CLE Dog-Friendly Halloween Parties

For those of us who loves dogs in costumes (and really, who doesn’t?), Halloween is one of the best times of year. There will be so many chances this October to dress up your dog and go to a dog-friendly party. From parades and 5Ks to costume contests at breweries, it’s going to be a busy month for Cleveland dogs.

Here are some of the parties to check out this month:

Oct. 7, 2017
3rd Annual Dogtoberfest

Stautzenberger College in Brecksville hosts its 3rd annual Dogtoberfest on Saturday. All proceeds will go toward benefiting a variety of local non-profit animal welfare and rescue partners. There will be a “Mutt Struttin’ Costume Contest” and an ice cream social. Find out more here:

Oct. 7, 2017
Bark Boo-Nanza

Bring your dog for dog-friendly trick-or-treating around Sunny Lake in Aurora. The first 125 dogs registered will recieve a Boo Treat Bag. There will also be rescues, vendors, prizes, raffle baskets and a 50/50 raffle. All breed are welcome! More info here:

Photo credit: Freedom Greyhound Rescue of Aurora
Photo credit: Freedom Greyhound Rescue of Aurora


4th Annual Howl-O-Ween Party
Oct. 8, 2017

Golden Retrievers in Need (G.R.I.N.) will be hosting a Chili Cook Off at the 4th Annual Howl-O-Ween Party on Oak Grove Pavilion. Bring a six quart or larger crock pot of your chili and you get into the event for free. There will be human and dog costume contests, doggie ice cream and bobbing for hot dogs, raffles and all the other fun events. Find out more here:

Photo courtesy of G.R.I.N.

Oct. 14, 2017
Monster Mutt Dash

Berea Animal Rescue’s annual 5K and dog walk is always a popular Halloween dog event. Dress up in costume and run or walk with your dog, and then enjoy the fun afterparty! Held at the Cuyahoga Country Fairgrounds, there will be vendors, food, entertainment, raffles, a “boo-tiful” Beer Garden, plus dog games and a costume parade and contest with prizes. Find out more here:

Halloween photos
Oct. 17, 2017


Oct. 21, 2017
Lakewood’ Spooky Pooch Parade

Join in the parade, or just observe from the sidelines, as dogs dressed in some of the best Halloween costumes you’ve ever seen walk down Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.  There will be awards given out in a variety of categories for the costumes. Find out more here:

Oct. 21
Howl-o-Ween 2017

Hosted by B.A.R.C Akron Dog Park, this annual “Howl-O-Ween” event will feature a costume contest for both dogs and humans, plus food, vendors, photos and raffles. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.More info here:

Oct. 21 and 22, 2017
Howl-o-Ween at PetPeople

Head to PetPeople in Strongsville on Oct. 21 or PetPeople in Chagrin on Oct. 22 for a fun doggie Halloween party. There will be including costumes, trick or treat bags and proceeds will benefit local rescues. Find out more here: and here:

16th Annual Boo Wow Walk
Oct. 2, 2017

The Ashtabula County APL will be hosting a Boo Wow Walk featuring an “enchanted” walk along the Maple Ridge Golf Course with 13 “frightful” stops for both you and your dog. Each stop includes a prize for your dog. After the walk, there will be food, costume contests with prizes and photos! Find out more here:

boo walk

Oct. 27, 2017
SRB Halloween Costume Party

The always dog-friendly brewery, Sibling Revelry will be hosting a Halloween party that includes a dog costume contest. There will be costume contests for humans as well, including the chance to win a best “couples” costume for dog/human combos. And, the Barrio food truck will be there! Find out more here:

Crocker Park’s Tricks and Treats
Oct. 28, 2017

Crocker Park’s annual event features Trick-or-Treating at stores around the shopping center as well as a Pet Costume Contest. (many Crocker Park stores are dog friendly!) There will also be vendors and exhibitors, food trucks, live music and entertainment. Find out more here:

Oct. 31, 2017
Barks and Brews Halloween Bash

This dog-friendly event will include live entertainment, food and drinks and a contest for best dressed dog. Winner will receive a $50 gift card to Petco. The Grateful Dog Bakery Inc. will be here with their homemade dog treats. Find out more here:


Happy Fall!

During the summer, it’s all about the lake and in the fall it’s all about the Metroparks. Hunter, Roscoe and I love visiting the Metroparks and Cuyahoga Valley National Park for walks when the weather cools off and the leaves start changing colors. A couple years ago I found a list of some of the best dog-friendly trails and made it my goal to go to as many of them as possible. At this point I’ve been to most of them and discovered so many other great ones.

Now I have my own list of favorite dog-friendly trails, which you can check out in this month’s issue of CLE Dog Magazine:

And now I have a new favorite spot to add to my list: Rocky River Reservation South, Berea Falls! I have been exploring all of the different spots of Rocky Reservation and drove a little further south on Valley Parkway last weekend. I discovered this beautiful spot and walked around some waterfalls with Hunter and Roscoe.


Such a great spot to visit in the fall. What are some of your favorite trails to visit?


A letter to my foster Brody

Dear Brody,

This is a hard one. I mean, it’s never easy giving up a foster, but it does get easier the more you do it and sometimes the tears don’t fall when they leave. But, with you, it’s hard.

I just wanted to give you a place to crash until your forever family showed up. I thought we’d have some fun, get you more socialized and then your new family would show up. You are so cute, I figured it wouldn’t take too long. I’ve always said that being a foster is all about your mindset. If you know it’s temporary and you know you can’t have another dog because it would mean no more fostering, or if you know that every dog you successfully foster means another dog can be saved, it’s easier to keep it light. But I still knew that as a foster some dogs will test you and what a test you ended up being!


As soon as you walked through the door, another shy, scared chihuahua, I knew this wasn’t going to be so easy. Rescued by a wonderful woman, your guardian angel Laura Weitner (read about and see the pictures here:, you had such an interesting backstory.  I don’t know how you did it, living alone in that disgusting house for nine months after your owner died, but I am so glad Laura had the determination to capture you and work to rehabilitate you for so many months. She loved you so much Brody, but knew, like I do, that she was just a part of your journey. She let you go to grow and get stronger with tears in her eyes much like the tears in mine now. I think back to when I went to pick you up, how you wanted nothing to do with me. I could see how attached you’d become to Laura and I wasn’t sure how you’d handle coming home with me.

And then we got home and you jumped in my lap! From day one, you were nothing like what I expected you’d be like. Other than your fear of strangers, you were so easy and so affectionate. And so quirky! What a funny personality you have. Obsessing over your lamb toy, demanding attention and crawling into my wine buffet or under my couch. I knew I had to be picky with where you ended up because you were too special. Your new family needed to appreciate your sensitive nature, your kind heart and let’s admit it, your moody nature with other dogs. I didn’t intend to have you this long and get this attached; I just wanted you to have the best.

I know you loved me and trusted me so I felt like I owed you this letter, but I know that this letter is more for me than for you. You will be fine and you won’t miss me as much as I will miss you. And that gives me the strength to say goodbye.

Thank you for showing me that I am strong enough to love so deeply and let go. You’ve cleared the space for another foster, when I am ready (and it will take some time.)

And, please come visit since you’ll be in Cleveland.

Love you forever Brody.


Dog-Friendly Road Trip: Philadelphia

Inspired by one of my favorite Instagrammers, Andrew Knapp and his dog Momo (@andrewknapp) who live out of a van most of the year and travel around Canada (and sometimes the U.S.), I love to plan road trips with my dogs. Two years ago we went to Charleston, S.C., and had a blast soaking up the Southern charm and dog-friendly hospitality of the city. Last week, we took a road trip to Philadelphia to see a friend of mine and take in some American history in a big city. Philadelphia is about a seven-hour drive, seven and a half with traffic, but a fairly quick and easy trip to take from Cleveland.

This was a big trip of firsts – first time having the dogs stay at a hotel and first time visiting a big city with dogs! I’d been to Philadelphia before but I really didn’t remember much about it. It’s definitely busier, louder and hotter than I remember. Although we had a lot of fun, taking two dogs to a busy, hot city can be somewhat challenging. Here’s the run down on what we did:

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in the Center City area. I’ve heard great things about how dog friendly the Kimpton chain of hotels are so I’d been looking for an opportunity to check them out. The Kimpton has no dog fees and no limit to the number of dogs you can bring, so although it’s on the more expensive side, no pet fees makes it a more affordable hotel option for traveling with dogs.

I hate to complain too much about a hotel that welcomes dogs so openly, but I think due to the fact that they promote themselves as so dog-friendly, I expected a little more. The website mentions that they provide dog-friendly recommendations upon check in and that they have a dog-friendly wine reception, but none of that was mentioned to me when I got there. I ended up asking about what dog-friendly attractions were nearby and was just told one place and that any place with a patio would be dog friendly (which didn’t turn out to be true).

Overall, the staff was very nice and very welcoming of my dogs, so I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience, just not want I expected based on their marketing. I am sure the level of dog-friendliness varies by location too though! The hotel has beautiful décor and is in a great spot for exploring the historical parts of the city and has a lot of cute restaurants and cafes nearby, so I don’t have any big complaints.

We especially loved the wallpaper and yellow doors, and the cool dog lamp.

I will say the one thing I did not enjoy – taking the elevator to take my dogs out to potty. For some reason this didn’t occur to me when I booked a hotel. You would think they’d put dog owners on a lower level, but I had to ride the elevator seven floors early in the morning and every night to take them down. I don’t know that we’d do a hotel again. I think it’s good for some dogs, but not really our thing.

At least Hunter had a good view of the city…even if Roscoe didn’t love the elevator.


Things the dogs really enjoyed – the bed. I think sleeping in the hotel’s luxurious bed was the highlight of the trip for Roscoe.

Where We Ate

So as I mentioned we were told that dogs are allowed at any restaurant with a patio. Although we did find several that allowed them, one that we tried (which was the largest patio we came across) said they couldn’t allow dogs because there were high walls around the patio. Hmmm ok. Most of our options for dog-friendly dining in the city were small sidewalk patios, which are not my favorite. A busy street with dogs in a cramped space is not a great place to take my sometimes barky (looking at you Hunter) dog.

I had a hard time finding good suggestions when I researched places before the trip too. I think the city just doesn’t have as many great patios as we do in Cleveland. Visiting Philadelphia really made me appreciate all the space we have in Cleveland for large, back-of-the-restaurant patios. I didn’t see any like that in Philadelphia that allowed dogs.

If you are visiting the city, here are the places we went:

Belgian Café, 601 N 21st St, Philadelphia

North Third Restaurant, 801 N 3rd St, Philadelphia

Gold Standard Café, 4800 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia

Belgian Café and North Third both provided water bowls, but that was about as dog-friendly as it got.


Originally we had planned to drive to a dog-friendly beach, but I cut the trip a little shorter than planned and we didn’t want to spend a day fighting the traffic. If you are looking for a dog-friendly beach near Philadelphia, Longport Beach on the Jersey shore is one option. It’s about an hour/hour and half drive from Philadelphia with traffic.

Since it was so hot and there aren’t a ton of dog-friendly things to do in the city, we mainly took walks and visited cafes. Philadelphia is not a very green city, but there are quite a few little parks around the historic area where we stayed that are pretty to walk through. Near where we stayed is Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Ben Frankin’s Grave, so it’s fun just walk through these areas and take in the history (the sites themselves are not dog-friendly, just the parks around them).


To give the dogs something fun to do, we decided to hit up the dog park at the Schuylkill River Boardwalk. I really liked this dog park, as it is divided into small and large dog areas and both spaces are fairly big. It also had pools for the dogs and a good number of dogs visiting on Friday afternoon. Hunter had a lot of fun cooling down in the pool.

We didn’t run the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but that is something you could do with your dog!

All in all, it was a fun adventure in a big city for the pups. Not sure it’s really their favorite kind of vacation, but it was a trip I will always remember since I had my dogs there with me. Next trip will definitely be cooler temps and more laid-back activities, probably a beach.

Paint Your Pet (and drink wine!)

As much as I’d love to be, I am really not an artist. I wish I could paint or draw, but I’ve never really excelled at either. Because of this, I was a little nervous to take part in a Paint Your Pet event with Wine & Design. But since it was a fundraiser for the group I foster with, Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, I couldn’t really say no.

I’ve only done one other wine and painting event and the combination of my poor artistic skills and a couple glasses of wine resulted in a less than stellar painting. This time I decided to focus more on the painting and less on the wine and the result was pretty good! I also had a great instructor, Natalie (who also fosters with COPR), who helped guide me through the process.

Tada, Roscoe in his full glory!



In the interest of full disclosure, you do send them a photo and they print out a black and white version that you paint, which makes it much easier than painting it all from scratch. The instructor also provides a lot of tips and tricks to ensure the painting turns out well. All of the paintings turned out really well in our group and would definitely be worthy of hanging on the wall! It was such a fun event, I am looking forward to going back and painting Hunter next. Anytime you can get a group together and drink wine and look at cute pet photos is a good night in my book!

Paint Your Pet is regular occurrence at Wine & Design and other painting places throughout Cleveland. And, if you work with a rescue group or non profit you can organize a Paint Your Pet night to raise funds for your group.

Here are some places around Cleveland that host the events:

Wine & Design Cleveland, Rocky River – The group hosts regular paint your pet nights, check out their calendar for more info:

We contacted them about hosting a fundraiser Paint Your Pet night for Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue and they were very accommodating, even fitting us into just a regularly scheduled Paint Your Pet when we couldn’t get enough people to host our own event. Typically you need at least 12 people to host a fundraiser, but they can accommodate up to 30.

Artists Uncorked Lakewood – Next event is July 5   They also host fundraisers, email them for more information.

Painting with a Twist, Avon – The next one on June 25 is sold out, but you can get on their waiting list to find out about upcoming Paint Your Pet events here:

Wine & Canvas in Strongsville also has “Paint Whatever You Want” nights and opportunities to host fundraisers at their facility. You can find out more here:

Now I just have to decide where to hang this Roscoe painting….


The Horrible Hundred 2017

Every year I share this list from the Humane Society of the Horrible 100, the worst of the worst of puppy mills in the U.S., in the hopes that maybe I can educate one more person about why no one should ever buy a puppy from a pet store. I truly believe that there are still a lot of people who do not know the horrors of the life of a puppy mill dog and that buying a pet from a pet store keeps these mills in business. And sadly, in Ohio we really need to be educated because many of the worst offenders are in our own backyard. After Missouri, Ohio is one of the states with the most puppy mills on this list.

As long as dogs are being bred purely for profit with little to no regulation, we cannot as a society support the sale of dogs online or at pet stores. We have more than enough reputable breeders in this country, not to mention the millions of dogs waiting at shelters, to make it unnecessary for anyone to ever need to go to a pet store to buy a dog.

If you have doubts about the seriousness of this issue, please review this list and look at the pictures of dogs rescued from these places. The group I volunteer with, Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, took in a puppy mill dog last year that ended up dying from a serious health issue that the mill ignored until it was too late. This happens all to frequently as you can ask anyone who works in the rescue world.


Dogs deserve better and we have to be their voice.

Dogs were found chewing holes in the walls large enough to stick their heads through during a July 2016 inspection at Ryan Handly’s facility (WI Dept of Ag / July 2016). Credit WI Dept of Agriculture
Linda Lynch was found operating an unlicensed facility in Texas. Inspectors found dogs in tiny cages, piled up and surrounded by clutter. It appeared the dogs barely had enough room to turn around. The facility is now state licensed. (Texas Dept of Licensing and Regulation / November 2016). Credit TX Department of Licensing

Here are the worst puppy mills in Ohio. You can see the full list here:

Debra S. Baird, Salem, Ohio

Warned about sale of underage puppies; repeatedly failed to have records of medical exams on dogs and puppies.

Nathan & Sara Bazler, Little Puppies Online, LLC, Mount Vernon, Ohio

Puppies found in cramped, undersized cages; dealer bought puppies from unlicensed breeders.

Marvin Burkholder, Berlin Kennel, Millersburg, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Received official warning from USDA in June 2016 for repeat veterinary issues.

Gregory Fidoe, Canfield, Ohio

Sold underage puppies and repeatedly failed to get veterinary exams as required, per state records.

Emanuel D. Keim, Baltic, Ohio

Dogs found with hair loss and skin conditions.

Sam Mast, Fresno, Ohio

Sale of underage puppies; no vet records on dogs; unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

James A. Miller, Millersburg, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Matted dogs kept in rusty cages; dirty conditions.

John J. Nisley, Loudonville, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Dog found with sores on ears and head; prior violations for injured and lethargic dogs.

Daniel Schlabach/Evergreen Designer LLC, Charm, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Fire in pole barn filled with “hundreds of dogs” killed an undisclosed number of animals.

Marvin Schmucker/ Ervin Schmucker, Sugarcreek, Ohio

Repeated veterinary care deficiencies; bichon had skin lesions around her neck and on leg.

Leroy Weaver, Walhonding, Ohio

Dead puppies found decomposing in yard; severely matted dogs.

Abe R. Yoder, Millersburg, Ohio

Unsafe flooring not corrected until seven months later and multiple re-inspections; bichon with eye issue had not received surgery as directed by veterinarian.


Cleveland Dog-Friendly Breweries

The Cleveland brewery scene is growing and the best part about it is that so many of the new breweries opening are dog friendly. Considering the amount of dog-friendly places that have opened up in the last two years, you have no excuse anymore not to bring your dog with you when you go out for a drink. Because what goes better with a locally made beer than your dog? I can’t think of anything!

A few of our local breweries are even dog friendly inside, making it a great rainy or cold day activity. Usually it depends on if the brewery serves food whether you can bring your dog inside. Hunter and I have hit up Sibling on multiple occasions, so I can let you know dogs are definitely always welcome there!

Here is a listing of all of the dog-friendly breweries in the Cleveland area:

Platform Brewery
4125 Lorain Ave, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed on the patio of this Ohio City brewery.

Photo credit: Ali Candelaria


Terrestrial Brewing
7524 Father Frascati, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed inside and out of this Battery Park brewery.

Photo courtesy of the Terrestrial Brewing Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of the Terrestrial Brewing Facebook page.


Sibling Revelry
29305 Clemens Rd, Westlake

Dogs are allowed inside and out of this Westlake brewery. This is one of Hunter and I’s favorites, especially in the winter! A patio will be coming soon as well!



Great Lakes Brewery
2516 Market Ave, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed on the patio of this Ohio City brewery.

Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Facebook page
Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Facebook page

Market Garden Brewery
1947 W 25th St, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed inside and on the patio of this Ohio City brewery.

Photo credit: Kendra Williams


Brick and Barrel
1844 Columbus Rd, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed on the patio of this Ohio City brewery.

Photo courtesy of Brick and Barrel’s Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Brick and Barrel’s Facebook page.

Bottle House Brewery
13368 Madison Ave, Lakewood and 2050 Lee Rd., Cleveland

Dogs are allowed on the patio at both the Cleveland Heights and Lakewood locations. (The Lakewood location lets well-behaved dogs inside, call ahead to check to confirm though)

Photo courtesy of Bottlehouse Brewery Lakewood
Photo courtesy of Bottlehouse Brewery Lakewood

Nano Brew
1859 W. 25th, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed on the patio of this Ohio City brewery. Hunter and I love Nano Brew!

Photo credit: Missy Krause.
Photo credit: Missy Krause.

Forest City
2135 Columbus Rd, Cleveland

Dogs are allowed in beer garden of this downtown-area brewery.

Photo courtesy of the Forest City website.

Railroad Brewing Company
1010 Center Rd., Avon 

Dogs are allowed inside and on the patio of this Avon brewery.


Goldhorn Brewery
1361 E. 55th St.

Dogs are allowed on the patio of this new Cleveland brewery.

Photo courtesy of Goldhorn Brewery.
Photo courtesy of Goldhorn Brewery.

HEADS UP –  I will be covering dog friendly patios for the June issue of CLE Dog Magazine so I am looking for photos of you out of the town with dog at one of Cleveland’s dog-friendly patios! Email me at or post on my Facebook page. Also, let me know if I am missing any patios from my list:

New Dating App for Cleveland Dog Lovers

I think most single dog lovers have tried to use their dog to pick up someone, or at least hoped that their dog might spark a conversation with someone they want to date. Because let’s face it, a true dog lover has to involve their dog in the dating process. Not only are they your best friend, but if a potential partner doesn’t like your dog, it’s never going to work.

That’s why it seems so perfect to have a dating app that brings your dog into the love match. And good news for Cleveland dog lovers – a new dating app will be launching here soon to do this very thing! Fetch dating app, launching this summer, takes a new approach to meeting people via app and avoiding those awkward “Hi, how are you?” introductions. The app will encourage members to build profiles that include info on their dogs to hopefully spark a more interesting conversation and make a connection based on a mutual love for dogs.

Photo courtesy of Fetch dating app –

I checked in with the developer of the app, Elisabeth Smith, to get the lowdown on the app before it launches. You can visit the website now to be added to their email list and find out when it launches. They will also be hosting some meetups this summer, so keep your eye on their website and Facebook pages.

HOW DOES YOUR DOG PLAY INTO FINDING A MATCH? Think about the interactions you have with people when your dog is involved. Having a dog is a great way to meet people in the real world – when you’re at the dog park, on a walk around the neighborhood, at a festival, you tend to have warmer and more open conversations. I’m trying to recreate the same experience digitally. My hope is to design the app so you share information about yourself at least partially within the context of your relationship with your pup. For instance, what’s the greatest adventure you and your pup have taken? Where did you get the idea for your pup’s name? Tell your favorite story of your pup.

These are just examples of the type of information I would like to encourage users to share.

WHERE DID YOU GET THIS IDEA FROM? I have always been a dog lover. I have a pup of my own named Dexter who does everything with me. Last summer, I worked at Purina and did a lot of research on the humanization of the pet industry. We treat our pups differently than in the past. They are more than just animals, they are our four-legged members of the family! I’m also single and have tried a couple of the dating apps. I find it really difficult to have meaningful conversations with people when the opening line is “Hey, how is your night?” I sort of just thought one day, what if you could connect over something a lot more interesting and important? And that’s when I came to the idea of connecting over something as important as our pups, who play such a big role in our lives.

Photo courtesy of Fetch dating app -
Photo courtesy of Fetch dating app –

WHY LAUNCH IN CLEVELAND? I am originally from the Cincinnati area of Ohio, but came up to Cleveland about 10 years ago to do my undergrad at Case. I fell in love with the city and am so happy to call it my home now. I love the revitalization that is occurring in Cleveland and I am thrilled to be launching my app here!

WILL IT GO TO OTHER CITIES? Absolutely! I want to use Cleveland as the launching ground, learn about what people do and don’t like, and launch in other markets.

WHAT IS THE COST? This piece hasn’t been finalized yet, however, it will be in line with the other apps on the market.


2017 Edition – 50 Things To Do With Your Dog in NE Ohio

Your official list of what to do with your dog is back! Sorry it’s a little late. I was hoping to get more updates on exact dates for events by doing it later. This year you’ll see many of the same events, but most updated with info for 2017. A few fun CLE events have dropped off, but we have some new things to do added to the list this year to make up for it.

This year there is something for every dog – from the active, social pup to the lazy, lounging pup. Take a look and mark off your favorites!


Run a 5K with your dog – Many races organized by Hermes Cleveland are dog friendly, including the Siberian Husky 5k/1 Mile “Idid-a-Run” sponsored by the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Cleveland on April 2 and the Love-A-Stray Fur Fun 5K on April 30. Check out their website for more info on races:

See the Easter Bunny – Over the next month there will be a lot of opportunities to get your dog’s photo taken with the Easter Bunny. On March 19 Pet’s General Store will be hosting pet photos with the Easter Bunny from 2- 4:30 p.m.(  and on April 1 and 2nd you can visit Elite K911 Warehouse in North Ridgeville for photos with the Easter Bunny from 11 am to 4:30 p.m. (

Hunter & Roscoe IMG_0947
Hunter and Roscoe love the Easter Bunny! (Maybe)

Go to a hockey game with your dog – The Cleveland APL’s Annual Pucks & Paws event will be Sunday, April 9. The Monsters will be playing the Grand Rapids Griffins at 5 p.m. Find out more info here:

Visit a botanical garden – If you are looking to take a fun walk with your dog, the Holden Arboretum is a great choice. And there’s no better time to visit than in the spring!

Sign your dog up for a flyball class – Flyball is a competitive sport for dogs that involves jumping hurdles and retrieving balls. The Cleveland All Breed Training Club offers flyball classes, contact them for more details:

Visit a dog park in a State Park – The Northern Ohio area has three state parks that also have dog parks with lake access – Mosquito Lake, Portage Lake and Wingfoot Lake. For more info, visit:

Go see waterfalls with your dog – Chagrin Falls is one of the most dog friendly places in the Northern Ohio area. If you haven’t taken your dog there for some shopping and waterfalls viewing, you (and your dog) are missing out! Hunter and I love to go there!

Go to the ultimate dog park – Bow Wow Beach is basically a dog’s dream. With a lake right in the middle and tons of ground to explore, your dog could spend hours here (if you let him).

Go to boot camp with your dog – Hunter, Roscoe and I love Thank Dog NEO Bootcamp so much that we make a 40 minute trek over to the east side to work out! But it’s worth it! It’s a fun way to get your dog out and get some exercise in our beautiful parks. And, it goes all year round (moving indoors during the winter). There is also a boot camp on the far west side, Thank Dog Fit. The classes are held in Amherst. Find out more here:

Read about Hunter and I’s first experience with it here: /

Schedule a photo session for your pet – The Cleveland area has some great pet photographers. Our favorites are Greg Murray, Boots and Bee Photography and Chewbone Studio. You can’t consider yourself a true dog lover until you have professional photos taken of your dog!

In May, Chewbone Studio will have a “Mom and Me” photo special for all of the fur moms to get their photo taken with their pup(s). Find out more here:

One of my favorite photos from my professional photo session with Boots & Bee Photography.
One of my favorite photos from my professional photo session with Boots & Bee Photography.


Take your dog to a baseball game – I think Puppypalooza at Progressive Field is gone for good, so to catch an Indians game with your pup you’ll have to stay at home or visit a dog-friendly bar. However, you can still catch a minor league game with your dog! Last year, the Lake Erie Captains, Akron Rubber Ducks and Lake Erie Crushers all hosted dog-friendly game nights. Stay tuned for more details as they are announced.

Enter your dog in a contest A variety of Cleveland dog events hold cutest dog contests throughout the year. The annual Warehouse District Festival holds a Cutest Dog Contest in the summer and last year the Plain Dealer held a contest as well. Stay tuned for more details as these are announced!

Take your dog to work day – This year’s “Take Your Dog to Work Day” will be held on Friday, June 23. Start petitioning at your work for this now!

Visit a vineyard with your dog – Some area wineries that hold yappy hours during the summer include Debonne Cellars, The Winery at Wolf Creek and Thorncreek Winery. Other events to look out for: Woof, Wag and Wine, Lake Humane’s annual dog-friendly winery event, will be held on June 17th this year and Rose’s Rescue will hold a Wine and Dogs event at Barrel Run Crossing Winery in Rootstown on June 24th.


Go to an old dog party – The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs holds “Summer Scoop” also known as the “Old Dog Party” every summer offering activities for senior dogs, including the Old Dog Olympics, an agility course for older dogs. Date for 2017 TBA (it’s usually held in August).

Visit a dog park – The Cleveland area has a lot of great dog parks, so no matter where you live one should be close by. The Downtown Dog Park, Canine Meadows Dog Park and Carolyn Ludgate in Medina are a few of the newer dog parks opened in the last couple of years. Read more about them here:

Take your dog swimming – Lakewood Dog Park’s annual dog swim and Dog Paddle and Pet-a-Palooza are two fun annual events to take your dog swimming. The Lakewood one is always held the Tuesday after Labor Day, so Sept. 5th this year. Stay tuned for more dog swim dates this summer. Also, Paws by the Lake, a doggie daycare facility in Avon, also offers pool passes for guests to come and take advantage of their lazy river. Contact them at (440) 933-5297 for more details.

Take your dog to brunch – Luxe in the Detroit Shoreway area is a popular place for dog lovers who also love brunch. The restaurant hosts a Bow Wow Brunch on Sundays in the summer, choosing a Dog of the Week each week to feature on their Facebook page. Other good brunch choices are Rocky River Wine Bar, Nighttown in Cleveland Heights and Lucky’s in Tremont.

Have a drink on a patio with your dog – There are so many great patios to hang out and get a beer with your dog in the Cleveland area. My favorites are Clifton Wine Bar, Nanobrew, Platform and Barrio in Tremont (the Lakewood location is not dog friendly). Check out the Where to Go page, to find one near you. Tip – please call ahead and verify you can bring your dog. Policies are always changing.

And if you enjoy having a drink with your dog, mark your calendar for one of the first Yappy Hours of the season on May 22. R.E.A.L Rottweiler Rescue will be hosting an event on Hofbrauhaus’ dog-friendly patio to raise funds for the rescue.

Go to a dog fashion show – One of my favorite events every summer is the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter’s Pawject Runway dog fashion show. You can enter your dog to be a part of the show and dress him or her up in a costume or bathing suit, or just go to watch cute dogs strut their stuff. I don’t see any dates for this yet, but it is usually held in August. Here are some photos from the event to tide you over:



Take your dog to the beach – We are so lucky in the Cleveland area to have a lake nearby! Spending a day at the lake with your pup is a great summer activity. You can bring your dog along for a swim or to lay in the sand at Columbia Rd. Beach, Edgewater and Fairport Harbor. All of these beach areas have designated spots for dogs to enjoy the lake.

Take your dog shopping – Crocker Park and Legacy Village and many shops on Main St. in Chagrin Falls are all dog friendly. Crocker and Legacy are mainly just for window shopping, but several stores at Crocker and on Main St. do allow dogs inside. Always ask before bringing your dog inside.

Get ice cream with your dog – One of the best things to happen last summer was a Graeter’s opening at Crocker Park. I am so excited they are in Cleveland now! And, as if I needed a reason to love them more, they do a special dog night the first Thursday of every month (date may change). Other good spots to have ice cream with your dog are any Mitchell’s location with outdoor seating and Mason’s Creamery in Ohio City (which often lets dogs inside, just ask first!).

Put those jumping skills to use – Buckeye Dock Dogs offers dock diving classes for active dogs who love the water. Check them out at: You can learn more about dock diving at the Dog Fest of Zoar this summer. Held on June 9 in Historic Zoar Village about an hour and a half south of Cleveland, this fun festival will feature a number of dog-friendly activities, including dock diving.

Take your dog to a farmer’s market – Tremont and Gordon Square Farmer’s Markets are dog friendly, so you can get your grocery shopping done and take your dog on a walk!

Go Paddleboading and/or boating with your dog – At Hinckley Reservation, dogs are allowed on row boats. You could also borrow a paddleboard and take your dog paddleboarding. Portage Lakes near Akron is another good spot for water activities with your dog. Read about our paddleboarding adventure here:

Last summer Lake Metroparks hosted a few canoe/paddleboard with your dog nights at Fairport Harbor. Hopefully the event will be brought back this summer!

At Fairport Harbor
At Fairport Harbor

Go to a summer festival with your dog – Clifton Arts Festival, The Taste of Tremont and The Warehouse District Festival are common dog-friendly festivals. If you have a calm dog that is good with crowds, this is a fun summer activity.

Get a cup of coffee with your dog – Lucky’s and Civilization, both in Tremont, and Gypsy Bean are all good dog friendly spots for coffee lovers. So bring your dog along next time you want to sit outside with a cup of coffee.

Go camping with your dog – Many area campgrounds are pet friendly including Country Acres Campground in Ravenna, so you can bring your dog along for some hiking and star gazing.

Go to a drive in movie – Aut-o-Rama Drive In in North Ridgeville is always dog friendly, but for the last few summers they’ve hosted pet nights to raise money for local rescue groups.


Fundraise for a local rescue group – Rescue groups hold numerous events every year where you can help them raise money for their group and participate in a fun activity. Woofstock, Rescue Village’s annual fundraiser held in September and the Lake Humane Society’s Mutt Strut (Aug. 27th this year) are two good ones to keep your eye out for this year.

Join a pack with your dog – Cleveland Metroparks as well as many training groups hold regular pack walks. There are also many local hiking groups to get your dog out and enjoying the company of other dogs. Visit the Cleveland Metroparks website to find out dates. NEO Dobes hosts pack walks, find out more here:

Also follow Elite K911 and The Doggie Inn to find out about other pack events.

Dress your dog up and go to a Halloween party – Berea Animal Rescue Fund’s Monster Mutt Dash is your chance to dress up your dog up in a Halloween costume and run a 5K or participate in a 1 mile walk. Monster Mutt Dash also includes a fun Halloween after party. Here are some photos from the Monster Mutt Dash Hunter and I went to:

Get up to date on the latest in dog trends – The Cleveland Pet Expo will be Oct. 14th and 15th this year at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. The event is dog friendly, so bring along your pup to see training demonstrations, try out new products and learn about local pet businesses.

Dress up your dog and join a parade – If you like to dress your dog up for Halloween, mark your calendar for the Spooky Pooch Parade in Lakewood in early October. People get very creative with the dog costumes, so it’s always an entertaining activity for you and your dog.  Oberlin Doggie Doo and Pooch Parade is another fun Halloween event to check out this October.

Take a scenic dog hike – I love Cleveland Metroparks! There are so many great trails and the best thing is that the majority are dog friendly. Here are some of my favorites:


Go pumpkin picking with your dog – Szalay’s Farm and Pick n’ Save Orchard are a few dog friendly pumpkin patches in NE Ohio, so you can bring your dog along to pick out this year’s pumpkin. Hunter and I love to pick out pumpkins!

Take a walk in one the best National Parks in the nation – ranks the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as one of the best dog friendly parks in the nation and I agree!  Make sure you and your dog take advantage of this NE Ohio treasure, especially during the fall when it is at its prettiest.

Find or plan a dog meetup – More and more dog meetup groups are popping up around Cleveland. I know of a Husky/Malamute group, a Corgi meetup group, a Cleveland Italian Greyhound Meetup and I started a Pomeranian meetup group last year. Northeast Ohio Corgi meetup will hold their first meetup of the year on April 29 at the Wadsworth Dog Park:

Visit a castle with your dog – Not only is the North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby Hills a really beautiful park, but you can take a trail that leads to a castle! It’s definitely worth a trip to enjoy the scenery with your dog. The trails around the reservation also have dog water fountains, which is always great for long walks!



Go see Santa Paws! Don’t miss your chance at the end of November and early December to get your dog’s photo taken with Santa. Here’s my favorite picture of Hunter and Roscoe with Santa Paws:

Go to a brewery with your dog – The Cleveland brewery scene is growing, and even better than the amount of new breweries opening is the amount of new dog-friendly breweries opening! One you definitely have to hit up with your dog is Sibling Revelry Brewery in Westlake. Dogs are always welcome there, so it’s a great spot to visit during the winter months when you want to get your dog out to socialize. Another brewery opening up this spring near Edgewater Park, Terrestrial Brewing Co., is expected to be dog-friendly as well.


Roadtrip with your dog to check out an indoor dog park – I would love a place where I could go play with my dog indoors when the weather is crappy, but unfortunately Cleveland doesn’t really have any options (only day care drop off options at Double Dog Day Care in Stow or Dog Stop Plus just outside of downtown). For now, you’ll just have to make a weekend trip of it and road trip down to Columbus with your dog to visit Tail Wags Playground. Hunter, Roscoe and I visited recently and it was a lot of fun. The staff is very friendly. Because they require every dog to be up to date on vaccinations and monitor interactions between dogs closely, this is a great alternative to the “anything goes” dog park atmosphere. Columbus also has lots of great dog friendly places too, read up on them here:

Put your dog through an obstacle course – If you have an active, energetic dog, you may want to check out Agility. Canine University of Ohio and Cleveland All Breed Training Club are two area training facilities that offer classes.

Join an indoor playgroup – PetPeople hosts playgroups for small and large dogs at different area stores. Check out their calendar for dates: Looks like most of the upcoming ones are at the Hudson location. Also, Grateful Dog Bakery hosts a small dog play group at their North Ridgeville store. Hunter and I checked out some playgroups last winter:

Teach your dog a new trick – Teaching your dog new tricks is a great winter time activity, and it’s even better when you can do it in a group setting with a trainer. Fortunate Fido, Canine Affair and North Coast Dogs offer a variety of classes to work on everything from puppy socialization and behavior issues to new tricks. Here are some fun trick ideas to try at home:

Go swimming at an indoor pool – At the Barkley Pet Hotel you can reserve time in their pool to take your dog swimming! Another option for those who are further south is Healing Waters Canine Experience, which does water therapy for dogs but you can also schedule time to just have your dog swim in their indoor pool. Find out more at

Certify your dog as a good canine citizen – If you are looking to teach your dog some manners, or maybe even want to find out if your dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog, sign him up for a Canine Good Citizen course. Most area training places offer classes to earn the certification. Hunter recently got his certificate through Fortunate Fido in Columbia Station!

I swear he did pass the class, despite not being able to sit nicely for this photo.

Teach your dog to use his nose – Roscoe and I did a nose work class and it was so much fun!  This is a great activity for fearful or aggressive dogs, since although it’s often done as a group class, dogs do the work on their own so they don’t have to interact with other people or dogs. All Dogs Go to Kevin in the Akron and Kent area has nose work classes as well as Canine Affair on the east side. You can read about Roscoe and I’s experience with nose work here:

Visit a nature center with your dog- Most Cleveland Metroparks that have nature centers allow dogs inside. Hunter and I like to make a stop at the Rocky River Reservation Nature Center on really cold days to get out from the cold for a little bit. Brecksville Nature Center also allows dogs inside to check out their nature center.

 What is your favorite things to do with your dog?

Please note that some cities have Breed Specific Legislation in place. As wrong-headed as this law is, I would advise you not to bring a Pitbull into any of these cities. Lakewood, Warrensville Heights, Parma and Brook Park all currently have BSL laws in place.

How to Buy a Puppy

Step 1 – Do not go to a pet store

Step 2 – Go to your local shelter or

It actually is that simple – at least in my mind.

Unfortunately, many people just think it’s easier to get a puppy from a pet store. But as an educated consumer, you really should be aware of what you are contributing to when you buy a pet from a store. Purchases of pet store puppies keep the puppy mill industry going. Period. End of story. And there are so many better ways to get a puppy, it’s just not necessary. Here’s a glimpse into the life of a dog living in a puppy mill:

If you didn’t just tear up, or full on cry like I did watching that, you may want to check your pulse. Is that something you want to support?

I do understand that a lot of people want a puppy and don’t know where else to go. But contrary to popular opinion, shelters and rescue groups do get puppies. It’s not as common of course, but if you keep your eye out you can find one. A recent search on pulled up numerous Cleveland-area puppies and dogs under a year.

And unless you need a brand-spanking new eight-week-old puppy (pro tip – never buy from a breeder who wants to sell one before seven or eight weeks), getting a four, six or nine month old puppy is still getting a puppy, although slightly bigger and more developed. I adopted Hunter when he was around six months of age and I highly recommend that age. He was almost out of his chewing phase and mostly potty-trained already, but still young enough that he was cute and cuddly and could be easily trained.

My six month old puppy
My six month old puppy

And why should you get a puppy from a rescue group rather than go through a breeder or a pet store? Because 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year because they don’t have a home, according to the ASPCA. 1.2 MILLION DOGS KILLED.

Ok, if after all of that you still HAVE TO get a certain breed of dog that you can’t find through a rescue group, you may wonder how to find a reputable breeder.  I know a few friends who have used breeders so I asked one of them for some tips on what to do and what to look for once you find one.

Step 1 – Research research research

The friend I spoke with said that she did hours of research over the course of several weeks to find a good Goldendoodle breeder. The one she found through a search of breeders in Ohio had a website with tons of information that addressed most of her questions. The site also had pictures of owners and the dogs they purchased, showing her that people had been satisfied with dogs from this breeder. Of course, anything on the Internet can be faked, which leads to the next key part of buying a puppy:

Step 2 – Arrange a meeting

You should always go see where the puppy was born, meet the breeders and see where they are breeding the dogs. This is so important to make sure this isn’t actually a backyard breeder or someone who is selling to pet stores or online sites on the side. Most good breeders will require this, so if they don’t, that’s a bad sign. One question you should ask if they don’t address it on their website or through the meeting is how many litters they do per year. If they are churning out puppies every week or breeding a lot of different types of dogs, it’s probably a backyard breeder.

Also, I don’t think I should even have to mention this, but just in case – you should never agree to having a breeder ship a dog to you. This is never ok and highly traumatic for the dog.

Step 3 – Ask for references

You want to make sure this breeder has a good reputation. You should ask for references you can call to find out about other experiences people have had with this breeder. This should tell you a lot about whether this breeder has a history of selling sick dogs or generally being a bad breeder.

Step 4 – Get contact information for the Veterinarian

In addition to ensuring you have the breeder’s contact information and have spoken with them on the phone (and made sure they provided a working number) and met with them in person, you should also ask for the contact information for the Veterinarian they use. Before you purchase the puppy they should’ve received shots and seen a Vet, so you will want to verify this was done and confirm the information that was given to you about the puppy’s medical records.

If a breeder won’t agree to these things, that is a major red flag. A good breeder will always want to meet you and make sure you are a good fit for the dog and will be up front about their health history and other dogs they breed. A bad breeder will not want to do this, which shows that they are probably not breeding in the best interest of the dog and just trying to turn a profit.

Here are some good resources to begin your puppy search:

Sounds like a lot of work right? You should probably just adopt. Rescue groups do the vetting for you and find out as much as they can about the dog before adopting him or her out. And the cost is usually much less than half of the cost of getting a dog through a breeder or at a store. The truth is, all dogs take work and any dog can have health or behavioral issues, whether they come straight to you as a puppy from a breeder (puppies are the most work of all!) or if they come from a shelter or rescue group. Once you bring that dog into your life and he or she becomes a part of your family, it’s really not going to matter that he came from a shelter or rescue group. And the extra love you feel for saving that dog’s life will just make it even better.

(Side note: if you are looking for a certain breed but want to rescue, this is a good list to check out: