Downtown Dog Walk with the AWLA Pit Crew!

If you don’t remember my feelings on structured group dog walks, let me remind you: I LOVE THEM. I also love when they’re in cool places with lots of cool people, which was exactly what happened on Saturday.

There are all sorts of fun events that brought Pittie Trails and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Pit Crew together for a joint walk this weekend. Remember the handsome dog I transported up to Animal Farm Foundation with me back in September? His name was Gaston and he was from AWLA, so I started following their Pit Crew Facebook page a while back (I also just love shelters that have groups dedicated to helping their pitties!). Then I ran into one of their members at Bully Paws’ Pit Bull Awareness Day event, and we got to talking about our two dog walking groups.  Fast forward a few months, and here we were doing a joint walk!

They decided on a spot downtown by the Washington Nationals stadium (ah, the perks of living in the nation’s capitol).  The AWLA Pit Crew has seriously got their act together for these walks, making sure that each dog has the best experience possible no matter what level of reactivity they are around other dogs.  This particular walking spot was vetted for adequate space and safety from off-leash dogs (which are also intercepted by the dog-less walkers in the event that they do come across any).  It is great that their walks are so structured, because sixteen dogs showed up for this one!

We had a great time in the gorgeous uncharacteristically warm weather, and, as far as I know, had no major dog issues! I highly recommend anyone interested in socializing their dog more in a safe, positive way sign up for these walks with the Pit Crew (oh, and it helps if you’re in the DC/MD/VA area – they generally stick to VA).  You can email them at for more information about their walks and group in general. They also do fun human-only social outings, so it’s a great group to get involved in.

Here are some pictures from the walk!

0804 05



12 11 16


When I began writing this post, I gushed about the dog below, Willow, who is an adoptable pup from AWLA that joined us on the walk. Turns out she got adopted to her forever home on Monday! Yay Willow!


Remember, if you want to join the walking group, email Hope to see you at the next one!

The Return of Pittie Trails!

You might remember the dog walking group we (three others and I) started last winter, Pittie Trails. We created it to both exercise and train our pups in a controlled environment with other dogs. We have group rules to help keep everyone safe and happy, but most importantly the dogs are not allowed to greet each other. This means that all dogs – reactive, excitable, shy – can have the opportunity to walk with us without feeling any pressures to be social. Plus, then no human parents need to be embarrassed!

After a summer hiatus, we had our first informal walk last weekend. We only had four dogs; three of which were working hard on their manners. We went to trusty old Rachel Carson park, our usual walk location. It was the most gorgeous day of the year and I think a good time was had by all!

If you’re interested in participating in Pittie Trails, the best way to stay informed is to keep up with our Pittie Trails Facebook page. We try to meet for a walk once per month. We’re still trying to find good trails (very few people or other dogs) in the VA and Baltimore areas – so stay tuned. Remember that we allow all dogs, no matter what size, shape, or social ability, so come join us!

Otis the Rock Climber

It’s certainly no secret that we love to take our fosters hiking. It’s a great way to get us exercise, and it’s usually in a pretty neat location. Some of my favorite locations around here include the C&O Canal, Sugarloaf Mtn., and the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls. Last weekend we went and explored somewhere new! Mark, Otis, and I headed out to Cunningham Falls State Park in Frederick. Neither of us had been there before, but I’d heard great things so we headed out for an adventure!

I already know Honey Bunches is an active dog who can keep up on a long walk. I was interested to see how he would do on a more challenging hike. Turns out, he was a rock star – no surprise there! He impressed us with his ability to scale some pretty tricky parts of the trail.

The trail was only about three miles round trip, but the inclines made it a nice workout for everyone. It felt like we went up hill on the entire trip to the falls, but when we got there we realized it was totally worth it – what a view!

It was a great afternoon. Otie was so good! He is such a polite walking partner, even on a busy trail where we passed many other dogs and people (a walk where my arms weren’t exhausted at the end?? What a concept!).

And, even with all the new surroundings, things, and people, Honey Bunches was one brave pup. He took the new experience with ease. He even demonstrated his new badass outlook on life:

I think he is ready for a Pittie Trails hike this weekend – so stay tuned for the time & location!

If you are interested in adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, click here or email

Introducing Pittie Trails: a MD Hiking Group

I know it’s been a long time since I did my few posts about hiking, saying we wanted to get this group together – and here it finally is! Pittie Trails is a hiking group in the DC/MD/VA area, aiming to exercise and socialize the things that mean the most to us: our dogs! Sorry in advance that this post is about to be a little lengthy, but we have a lot of exciting stuff to cover to get ready for our first walk.

The name is no more than just a tribute to the breed we love – dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds are welcome! We are also super excited to meet other humans in the area who are as passionate about hiking and dogs as we are. Walks will probably be once a month at first.

I’m excited to introduce to you a few of the master minds behind this group, as you will probably meet them at some point if you are ever able to join us!

Jen & Lily Fireworks

You may remember Lily from our post about Baxter’s hiking date with his crush… yep, that was Lily – formerly known as Lollie from Love & a Six-Foot Leash. Lily’s mom Jen is the one who had the idea for us two to go for a walk together in the first place, and then made a comment in passing about starting this group. Well, one thing led to another and sure enough here it is! Lily is using the group as a way to stay social with other dogs, and to work on not trying to meet every squirrel she spots.

Katie, Ian, Reese, & McMuffin

Ian & Katie are our trail experts. They volunteer with the Montgomery County Parks Service (I think I’ve got that right…) so they know essentially every trail in the area — jackpot!!! Reese is their resident pittie, and McMuffin on the right is their foster from Jasmine’s House. They run the blog Running With Squirrels. McMuffin is working on her leash skills in the presence of other dogs, and Reese is working on staying the perfect trail dog that he already is.

Then there is Me & Bax, but we’re old news. Baxter will be working on his excitement levels when around other dogs & people.

See, everyone has things to work on! That’s why this group is so great. To make sure everyone stays safe when we’re walking and learning and socializing and exploring, we have some group rules. We ask that anyone who joins our hikes follow and respect these rules to keep the safety (and sanity) of the group.

Pittie Trails Rules

1.  No greetings between dogs even if the dogs know eachother. This alleviates the social pressure for everyone, and keeps the group calm (or… more calm than it could potentially be). Please respect this – we don’t know the background/behavior/preferences of the dogs and we want people to feel comfortable bringing their dogs no matter what “issues” they need to work on.

2.  No retractable leashes. Only 6′ and under leashes, please. We want to make sure everyone has the most control of their dog possible and at all times.

3.  At least 5 feet should stay between each dog on the trail at all times. The group will be nice and spread out so the dogs can relax. You’ll see that when the dogs start walking on top of each other, they get pretttty excited.

4.  One dog per walker. Again with the control factor. Speaking of, though – we would love to have extra humans who don’t have dogs, so feel free to bring dog-less friends!

5.  Respect the area & other hikers.  This means please bring things to pick up after your dog. Also, when other walkers pass us, please step off the trail and get your dog under control (if they are not being a perfect angel already, of course : -)) so that we don’t freak the community out with our big group of dogs. We want to send out a positive image of dogs, especially pitties, so we don’t want anyone annoyed/scared/unhappy with our group.

6. Bring treats & water. We want the dogs to stay hydrated and focused!

I think that’s it for now! As we begin these hikes we will tweak and add to these as we see necessary.

So, finally the fun stuff: our first hike is going to be this Saturday, February 4 at 10:30 am at Rachel Carson Conservation Park in Olney. We will meet at the parking lot off Zion Rd. (on the right if you are headed on Zion toward Sundown Rd from Rt. 108) around 10:15 am. We will do group introductions, then head out around 10:30.

The trail clocks in at just about 1 hour, winding through the woods past a gorgeous creek, rolling hills, and a horse farm. It is a pretty straight forward loop so for those of you who want extra exercise for your pooch, feel free to do the loop twice! It can be a little muddy, so come prepared.

We’d appreciate it if you emailed or left a comment here if you’re planning on coming, just so we have an idea of numbers. Also feel free to email us with any questions, and check out our Facebook page for updates. Other than that… we look forward to seeing you Saturday!

We also want to say a big thank you to Hikeabull and Chicago Sociabulls for their help on starting this project!