I’ve lived in Bend nearly 15 years, and I’ve been a dog owner the entire time. It doesn’t take a big, glossy, national publication to tell me I live in the dog-friendliest city in America.

Even so, it’s nice to hear.

The September 2012 issue of Dog Fancy magazine has declared Bend this year’s winner of the prestigious DogTown USA title. The honor was based on Bend’s abundance of dog-friendly recreation opportunities, off-leash areas, top-notch pet charities, and a plethora of restaurants and businesses that welcome canine guests.

If that’s not enough to set your tail wagging, some of the planned festivities should do the trick.

 

This weekend:

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 4, we’re welcoming Dog Fancy publisher Ernie Slone to Bend with a special ceremony held at the Pine Nursery Off-leash Area. Local dog-advocacy group DogPAC will receive a $5,000 check, the Humane Society of Central Oregon will receive a nice donation of pet food, and Bend Parks & Rec will unveil plaques renaming the area as the Bob Wenger Memorial Dog Park.

At 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 4, Bend’s newest brewery Crux Fermentation Project will host a public after-party. From 11:30-1, guests can enjoy burgers, brats, a relish bar, and side salads, with a portion of proceeds going to DogPAC. Oh, and Crux is permanently renaming one of their most popular brews “Off Leash” Northwest Session Ale. To top it all off, Crux will be dedicating their own dog park—a quarter-acre parcel directly behind the brewery—which will open later this summer.

Want more ways to celebrate on your own? Here are a few of my favorite dog-friendly things to do in Bend.

 

Water Play

There are lots of great ways to cool off with Fido in the summertime. My dog, Bindi, loves playing fetch in some of the still sections of water along the Deschutes River Trail. She also enjoys suiting up in her K-9 Float Coat from RuffWear and paddling along beside my air mattress as we float the river together. For those seeking an organized tour, I just got word Wanderlust Tours now allows dogs on their canoe trips. Talk about an awesome adventure!

 

My dog, Bindi, on the Deschutes River Trail.

Dinner Date

There are few things I love more than sitting outside on a summer evening enjoying some tasty appetizers and a glass of wine. The only thing that makes the experience better is having my dog by my side. Check out Visit Bend’s dining page where we offer details on which restaurants allow Rover to accompany you for a meal. My personal favorites: Anthony’s, Jackson’s Corner, and Chow.

 

Frolic Off-Leash

One of the key things that earned Bend the DogTown USA title is the city’s abundance of off-leash areas—seven, in total! DogPAC has an awesome map of them here. I’m a huge fan of Pine Nursery location (soon to be renamed Bob Wenger Memorial Dog Park) and the Big Sky Park. Don’t forget to review the dog park rules at Bend Parks & Recreation District website.

So what’s your favorite dog-friendly activity in Bend? Please share! We’re still looking for fun things to do with the Dog Fancy publisher when he’s in town, so we appreciate the suggestions to help plan his agenda.

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