Updated: Dec 25, 2022
Oh boy, oh boy, oh BOY! Today I’m talking about one of my favorite things and that’s
going to the PARK!
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s been a rough time these last few years. As a dog, I’m sensitive to the ways your anxiousness, depression and plain futility has increased, and especially how we haven’t been going outside as much. I worry about you. But. It makes me really happy when you have more time to spend with me, like when you and the kids have been at home more and I get extra cuddles and play time and reassurance from having you nearby. So while everything’s getting back to normal for you, I’m losing something really valuable – time with the humans I love best. That’s why it’s really important, and encouraging, that so many places are taking furry fam into account as they reopen to the public. Research is showing the many benefits being pet-friendly brings to shops, venues, and attractions, and these organizations are really listening. Now, as you’re getting back into the world, you can take me with you! Here are a few of the things you can do in Alabama to stretch your legs, whether you have two or four. Shopping Stores are beginning to recognize that companion animals are considered a member of the family. This means more and more shoppers are taking animals into account when planning and shopping for daily life and for special trips. So it makes sense that well behaved dogs are welcome to join their humans shopping at pet stores, and places like Pet Supplies Plus in Tuscaloosa have the added advantage of grooming services and even a self-serve dog wash. Similarly, a growing number of stores supplying lovers of the outdoors, like the Alabama Outdoors chain and Academy Sports Outdoors, welcome us dogs who love joining their humans on their trips. As any growing family knows, having pets can be a little like having kids, in that you need (and want!) to have them with you as you do the things to keep the house functioning, so places like Bed Bath and Beyond and HomeGoods welcome pups who need all day supervision. Then for a bit of fun, we can visit the special Market at Pepper Place, grab books at Barnes and Noble, pick up a gift at Monograms Plus, or pick up some beauty supplies at Glow, all together! Dining If us dogs can handle the dinner table, we’re welcome to join our humans at restaurants all over Alabama, such as The Tipping Point in Montgomery which has earned 4.4 out of 5 stars in reviews. Buzzcatz Coffee and Sweets in Orange Beach is a welcoming mid-day stop with a dog-friendly porch, or if you’re in Theodore, make sure to visit Pelican Reef Restaurant, where the waiters are as attentive to us dogs are they are to our humans. As boutique beer and spirits are becoming more popular, people with their finger on the pulse are opening up breweries all over. Naturally, these trendsetters are listening to their customers and catering to furry fam who join their humans visting for tastings and meals. Try Braided River Brewing Company in Mobile, Cross-eyed Owl Brewing Company in Decatur, or Big Beach Brewing in Gulf Shores for some live music on the weekends. Cultural Attractions From movies to history to racing, Alabama offers us and our humans engaging activities to take part in together. For an old school experience under the stars, but from the safety an comfort of your car, go catch a movie at Grand River Drive-In in Leeds, where dogs on leashes are welcome outside and younger members of the family can enjoy a playground and a mini-golf course. In Montgomery, take your pup on a walk while you enjoy the Civil Rights Audio Tour and listen to information and quotes about one of the most important movements in American history. For some military history, dogs and their owners are welcome to wander around Fort Gaines in Dauphin Island, or USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile. There are even pet-friendly museums. Lincoln has a treat for motorheads and their furry fam, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, where dogs are welcome to wander around exhibits showing historic vehicles and “the most competitive race track in NASCAR,” the Talladega Superspeedway. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia offers a self-paced tour, and dogs on leashes are invited to join you. For the Insta-preneurs, the Coolshots Selfie Museum in Orange Beach offers a variety of backdrops for photo ops with your favorite furry friend. Or if you’re in Huntsville, stop by Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment with your puppy and visit the flea market, or check out galleries and theaters and get amongst the artists working out of over a hundred studios in the historic factory building. Beaches and State Parks But perhaps the most fun, from my perspective, is when I get to meander among the sights and smells of Alabama’s countless outdoors areas that are open to the public. Although in state parks dogs are not allowed in stores, restaurants, pools or on bike or horse trails, we’re still welcome to wander around with our people, getting some fresh air and exercise, meeting other pups and people, and using up some of our furniture chewing energy. Try Chewacla State Park in Auburn, with it’s beautiful waterfalls and trails that vary between 30 minutes and an hour to complete, or explore the glorious flora throughout Cheaha State Park in Delta, where the view makes the trek so worthwhile. In Dauphin Island, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary invites dogs on leashes to enjoy the many trails while our humans check out the wildlife and scenery. Or for a wet and wild experience, visit the Hudson Marina in Orange Beach, where you can hire a pontoon to get out on the water for the day. The stretch of beach between Fort Morgan Pier and Old Fisherman’s Wharf at the Fort Morgan Historic Site Bayside Beach in Gulf Shore is a great place for playing in the sand and lapping waves. Petplace recommends that when thinking about where to go with your furry fam, you take into account that we are all individuals, just like you. And just like you, some of us might not enjoy being in crowded places. This might result in distress, or in acting out like making a lot of noise, mess, or jumping all over people in the street. Don’t pressure us to go out if we’re showing these signs that we’re not ready for it. Also, while all these places are welcoming, most require us to be kept on a leash at all times, for both of our sake. Being social is a skill, so make sure we know how to follow instructions like sit and stay when we’re told. That goes both ways, too! It’s polite for humans to be attentive and follow the rules of the place, to ensure pet-friendly outings are positive. If everything goes well, we’ll hopefully see more and more places open their doors to us. Just hearing that word gets my tailing thumping. More and more cities are building specially designed parks for dogs that take into account all the things we love to do, like run around as fast as we can, splash around in the heat, play on obstacles, and, of course, meet other dogs. Here’s a few of my favorite parks in Alabama, that are ideal according to recommendations from visitors and experts alike.. First Up Hannah Daye Ridling Bark Park 6055 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery, AL 36116 Every layout comes with the latest social features built in. Readers will be able to easily share posts on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, view how many people have liked a post, made comments and more. With the Wix, building your online community has never been easier. Next Opelika Dog Park at Floral Park 704 Shamrock St, Opelika, AL 36801 I had to put this one in for the commitment of the community! There is an active Facebook page for residents who share everything from safety information to memes about dogs and local go-tos and no-gos. The park was set up as a response to high community interest from people who really care about their dogs, with weave poles, tunnels, ramps, and jumps for stimulation. Located in a larger park, humans can be assured that as well as committed and caring human visitors, the space is well looked after and stocked with waste bags and other amenities. Hey! Keep those tails Wagging Moody Dog Park 663 Park Ave, Moody, AL 35004 One of the great things about dog parks is it gives us a chance to learn things like how to act around other dogs and humans, and when it’s time to play and when to listen. Someone told me this is just the place to do so, a puppy-friendly environment with areas for big and small dogs to run around off-leash, and a walking trail to take in the sounds and smells and sights. Piles of rocks and stumps to climb on add an extra level of excitement, or for more training focused play with our humans they’ve included dog ramps. Get Inspired Jasper’s Dog Park at Eagle Point Park 500 12th Ave NE, Jasper, AL 35504 Whoever built this park really loves us dogs! Like all the parks listed here, they made special, separately fenced off-leash areas for larger dogs and smaller dogs. Unlike other parks, though, they put in agility equipment for us to play on, or even practice some specialized training. The design of the doggie water fountain is considerate - you won’t see us getting all muddy just to get a drink. And importantly, the park itself is well cared for with a strong community. Park made by dog people, for dogs (and their people)! Remy’s Dog Park at Red Mountain Park 2011 Frankfurt Drive, Birmingham, AL 35211 What really excites me about this place is all the trees! Us dogs can’t cool down as easily as humans, so areas with shade are very important. And they smell good too! The other great thing is that the park is designed with a special area for us dogs who are a little distressed by all the rough-housing energy of some dogs. This special needs area is perfect for dogs who are a little older or a little more skittish and want a gentler social time. Dog Park & Bars There’s also budding trend of private dog parks, which are accessible by paying a membership fee. The benefit of this is an assurance that, unlike public dog parks, all of us dogs have been individually screened for up-to-date vaccinations, are desexed, are of the correct age, and our training and behavior is reliable. Park owners stress that they are the safest places for us dogs to play, and our humans to relax. These dog bars also serve human drinks. This is great for humans to socialize with other humans who also love animals. But there is a little worry, according to reviews that this might draw human’s attention away from their Furry FAMs as we play. This was the number one concern of people going to dog parks with bar, and it shouldn’t be forgotten. To rectify this, the dog park & bars instead have staff keeping an eye on the play areas, which is good, but remember that nothing beats the attention and care from our own humans. We need you to be there for us dogs, if things get a little overwhelming! We will be sending RESCUE85 reviewers with their Furry FAMs to visit. For an extensive list of dog parks in Alabama and across America, visit BringFido.com. Parks were included on the basis that they cohere with recommendations from the RSPCA and the Dog and Cat Management Board.