Polar vortex. Arctic blast. A seemingly never-ending stream of precipitation (and not the fun kind). Indeed, we've waded our way through a dismal, frigid, utterly dreary winter—and if your pet has been as cooped up as we have, he's probably just one more Siberian day away from a shoe-chewing meltdown. Rather than letting Fido take out his cabin fever (er, Dogloo fever?) on your wardrobe, we suggest a nice, long, luxurious frolic at one of these notable canine hangouts:
Book Him For A Staycation at Daycare
Fact: the cage-free doggie daycare concept is a godsend. Drop your hound off, sneak a peek at his antics on the facility's webcams during your lunch break, and retrieve a totally tuckered out pup at the end of the day. Places like Wag-a-Lot, Bark ATL, and Doguroo give dogs wide-open spaces in which to romp, play, wrestle, and sometimes even swim. They'll even give your dog a post-playtime scrubdown if you so desire, and some places go so far as to offer birthday parties, complete with doggie ice cream service. Wait: a kiddie pool, spa services and ice cream? We kind of wish we lowly humans were allowed to join the fun, too.
Leash Him Up and Hit The Trails
Yes, your pup could use some exercise—but as it turns out, a little romp in the sunshine ain't a bad thing for we humans to do every now and then, either. (Regularly taking your dog on hikes is also an excellent excuse to zip him into one of these bad boys. He feels more productive, and you get to relish the act of your dog becoming your very own sherpa. Everybody wins!) Sprawling nature reserves like Emory's Lullwater Park, the Morningside Nature Preserve give you and your hound ample room to romp without having to trek outside the perimeter, while Sweetwater Creek State Park and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area trail system are even more extensive, and less than half an hour from intown. (Note: leash laws are strictly enforced here, folks.) Trekking several miles through the woods should be enough to get your pup good and tuckered out, but if not, resort to the next option:
Turn Him Loose at a Dog Park
We're lucky to have a respectable number of dog parks sprinkled around our fair city, but each one comes with its own perks, quirks, and unspoken laws of the land. While the Piedmont Park Dog Park reigns supreme in terms of spaciousness, number of canines frolicking about, and sheer people-watching, we're also partial to the roomy digs of Decatur's Adair Dog Park. But in terms of gifting dog owners with the ability to sip coffee or drink beer while their pet prances about, nothing beats Park Grounds (or their tasty breakfast sandwiches).
And If All Else Fails, Just Spoil Him
Let's face it: spring may be around the corner, but we still have our fair share of wintry days ahead of us. Happily, there are still plenty of ways to treat your canine BFF even on the rainiest, chilliest, dreariest of days. One word: treat. Thanks to local bakers like Taj Mahound and Big Daddy Biscuits, you can treat your canine to the joys of eating local and organic. (Milk bones are so last year.) And if your dog's love language is the sartorial sort, the snazzy collars, leashes and accessories at Whole Dog Market will have him feeling sassy, running faster and jumping higher—even if that has to happen in your living room.