My Daisy spent our first, and last, visit to the dog park tucked neatly behind my legs, shaking and softly whining. Clearly this wasn't the place for us. I was, frankly, in awe of the dogs who romped and played with abandon. I spent some time wondering where I had gone wrong that my pet would so roundly reject the kind of playtime I imagined every dog welcomes. After asking around, however, I discovered that Daisy is not alone in her disdain for dog park rough-housing and that dogs, just like people, have varied tastes when it comes to social time.
Luckily, we've since tried our hand at some pet-friendly events that don't involve rowdy off-leash play, and these seem to be more to her liking. Maybe your park-averse pup, or your dog park hero, will enjoy these too.
James River Cellars: A few times a year James River Cellars opens up their wine tasting events to four-legged friends. The winery is set on a lovely piece of land conveniently located on Route 1/Brook Road in Hanover County and has lots of shade trees and grassy areas. Their next pet-friendly event is Fridays on the Patio on Friday, July 9. Click here for details.
Farmers Markets: Most local farmers markets are pet-friendly, so bring along your pet when stocking up on fresh veggies and other goodies!
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: You don't want to miss Fidos After 5 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. On designated Thursday nights, the garden stays open until dark and offers wine tastings, food, music and more. And, you can bring your pet! The garden offers an idyllic setting in which to enjoy a summer evening with your pet. The sunset view over the Conservatory is not to be missed! Upcoming dates are July 8 and August 12. Click here for details.
Richmond Kickers Soccer: Sports fans can enjoy a night of pet-friendly fun on Saturday, July 24 when the Richmond Kickers open the stadium to dogs! Click here for details.
Art Works: Art and animals go hand in hand, and you can bring your pooch to the opening of the August/September show at Art Works in Manchester. This pet-friendly August 27 extravaganza will feature a pet fashion show, paint your own birdhouse activity, silent auction, a juried, animal-themed art show and more! Click here for details.
Valentine Richmond History Center: History buffs and their pups can enjoy guided walking tours through Richmond's historic neighborhoods with History Hounds, presented by the Valentine Richmond History Center. The next date is Saturday, September 18. Click here for details.
Be sure to be on the lookout for our annual pet-friendly Halloween party, Holiday Extravaganza and more at www.richmondspca.org/events.
Maya Erhardt is manager of community development for the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography, or those of our other bloggers, please click here. Before submitting a comment, please review our guidelines.