Monday, July 8, 2013

Staycations: Explore your area with your pet!

Before we get into today's post about staycations with your pet - that's taking a vacation in your own town - let's do a little housekeeping!

Due to the sad demise of Google Reader, we have made the HSEC blog available on feedly, an alternative blog reading platform. Do you have another favorite blog reader? Let us know! You can also sign up for email updates. Just enter your email on the right side of the screen, and you will receive each new post straight to your inbox. Is there another way you would like us to be accessible? Leave us a comment and we'll do our best!

We have kittens coming out our ears! Do you want to have a little kitten cuteness in your life? Sign up for a volunteer spot in the cat palace - we really need volunteers to help ensure the cats and dogs are properly exercised and socialized every day. We're also looking for volunteers for our next dog wash, which will take place on July 27th. Sign up for both opportunities through the volunteer website.

Now, onto the post!

Last week we talked about the fun ways you can incorporate your pet into your vacation. It takes a bit more planning and some basic preparations, but it's great to share those memories with your pet. But what if you just can't take the time - or spend the money - for a grand family vacation this year? A staycation, where you take advantage of local activities instead of heading for a distant tourist spot, might be just what you need.

Staycationing can easily include your pet with much less hassle, expense, and stress than a traditional vacation, since you can keep up your pet's normal schedule and return to a familiar place each night. Below are a few tips to help you staycation, Greenville style.
Buttercup is looking for summer fun in a forever home!

Take a Walk
Lace up those tennis shoes and hit the trail! Your dog will love the new smells, and you'll love the feeling of being outside, getting some exercise, and exploring your own backyard. It's easy to find a trail to suit any fitness level, from a leisurely stroll around Town Common, to a one-mile loop in Alice F. Keene Park, to a longer walk in River Park North. For a complete list of trails in Pitt County, click here.

Get Back to Nature
If you're slightly more adventurous, consider taking your staycation to the next level by checking out a nearby state park. Goose Creek is the closest to Greenville, but there are several other parks within an easy drive, including Cliffs of the Neuse and Medoc Mountain. Hiking, swimming, camping, and picnicking are always better with a fuzzy friend to share the trail. For more information about North Carolina State Parks, consult their website. Read carefully to learn which areas and activities allow dogs.

Safety Tip: Be careful about exercising your dog during the heat of the day. Make sure they always have access to water, and watch for signs of over-exertion, especially if they are usually couch potatoes.

Make Some Friends
Sometimes you just have to get out there and sniff a few butts. Well - your dog does, anyway. Dog parks can be great places for your dog to meet some new buddies and blow off a little steam. Check out the Greenville dog park, just half a mile down from Town Common.

Ok, but what about meeting other human dog-lovers? What about organizing a dog-walking group, or a socialization or training club with some of those new friends you're making at the dog park? is a good place to find like-minded people, but there aren't any Greenville groups for pets and animals - yet. Maybe you're the one to get the ball rolling!

Safety Tip: Be aware of how your dog reacts to unfamiliar dogs. Always be alert and ready to intervene if a disagreement begins. For some dogs, the dog park is simply not a safe option.

HSEC alum Lemon checks out the patio at Peasant's Pub
Grab some Good Eats
North Carolina law prohibits dogs from entering restaurants. And that's probably a good thing. But, dogs are allowed in outside areas, as long as it's permitted by the individual restaurant. Scope out restaurants with outside dining, like Sup Dogs or Peasant's Pub, both of which allow dogs on their outdoor patios. For dessert, hop on over to Loreta's Frozen Yogurt, which even has special doggie fro-yo. Or consider an eatery like Sonic where you can eat in your vehicle. Just be sure to call a restaurant first before bringing your pet to make sure that they are dog-friendly.

Hit the Road
Expand your staycation horizons just a tad and consider a day trip! Check out dog parks in Raleigh, or find a dog friendly beach (the closest to Greenville is Atlantic Beach). Take on part (or all!) of the Mountains to Sea Trail that runs a thousand miles across the state from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The best part? You'll still be home for dinner.

Safety tip: Don't push too far or expect too much from your pet.

With these guidelines, we know you'll have some great adventures this summer staycationing with your buddy. Do you know of any other great local pet-friendly businesses, or have other ideas for fun things to do with your pets? Let us know in the comments!

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