Best City For Dogs 2013
Each year, the editors of DOG FANCY magazine search the country for the most dog-friendly cities in search of the one that will be named DogTown USA.
Lynn Hayner |
Posted: August 14, 10 a.m. PST
And the winner for most dog-friendly city is...drum roll please...
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Dogs can get their own Rocky Mountain high in Steamboat Springs. Standing at almost 7,000 feet above sea level, the town offers abundant outdoor activities, dog-friendly businesses, and residents who support dogs in need.
Editor Ernie Slone visits the winning city to deliver the grand prize, read more here>>
"In Steamboat, dogs splash through the Yampa River Core Trail, ride on rafts and kayaks, join in neighborhood parties, and walk with their owners on miles of scenic trails,” says Nikki Inglis, public relations manager for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. "At RitaValentine Park and Spring Creek Park, dogs enjoy off-leash trails and playtimes.”
In town, dogs and owners dine at pooch-friendly cafes such as the Slopeside Grill. Visitors traveling with four-legged friends can choose from one of the Steamboat area’s nine dog-friendly hotels. At the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, dog visitors can sleep in a special Sweet Sleeper Dog Bed. Dogs in Steamboat accompany owners on errands, too. "At the Mountain View Car Wash, residents can wash their car and then their dog too, in a separate dog wash station,” Inglis says. "The post office even has leash racks by the bike racks for the customers’ dogs.”
At local businesses such as Moots, a bike frame manufacturer, and Ski Town Media Inc., dogs work alongside owners. "Every day, half a dozen dogs show up for work in our headquarters, warehouse, and dealer service offices,” says Bill Gamber, co-founder of Honey Stinger, Big Agnes, and Bwear Action Products, or BAP!. In the BAP! retail store, customers receive a greeting from shop dog Oscar, a 3-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. "Dogs generate smiles, laughs, and energy,” Gamber says. "We can’t even imagine a work environment without our furry, four-legged friends.”
In fall and spring, Steamboat’s dogs splash during the Poochy Paddle at the Old Town Hot Springs pools. "Dogs swim, jump off pool decks, fetch tennis balls, and drench their owners,” Inglis says. At the annual Yampa River Festival hosting world-renowned kayakers, dogs compete in river navigation and retrieving at the Crazy River Dog competition. They also participate in the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival’s Dog Dash, racing through the town’s abundant snow while pulling children in sleds behind them.
At the Yampa Valley Medical Center, locals and their dogs work as partners, providing therapeutic visits. "Remi, my 6-year-old Brittany, is famous for snuggling in bed with patients,” says Lisa Warner, a Heeling Friends pet partner. "He shows an amazing sense of what level of interaction each patient prefers.” The Heeling Friends also volunteer in the Steamboat Springs schools. "Our dogs are patient buddies to children who need extra experience reading aloud,” Warner says.
This summer, Steamboat Springs planned to celebrate another type of working dog: the herding dog. "We’re excited that Steamboat will host the 2013 National Cattledog Association’s National Finals,” Warner said at press time, before the event occurred. "Several of the top cattle dogs and handlers in the nation will compete at the beautiful Flying Diamond Ranch.”
The city estimates that 81 percent of resident dogs are spayed or neutered, and more than 90 percent are licensed. "The vast majority of homeless dogs that come into the local shelter are soon adopted into new families,” says Maggie Smith, co-president of the Routt County Humane Society. Local veterinary hospitals donate thousands of dollars in services to programs run by RCHS, an all-volunteer, nonprofit group. "Residents also contribute generously to RCHS efforts to care for homeless dogs and assist low-income families with emergency veterinary care and spay-neuter costs,” Smith says. "Steamboat families not only appreciate vistas and activities with their dogs; they show great compassion to dogs in need.”
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