained, canine massage is all about making the dog feel comfortable, which can mean letting them wander around and get comfortable with their surroundings and the masseuse (as was the case with Hunter), before doing any massage. Since a dog has no idea why they are there, they can’t be forced into receiving a massage, they need to get comfortable with the situation first.
Hunter was definitely a little apprehensive. Unfortunately, I had taken him to the vet right before the visit, so he probably was still in a vet frame of mind when we arrived. Diane was very patient, explaining that many dogs are nervous on their first visit since they really don’t understand what is going on. Diane gently focused on certain areas, noting parts of his body where he was tight, and even mentioning some atrophy he has in his leg from a previous surgery he had. She is very knowledgeable about dogs and their anatomy and I could tell that she was focused on evaluating Hunter to see what his needs were and how best to make this a pleasant experience for him.
She said it can take a few sessions for the dog to get comfortable and understand what is going on, but most dogs adapt to the practice fairly quickly. Hunter spent most of the massage looking at me, which I thought was so sweet. I could tell he was nervous and wanted my assurance that this was ok.
The whole practice of massage was very eye opening to me. We talk so much about the stress relief our dogs provide to us, but do we ever think about all the stress they are taking on living in our world? A typical dog can deal with so much stress on a daily basis – from the anxiety of being left at home all day to the stress of visiting a dog park or accompanying us on our human activities – and it can take a toll on them in many different ways. I love the idea of doing something for my dog to help relieve some of the stress he may be carrying, but is not able to communicate to me.
Canine massage has many physical and emotional benefits, including relieving muscle and joint pain, improving circulation and immune functions, releasing endorphins as well as decreasing stress and deepening the human-canine bond. Although all dogs can benefit from canine massage, it is especially helpful for senior dogs or dogs with recent injuries. Diane encourages pet parents to watch the session and she provides simple massage techniques you can use at home. Each canine massage session lasts 30 minutes and is $40.
To reserve a canine massage session, call Holistic Lakewood at (216) 904-2524. They only schedule canine massages when there are no human massages scheduled, since not everyone may want to be greeted by a dog when going for a massage (crazy I know!)
You can find out more about Diane here as well: https://www.moderndogmassage.com/ She also offers in-home massage sessions for dogs that don’t travel well and schedules appointments at her studio in Medina too.
When take your dog to work day rolls around every June, I am super jealous of anyone who works at a company that participates. I have never worked at a dog-friendly company, or even one that would participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day, and every day when I leave for work I wish I could take my dogs.
(Photo courtesy of Embrace Pet Insurance)
There are so many perks of having a dog in the office – stress relief, mid-day exercise, morale-building – so I can understand why more and more companies are offering the ability to bring dogs to work. Local Cleveland pet insurance provider, Embrace Pet Insurance recently did a survey which found that:
50% of policyholders wished their workplace was pet-friendly
30% of policyholders have pet-friendly employers
70% of policyholders said, if interviewing for a new job, an employer with a pet-friendly workplace would be very appealing.
As more and more companies consider pet-friendly policies, Take Your Dog to Work Day is a great time for a workplace to try it out and see if it’s a good fit. Pet Sitters International, the founder of Take Your Dog to Work Day, has a free toolkit for any employers interested in planning a Take Your Dog to Work day, as well as some sample “dogs at work” policies, which can be found here: https://www.petsit.com/toolkit
To encourage more workplaces to take part in Take Your Dog to Work Day, Embrace Pet Insurance is giving away three prize packs to participating workplaces. The prize packs include a graphic tee, pet bandannas, tennis balls, pet treats and Pooch selfie smartphone attachments. Embrace will accepting entries here: https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/waterbowl/article/TYDTWD-giveaway-2018 until June 12.
It doesn’t seem like spring is coming anytime soon, but eventually it will be here (or more likely we will go straight to 90 degrees). Once the warmer temperatures hit, many of us turn our attention to getting more active with our dogs, maybe even running with them. Luckily, the Cleveland-area has several dog-friendly 5ks starting this month and going through the summer for you to get out and get fit with your dog!
Created by a health researcher, Bethany Lavins-Merillat, the site allows you to search by your city to find dog-friendly races near you.
Here are a sampling of some upcoming dog-friendly races, or walks, to check out. Just a note, many of the races sponsored by Hermes Cleveland are dog-friendly, the ones listed below are either fundraisers for rescue groups or shared here because the organizers reached out to me to let me know it’s dog-friendly. It’s always a good idea to check with race organizers for other races if you are unsure if dogs will be welcome.
This one is also a walk and it raises funds for the Northeast Ohio SPCA. It will be held at Edgewater Park and will also feature refreshments, a DJ, photo booth, face painting, contests, and more. Find out more and register here: https://northeastohiospca.org/events
This race/walk will take place at Jacobs Pavilion at the Nautica Entertainment Complex and raises funds for the Cleveland-based Wavemaker Program in schools, to help them host beach cleanup events and build safe water projects. Find out more here: https://www.drinklocaldrinktap.org/act/4-miles-4-water/
Do you have a life to-do list (I don’t like the term bucket list, too depressing) for your dog? I have one for Hunter and Roscoe, although most of the items on the list are things that only Hunter will do since as a shy, fearful dog, I know Roscoe would not be comfortable doing some of these things. Hunter has always been an exceptionally friendly and easy-going dog, so I pretty much know he is down for any activity.
As you can see, we’ve completed quite a few of the things on our list, but we still have more to do (follow us on IG @dogsinthecle!) Last week we took a step towards completing item #7 on the list – Therapy Dog training! Hunter went to his first session this past week at Fortunate Fido to find out if he has what it takes to become a therapy dog and I am excited to learn more about it.
What is a Therapy Dog?
Just in case there is any confusion, since people have asked me when I’ve brought it up, a therapy dog is not a service dog. A therapy dog’s role is provide affection and comfort to various members of the public. Unlike service dogs which typically work with one individual who needs emotional and/or health-related assistance, service dogs don’t get any special access places (unless they are working there). Therapy dogs can work in many different places, such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes and libraries. In recent years therapy dogs have been used in crisis situations (visiting schools after mass shootings, for example) and even in airports as a way to relieve the stress of traveling.
As someone who works a standard 8-5 Monday through Friday work schedule, I was concerned that would be less opportunities for people who can only volunteer on weekends. The instructor assured me that many organizations need therapy dogs on Saturdays and Sundays and many nursing homes are flexible about when you can visit once you establish a relationship with them.
How does my dog become a therapy dog?
In order to become a therapy dog and work in various locations, you must register your dog with one of the national Therapy Dog organizations. Alliance of Therapy Dogs, PetPartners, Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dog International, are just a few of the therapy dog organizations you can register your dog with so that he or she will be accepted into various programs at schools or other institutions. There are fees involved, since part of the reason you join one of these organizations is to get liability coverage in case something happens when your dog is at an assignment.
If you are interested in getting your dog registered with one of these places you will want to look into training for your dog since there is a handling test required for each organization. A few local Cleveland trainers do therapy dog training, including Fortunate Fido, Alpha Dog Pet Center, Total Canine and The Dog Class. Classes are often not regularly offered, so it’s a good idea to reach out a trainer near you to see if it’s something they are offering currently or could offer in the future.
The training will vary depending on which organization you plan to get certified with, some may require Canine Good Citizen certificate first, while others may not. The Fortunate Fido training is connected with Alliance of Therapy Dogs and does not require CGC certification first.
I am still learning more about registering with this organization and what training is involved, so I will share more details as I learn them. I am going into it more as a learning experience and deciding whether this is something that would be a good fit for Hunter, and for myself, since it will require a lot of time from me. But as a true believer in the power of dogs to reduce stress and improve your overall state of mind, I am really excited about the opportunity to spread joy though Hunter’s undying love of people!
2018 marks the fifth year of this list! Woohoo! Even though it’s always a monster to complete, I have so much fun compiling the list every year. I love to see all the new events and dog-friendly places that are added, as well as the events that the dog community continues to support each year. Since I started this blog in 2013, Cleveland’s dog-friendly community has grown so much. I think we are well on our way to becoming one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country!
So, once again, whether you have an active dog, a lazy dog or a somewhere-in-between dog, there’s something on this list he or she will enjoy. Check it out:
Participate in the puppy bowl – Cleveland will have its very own first-ever puppy bowl, thanks to newish dog-friendly brewery Terrestrial Brewing Company. On Feb. 4 from 1-5 stop by for a football themed doggy-costume contest, a Limited Edition Terrestrial dog collar and $1 off full house beers for all dog bowl club members (they have a dog bowl club, how cool is that?). Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2007755742846036/
Attend a winter yappy hour – A winter happy hour you can take your dog to! It’s a miracle. This shows me how truly dog-friendly Cleveland is becoming. This Saturday, Jan. 20, visit Bottlehouse Brewery for a yappy hour to benefit Rescue Me Ohio. You must get tickets in advance, find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/776086845909909
Schedule a photo session for your pet – You can’t consider yourself a true dog lover until you have professional photos taken of your dog! Trust me, it’s worth it. On February 3, Chewbone Studio will have “Sweetheart” mini sessions just in time to have your dog’s photo taken for Valentine’s Day. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/140810376631277/
Go to a hockey game with your dog – This season’s dog-friendly Pucks and Paws game will take place on Sunday, April 8th at 3:00pm at Quicken Loans Arena as the Monsters take on the San Antonio Rampage. Proceeds go to the Cleveland APL. Find out more info here: http://groups.theqarena.com/paws
Run a 5K with your dog – Many races organized by Hermes Cleveland are dog friendly, including the Siberian Husky 5k/1 Mile “Idid-a-Run” sponsored by the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Cleveland on April 7 and the Love-A-Stray Fur Fun 5K on April 29. Check out their website for more info on races: http://www.hermescleveland.com
Visit a botanical garden – There really aren’t that many botanical gardens that allow dogs, so we should be very appreciative that we have the Holden Arboretum. This is a beautiful place to take a walk with your dog when spring is in bloom.
Take your dog to a baseball game –Even though it seems that Puppypalooza at Progressive Field is gone for good, you can still catch a minor league game with your dog. The Lake Erie Captains have already announced a couple of dates – April 21 is the first game. Akron Rubber Ducks and Lake Erie Crushers have also hosted dog-friendly game nights. Stay tuned for more details as they are announced. https://www.facebook.com/events/2025836000987345/
Visit a vineyard with your dog –I look forward to the summer for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that I can drink wine outside with my dogs! We are so lucky that several area wineries host yappy hours during the summer including Debonne Cellars, The Winery at Wolf Creek and Thorncreek Winery. Check out one of my favorite events Woof, Wag and Wine, Lake Humane’s annual dog-friendly winery event on June 16th this year. https://www.facebook.com/events/155346205095582/
Go to the ultimate dog park – If you haven’t visited Bow Wow Beach in Stow yet, this is a must do for any Northern Ohio dog lover. This huge park has a lake right in the middle and significant space for your dog to run around. There is a small dog area as well.
Enter your dog in a frisbee competition – As part of Lake Farm Park’s Working Dog weekend June 8-10, your dog can participate in the area’s biggest frisbee competition. There will be six major events that weekend, find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1996721460606302/
Go to an old dog party –Just because your dog is old, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to party! The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs holds their annual “Summer Scoop” also known as the “Old Dog Party” every summer offering activities for senior dogs, including the Old Dog Olympics, an agility course for older dogs. This year’s date is TBA (it’s usually held in August).
Visit a dog park – No matter where you live in Cleveland, a dog park should be nearby. The Downtown Dog Park, Canine Meadows Dog Park and Carolyn Ludgate in Medina are a few of the newer dog parks opened in the last couple of years. Most dogs enjoy a chance to run around with other dogs, so it’s a great way to have your dog burn off some energy. See my list of dog parks here: https://dogsinthecle.com/dog-friendly-cleveland/dog-parks. Take your dog swimming – If your dog likes to swim, keep your eye out for local dog swim events that occur near the end of summer. Lakewood Dog Park’s annual dog swim and Dog Paddle and Pet-a-Palooza are two fun events held every year. Also, Paws by the Lake, a doggie daycare facility in Avon, also offers pool passes for guests to come and take advantage of their lazy river. Contact them at (440) 933-5297 for more details.
Take your dog to brunch – A great spot to hit during the summer for brunch is Luxe in the Detroit Shoreway. They host a Bow Wow Brunch on Sundays in the summer, choosing a Dog of the Week each week to feature on their Facebook page. Other good brunch choices are Rocky River Wine Bar, Nighttown in Cleveland Heights and Lucky’s in Tremont. https://dogsinthecle.com/dog-friendly-brunches/
Have a drink on a patio with your dog – The list of dog-friendly patios is increasing every year. If you haven’t checked out my list lately, view it here: Where to Go page. My favorites are Nanobrew, Platform and Barrio in Tremont (the Lakewood location is not dog friendly) and Sibling Revelry. Tip – please call ahead and verify you can bring your dog. Policies are always changing.
Go to a dog fashion show – The Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter hosts is annual Pawject Runway dog fashion show every summer where you can enter your dog to be a part of the show and dress him or her up in a costume or bathing suit. It’s usually held in August. Terrestrial Brewing Co. also hosted a dog show event last year, so stay tuned to see if they do one this year. Takeyour dog to the beach – Hunter, Roscoe and I are big fans of the lake. You can bring your dog along for a swim or to lay in the sand at Edgewater and Fairport Harbor beaches. A few other areas allow dogs as well, but are more under the radar (like Rocky River Park). Edgewater and Fairport have designated beach areas for dogs, so you always know it’s ok to take your dog there.
Take your dog shopping – I am always hesitant to name stores that allow your dog since that can change based on management and staff at each location. I do know that several stores at Crocker Park and Legacy Village including Apple and Barnes and Noble, and many shops on Main St. in Chagrin Falls, are dog friendly. Always ask before bringing your dog inside.
Get ice cream with your dog – Last summer Graeters at Crocker Park hosted a dog night on the first Thursday of every month (date may change this year) with special treats for dogs. Other good spots to have ice cream with your dog are any Mitchell’s location with outdoor seating and Mason’s Creamery in Ohio City (which often lets dogs inside, just ask first!). Mason’s Creamery loves dogs so much they even have an Instagram account – @PuppiesofMasonsCreamery to highlight dogs that visit. Your dog might get famous on your visit!
Put those jumping skills to use – Buckeye Dock Dogs offers dock diving classes for active dogs who love the water. Check them out at: http://www.buckeyedockdogs.com. You can usually find them at events throughout the summer.
Take your dog to a farmer’s market or Flea Market – During the summer we like to check out the farmer’s market near us, Frostville Farmer’s Market, which allows dogs. The Tremont and Gordon Square Farmer’s Markets are also dog friendly. Dogs are also allowed at the Cleveland Flea to accompany while you shop local vendors and eat local food. Check out @dogsoftheflea on Instagram to see pups enjoying the Flea Market.
Go Paddleboading and/or boating with your dog – Everyone should try paddleboarding or boating with their dog at least once. Here in the Cleveland area you can take your dog to Hinckley Reservation, where dogs are allowed on row boats. Portage Lakes near Akron is another good spot for water activities with your dog. You could also borrow a paddleboard and take your dog paddleboarding pretty much anywhere. Read about our paddleboarding adventure here: https://dogsinthecle.com/paddleboarding-pup
The last two summers Lake Metroparks hosted a few canoe/paddleboard with your dog nights at Fairport Harbor. Hopefully the event will be brought back again this summer!
Go to a summer festival with your dog – Clifton Arts Festival, The Taste of Tremont and The Warehouse District Festival are common dog-friendly festivals. If you have a calm dog that is good with crowds, this is a fun summer activity.
Do Yoga with your dog – Exercising is so much better when you can bring your dog! At Your Yoga in Hinckley you can do “Doga,” ie: Yoga with your dog. Check out their site for upcoming dates and time: https://youryogacleveland.com/services/doga-yoga-pooch/ Last summer there were also several different dog-friendly yoga events throughout Cleveland during the summer. Stay tuned for dates!
Get a cup of coffee with your dog – Lucky’s, Civilization, (both in Tremont), and Rising Star Coffee and Gypsy Bean are all good dog friendly spots for coffee lovers. So bring your dog along next time you want to sit outside with a cup of coffee.
Go camping with your dog – Many area campgrounds are pet friendly including Country Acres Campground in Ravenna. Bring your dog along on your family’s next camping trip.
Go to a drive- in movie – Aut-o-Rama Drive In in North Ridgeville hosted a few pet nights last year to raise money for local rescue groups. The drive-in is always dog-friendly though if you have a quiet, laid back dog who wants to go sit and watch a movie outside with you.
Fundraise for a local rescue group –There are a lot of fun events in the fall hosted by rescue groups to help them raise money for the dogs in their care. Woofstock, Rescue Village’s annual fundraiser held in September, is a fun event held every fall which includes a dog walk and fun activities and vendors for dogs. Date TBA.
Join a pack with your dog – Cleveland Metroparks hosts a number of dog-friendly walks every year as a great way to get out and explore a park you might not regularly visit. Visit the Cleveland Metroparks website to find out dates. There are also many local hiking groups to get your dog out and enjoying the company of other dogs. Elite K911, The Doggie Inn and NEO Dobes all host pack walks throughout the year. Check them out on Facebook to find out dates and locations.
Dress your dog up and go to a Halloween party –Monster Mutt Dash, hosted by Berea Animal Rescue Fund, is a fun annual Halloween event to check out. You can dress your dog up in a Halloween costume and run a 5K or participate in a 1-mile walk. Monster Mutt Dash also includes a Halloween after party with vendors and activities for dogs.
Hike in a National Park – We are so lucky to have the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in our backyard. Believe or not, a lot of national parks aren’t dog friendly (crazy, I know). And fall is definitely the best time of year to visit. Hunter, Roscoe and I love exploring the area around Peninsula and enjoy checking out the waterfalls at Blue Hen and Buttermilk Falls.
Dress up your dog and join a parade –One of the best Halloween events every year is the Spooky Pooch Parade in Lakewood. Held in early October, it’s a must do event for anyone who likes to see dogs dressed up in costume strutting their stuff through the streets of Lakewood. Date TBA.
Go see Santa Paws! Don’t miss your chance at the end of November and early December to get your dog’s photo taken with Santa. I try to compile a list every year, so stay tuned! Here’s my favorite picture of Hunter and Roscoe with Santa Paws: https://dogsinthecle.com/category/santa-paws/
Go to a brewery with your dog – With the influx of new dog-friendly bars, there’s so many more indoor spots you can take your dog in the winter. Two of my favorites are Sibling Revelry Brewery in Westlake and Terrestrial Brewing in the Edgewater area. Dogs are always welcome at both places, so either is a great place to visit during the winter months when your dog is tired of being trapped inside.
Put your dog through an obstacle course– If you have an active, energetic dog, you may want to check out Agility. Canine University of Ohio and Cleveland All Breed Training Club are two area training facilities that offer classes. Find out more here: http://www.cabtc.org/agility
Go to church with your dog – So now there’s really no excuse not to go to church! Good Soil Lutheran Ministries in Lakewood allows dogs on the first Sunday of every month at 2pm for its Pets are Welcome Service (PAWS). Although the church is Lutheran, all faiths are welcome. Visit them online at http://www.goodsoillutheran.org
Join an indoor playgroup – PetPeople hosts playgroups for small and large dogs at different area stores. Check out their calendar for dates: https://www.petpeoplestores.com/calendar.html I only see a large dog playgroup coming up in Hudson, but check back for more dates. Also, Grateful Dog Bakery hosts a small dog play group at their North Ridgeville store.
Visit a nature center with your dog- Most Cleveland Metroparks that have nature centers allow dogs inside. Hunter and I like to make a stop at the Rocky River Reservation Nature Center on really cold days to get out from the cold for a little bit. Brecksville Nature Center also allows dogs inside to check out their nature center.
Teach your dog a new trick– Dogs get bored in the winter. Especially when we have a month of days with below freezing temperatures. Getting your dog out to learn some new tricks is a great winter time activity. Fortunate Fido, Canine Affair and North Coast Dogs offer a variety of classes to work on everything from puppy socialization and behavior issues, to new tricks.
Go to an art gallery with your dog – Did you know the 78th Street Studios are dog-friendly? You can bring your dog along while you visit the studios on the third Friday of every month when they open up the studio for an art walk with gallery exhibits and shopping. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/140425613315912/
Go swimming at an indoor pool – At the Barkley Pet Hotel you can reserve time in their pool to take your dog swimming. Another option for those who are further south is Healing Waters Canine Experience, which does water therapy for dogs but you can also schedule time to just have your dog swim in their indoor pool. Find out more at http://www.healingwaterscanineexperience.com
Certify your dog as a good canine citizen – I was so proud of Hunter when he got his CGC certificate through Fortunate Fido in Columbia Station. It’s a great course to take to teach your dog manners if you like to take him to dog-friendly patio visits, or if you want to find out if your dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog. Most area training places offer classes to earn the certification.
Please note that some cities have Breed Specific Legislation in place. As ill conceived as this law is, I would advise you not to bring a Pitbull into a city with this ban in place. Lakewood (being lifted soon), Warrensville Heights, Parma and Brook Park all currently have BSL laws in place.
During the summer, it’s all about the lake and in the fall it’s all about the Metroparks. Hunter, Roscoe and I love visiting the Metroparks and Cuyahoga Valley National Park for walks when the weather cools off and the leaves start changing colors. A couple years ago I found a list of some of the best dog-friendly trails and made it my goal to go to as many of them as possible. At this point I’ve been to most of them and discovered so many other great ones.
And now I have a new favorite spot to add to my list: Rocky River Reservation South, Berea Falls! I have been exploring all of the different spots of Rocky Reservation and drove a little further south on Valley Parkway last weekend. I discovered this beautiful spot and walked around some waterfalls with Hunter and Roscoe.
Such a great spot to visit in the fall. What are some of your favorite trails to visit?