Pet friendly parks and trails are all around Aiken County, offering places for dogs and their owners to get some exercise and fresh air.
“We encourage people to bring their dogs out and socialize them and get them used to places as much as they can,” said Sheri Scarborough, owner of Downtown Dog in Aiken.
The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare has a dog park at their facility, which requires a membership. Visitors can use the dog park between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for $10 with updated vet records.
Claire Grimes, development director at the Albrecht Center, said giving your pup a good breakfast and taking them for a long walk is the start of a great day. She recommends taking them out for interaction with other dogs, if they’re social, is also good.
Grimes also said it’s a good idea to take pets to big-box pet stores, as well as locally-owned pet stores, to get them out of the house and buy them a special treat or new toy.
Local pets will be welcome at the Aiken Standard’s first Paws & Claws Pet Expo this Saturday. The expo will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, 199 Willow Run Road.
There will be live educational demonstrations, a Pet Beauty Pageant, a number of local vendors, entertainment, and more. There will be a $1 admission fee at the door, which will be donated to the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.
A variety of local vendors will be set up at the expo, showcasing everything from animal treats to mobile veterinary services.
Other places dog owners can also take their pets are to Aiken’s Hitchcock Woods, which requires dogs be controlled by leash or voice command, and be within sight of owners at all times. Dog rules and restrictions can be found on the Hitchcock Woods website.
Scarborough called Hitchcock Woods “Aiken’s best kept secret.”
Walking tracks as local parks in Aiken are also great places to take your pooch for a walk – including Citizens Park, Virginia Acres Park at the Odell Weeks Activities Center, and the new Generations Park.
The Bark Park in North Augusta is a dog park created by Leadership North Augusta, and has both a small dog and large dog area. The park is open dawn until dusk, the same operating hours as the North Augusta Greeneway, which is only a few strides away and a great location to add a little more exercise.
The Greeneway is an 8-plus mile trail surrounding the city that allows dogs, as long as they are leashed.
Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.