Opportunities Abound for Pups at Play in the Southwest Metro

Take advantage of opportunities to play outside with your pup! Anna, Nancy, Jonas and Bill Wagner of Eden Prairie take their dog Rio on a walk.

Man’s best friend just got even happier in the southwest metro: In June, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum unveiled its specialized area for dogs, and this month marks the Carver-Scott Humane Society’s 24th annual pet walk. With so many opportunities for our community canines cropping up lately, it’s a great time to be a dog around town.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

There are many benefits to walking your dog—for two-legged and four-legged creatures alike. Now you can experience those at the arboretum. Dogs have not been allowed on the arboretum grounds since 1984 (special Dog Day events have been offered since 2011) but thanks largely in part to Jean Larson, manager of nature-based therapeutics at the arboretum and faculty lead at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spiritual Healing, the tides have turned for the pups.

Dogs are allowed on the designated dog commons area, an on-leash, 65-acre space that is separate from the main gardens. “This is a beautiful piece of property that runs through five different kinds of landscape, everything from meadowland to forest to virtually everything in between,” says arboretum PR media specialist Susie Eaton Hopper. The space is open to arboretum members who have added a dog membership ($50 annually) to their existing one.

This is not meant to be a dog park where dogs frolic freely. Dogs must be leashed the entire time. “This is supposed to be a place where both humans and canines are enriched,” Hopper says. Dog owners and their dogs can enjoy the 3.1 miles’ worth of trails, all with different configurations, from March through November.

5K Walk/Run Fur Love

On September 24, the Carver-Scott Humane Society will host its 5K Walk/Run Fur Love pet walk. This event raises funds for the organization and for the needs of animals under the humane society’s care.

The pet walk supports the animals at the humane society, but it’s fun for pet owners and their pets, too. People are encouraged to bring their well-behaved furry friends to the event. “Predominantly it is dogs,” says Laura Schwing, Walk/Run Fur Love coordinator. “I’ve seen cats there. I’ve even seen rabbits there in the past. If you can safely bring your animal, any animal can come.”

In addition to the 3.2 mile route for participants and their animals, the day will include a variety of local vendors selling anything from animal chiropractic services to books, jewelry and more. The event will also include a raffle, face painting and other entertainment, like a puppy kissing booth, where you can receive a kiss from a cuddly puppy with a donation to the humane society.

Held in Lions Park in Shakopee, the pet walk begins at 10 a.m. with registration opening at 9 a.m. It costs $40 to participate. Last year’s event drew the biggest turnout yet with 180 people including children. “It was the most incredible day,” Schwing says, adding that the large turnout last year energized the event and volunteer staff. “I am very hopeful for this year.”