Safety First

With the heat becoming more and more unbearable, the only pleasant time to walk Otis is after dark. We love strolling through the neighborhood under the stars, stopping to chat with other late night dog walkers who share in the same moonlit enjoyment that we do.

The one thing I never go on after-dusk walks without is my foster dog’s reflective vest. Yep, that’s right: I’m talking a bona fide crossing guard style, safety cone orange vest. While my jackets usually have something reflective on them, Otis (or Zee or Baxter… especially Baxter) can be very tough to spot at night. In the event that a driver isn’t paying attention, a hard-to-spot dog could mean big trouble. So I’m always sure to outfit him in his safety vest that, as you can see, certainly does the trick.

This particular vest velcros under the stomach and in front of the chest. It’s made of a very light mesh material, so it’s perfect for summer nights or layering over winter jackets. I like this style because it’s so simple to get on and off. I think this particular version is pretty old (my parents got it for my dog Barley growing up) because I can’t seem to find it anymore, but there are certainly plenty of alternatives online.  It gives me so much peace of mind knowing that Otie is more visible and that much safer!

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.


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 pittietrails@gmail.com 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!