Recreation Mecca for People and Pets

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Around here, whether we’re into snowshoeing or savasana, we often include our furry friends in the adventure.  Here’s a sampling of our regional bounty, from the playful to the practical.

These Shoes Were Made for (Dog) Walking

Petlandia is perfectly perched within easy playtime proximity to mountains, beaches, deserts, and rivers. Naturally it is also home to companies that make everything from running shoes and water socks to insulated parkas.

Now one local company is offering gear for the most popular outdoor adventure: walking with dogs! The Reshod shoe is built to protect walkers from the elements — or even their dogs' paws — whether traversing forest trails or neighborhood sidewalks. 

Portland walking coach and shoe designer Carmen Jackinsky says her Reshod design protects the tops of feet in case they get tromped on, and has a patented midsole that lets walkers easily shift their weight to counteract tugs from an exuberant pooch. Combined with treads designed to grip on slippery surfaces without trapping debris and an even-keeled “zero-drop” footbed for smooth strides, these great new kicks just might become a NW staple.


Take it to the mat

At Purringtons Cat Lounge, yogis share the mat with adoptable cats for an hour of all-levels yoga followed by a meditative session of lap-warming, purrs, and head bumps. At the lounge on Portland’s NE MLK Boulevard — where visitors can order wine, coffee, and snacks in the cafe — staff say yoga with cats is more than a novelty. 

Purringtons helps cats find homes while encouraging people to relax and socialize among feline friends. They say it’s about joy, happy energy, and “lighting the fire of compassion.” Sunday evening classes offer a warm fuzzy way to prepare for the week ahead.

At PuppYoga in rural Forest Grove, yoga includes warm fuzzies from round-bellied puppies. Trainer Kristin Tarnowski raises assistance dogs, starting their specialized training and socialization almost as soon as they’re born. She saw a chance to socialize pups while treating visitors to adorable wiggles and cuddles, and PuppYoga was born.

Puppies arrive in a cart, like a special delivery of puppy breath and cuddles. Instructors lead classes through puppy-centric asanas like balancing in tree pose while cradling a wiggly pup.


Rover-Friendly Romps

We also love our fun runs and walks infused with canine cheer. Many local animal charities offer dog-friendly events for all fitness levels. The biggest — Oregon Humane’s Doggy Dash — draws thousands of dog lovers to McCall Waterfront Park each year. Every May, people and pooches walk or run, eat breakfast, shop, play in fountains and doggie pools, and socialize in pure Petlandia style.

During warm-weather months, Animal Aid hosts a variety of pet-centered fitness events. Fitness Fur All features a mix of free and donation-based events including yoga with or without cats, a Bark-be-que, animal massage lessons, and a morning trek through Mt. Tabor. Offerings also include classes like pet nutrition and CPR/First Aid.


- Michelle Blake

Spin the compass, and Get OUT!


Best Bets for NW Adventure

It’s no secret, the Pacific Northwest is a mecca of amazing pet-friendly places. Wherever your whims take you this summer, these wonderful, Fido-friendly hot spots are fantastic options that promise great adventure and wonderful memories.

Head East

Bennington Properties — Sunriver

The Bennington family puts the love in vacationing with your dog. With classy dog-friendly homes and lots of fun activities, you’re sure to make memories that last a lifetime. Visit Sun River and enjoy Yappy Hour snacks and beverages while your pups romp and tussle with their “vacation friends.” Check out the Pet Parade during the Day celebrations. There’s also the American Cancer Society Bark for Life. Like biking? There bike trailer rentals for the dog!

Cooper Spur Mountain Resort — Mt. Hood

Visiting Cooper Spur Mountain Resort is a cozy getaway. The pet-friendly resort has all the amenities, plus barbeque grills, picnic areas, and an on-site restaurant. All of this surrounded by the majesty of Mt. Hood National Forest.

Head West  

Idyllic Oregon Beach Houses — Tierra Del Mar

If long quiet walks away from city crowds are to your liking, this will feel like a slice of dog-loving heaven. Both the Pier St. and Guardenia St. houses live up to the idyllic name, with accommodations for pooches and nine to ten people, all just a blink from the beach in a quiet neighborhood. Enjoy walks on the beach, watching seals and winged wildlife, while your dogs romp happily alongside.

Surfsand Resort — Cannon Beach

Fireplaces. Balconies. Haystack Rock. This resort has a lot to offer pet lovers, and half the rooms are pet friendly. Surfsand throws in dog-savvy extras like pet beds, towels and sheets, dishes, doggie bags, and placemats, and tasty treats whenever your pup pops into the lobby. In the fall, the resort hosts a dog show to raise money for the Clatsop County Animal Shelter.

Head North

Tranquil-A-Tree — White Salmon, WA

What? A tree house you can take your dog to? That’s exactly what you’ll find at Tranquil-A-Tree — a dog-friendly two-story log cabin suspended in the firs. Enjoy the pleasures of taking in the nature and beauty around you, hiking and birdwatching, relaxing in the hot tub, and more.

Sou’wester — Seaview, WA

Who hasn’t seen the vintage camp trailers that look like rolling toasters and thought how cool it would be to stay in one? Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort invites you to check that one off your bucket list — with dog in tow. Keep the vintage vibe going by borrowing the resort’s bicycles or vinyl records, or indulge in a little pampering with massage and bodywork. Attractions include miles of beach, hiking, museums, lighthouses, and funky thrift stores.


Hotel Monaco — Downtown Portland

The uber dog-friendly (dare we say dog-crazy) Hotel Monaco in the heart of downtown actually employs a Director of Pet Relations to guarantee Fido gives them two paws up. Perks include no pet fees, no weight or size restrictions, and no limit to how many furry friends can join you. And how about a nightly dog-friendly wine reception? This is a staycation you’ll surely dig.

International Rose Test Garden — Portland

What good is it to live in the City of Roses without enjoying its signature flower? Set high in the hills above the city in Washington Park above the Oregon Zoo, visits to the garden are free and boast scenic views, rose variety, scents and colors beyond the imagination. Perfect for a picnic, and all of it dog friendly.

Lucky Labrador Brewing Company — Portland

Lucky Lab is a Portland fixture with its four locations and incredible dog-centric vibe. What more would you expect with a dog breed in the name? How about philanthropy? Yep, the Lucky Lab is into that too, presenting an annual dog wash to benefit DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital. When looking to enjoy a brew and bite, make it your summer goal to take the pup and visit dog-loving pubs on Hawthorne, Quimby, Capital Hwy and Killingsworth.

McMenamins — everywhere

This NW favorite has locations from Seattle to Eugene and in between, and the grounds and restaurant patios of many are dog friendly. Just west of Portland, the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove boasts lush, scenic grounds, and seasonal outdoor eating.  Just east of the city is pet-friendly Edgefield, with exquisite sprawling grounds. Each location offers craft beers and unique art that tells the stories of the area. 

The Oregon Garden — Silverton

Imagine 80 acres of lush botanical gardens, something for everyone, and all pet friendly. A short drive to Silverton takes you to this gardener’s paradise. Enjoy photography, geocaching, and learn about sustainable farming while strolling the fabulous grounds.

Hike the ‘Hood

If you’re looking to clock some miles under your hiking boots this summer, there are plenty of dog-friendly destinations close at hand. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (Sellwood) has miles of paved and unpaved hiking trails with views of the native forest, wetlands, and the Willamette River. Tryon Creek State Natural Area (Terwilliger Blvd) boasts bridges, a wetland boardwalk, shelters, exhibits, wildlife, and miles of multi-surface trails. Forest Park is a gem in the city, with more than 5,000 acres of vistas, views, and hiking galore.

Head OUT

Oregon State Parks

Most Oregon parks are pet friendly. Check website for information on day facilities, campgrounds, trailheads, and more. If you have time to book well in advance, consider a dog-friendly yurt or cabin at one of 22 campgrounds. Many activities are available at various locations, including hiking, wildflower viewing, beach walks, educational talks, biking, and swimming.

Learn more

Hike the ‘Hood —


A Portland native, Kennedy Morgan has been around dogs her entire life – from the multitude of strays near the country home of her youth to the crew she calls her own now. Vegas, her retired agility superstar (Great Dane!) has been her primary inspiration for all things dog in the last decade, including her passion for writing.

Fido-Friendly Summer Travel

For Dr. Jason Nicholas and his family, a short jaunt out of Portland usually means a stay at the Oregon coast or hiking and snowshoeing in the Columbia River Gorge. For a shorter day trip, the family of four might spend an afternoon on the Sandy River Delta. Whatever the destination, Wendy, the family’s 11-year-old Spaniel/Border Collie mix, is almost always along for the ride.

Traveling with our pets is good for us and for them. We make memories and strengthen our considerable bond. “There are cats that enjoy getting out on a harness and going for hikes, but mostly we’re talking about dogs when we’re traveling with pets,” says Nicholas, adding that, as a hiking or camping partner, a dog offers security as well as companionship. 

But whether canine or feline, furry travel buddies make us better at getting out and exploring, even if only because we stop the car for their bathroom and exercise breaks. Just doing that, we’ll explore things we might have driven past and talk with people we might never have met.

As a family man, Nicholas loves the freedom of loading the kids and the dog in the car and heading out for adventure. But as a veterinarian and chief medical officer of the educational website Preventive Vet, he’s alert to the danger of heading out unprepared. 

Tips for Traveling Well from Dr. Nicholas

1.     Keep current on vaccines and parasite prevention.  Lyme disease is less common in our region than elsewhere in the US, but cases here have steadily risen in recent years and annual cases tend to peak in August. While ticks that might carry Lyme disease are more plentiful in the mountainous and eastern reaches of our region, “we’ve even had some Lyme disease over here in the western side of the state,” Nicholas says, “And fleas are a concern 365 days a year in Oregon; we don’t have a flea-free season here.” 

Talk to your vet about your dog’s lifestyle and travel schedule. Regular flea and tick prevention might be enough, but for intrepid wilderness explorers, a Lyme vaccine might be in order. 

2.     Buckle up!  An excited, wiggly dog is a hazard in a moving car and a projectile during even a low-speed crash. The results can be devastating. “Virtually any harness will help prevent an accident,” but not all will stand up to an actual crash. Nicholas prefers padded, crash-tested models like those from Sleepypod, but depending on your pet’s size and travel attitude, she may do better in a carrier that’s carefully secured. In any case, never let a pet ride in your lap. If an air bag deploys, pets on drivers’ or passengers’ laps get crushed in the impact.

3.     Keep ID tags current.  “Ideally, they’ll also have a microchip,” says Nicholas. Also keep a current photo saved on your phone in case your pet gets lost. 

4.     Scope out your surroundings on arrival.  “Say you check into a vacation home in the mountains and there are rodents out there,” says Nicholas. “Do a quick check of your hotel or rental house for possible hazards: rodent poisons, chemicals, balconies, maybe an open gate. And while you’re doing that, find out where the nearest veterinary clinic is in case you have an urgent and unexpected need.”

5.     Remember hot cars are deadly.  “No discussion of pet travel is complete without a warning about the risk of heat stroke,” Nicholas warns. Even on a mild day, the temperature inside your car will quickly climb into the danger zone. And when heat isn’t a concern, unrestrained pets left alone in parked cars can chew or choke on whatever they find in the car. 

Where do you and your furkids like to travel? Here’s how dog parents answered that question in a recent informal Facebook poll.

“Almost anywhere on the Oregon Coast.” We all know there’s something magical about dogs and beaches. Favorite lodgings include Lincoln City’s Looking Glass Inn, “very dog-centric property right on the Siletz Bay.”  —    Michele from Portland

“The Fireside Inn, The Whaler in Newport, Neskowin’s Proposal Rock Inn, and The Surfside at Rockaway Beach.  Very dog friendly and we like that beach a lot.”  —    Julia and her travel-loving St Bernard, Gomer

The Oregon Gardens Resort in Silverton, perched just between Salem and Portland, has dog-friendly rooms and endlessly walkable garden trails.” I took my dogs there last 4th of July — no fireworks!”  —    Jawea from Salem

Also citing The Oregon Garden. . . 

“Visitors can even bring their dogs to fenced exercise areas just up the road for off-leash playtime, in case you still need to tire them out,”  —    Sue from Molalla

For swimming/hiking/camping adventures, Stub Stewart State Park west of Portland boasts trails, cabins, and an off-leash romping spot. Many Oregon State Parks have dog-friendly yurts, as do some Washington State Parks such as Cape Disappointment. Other favorites include Sauvie Island, the Washougal River (SW WA), Cooper Creek Reservoir (Southern Oregon), and the popular hiking area known as Peavy Arboretum (Corvallis).  


Dog Friendly Oregon Coast * *

Dog Friendly State Parks *

 Safety *

 Silverton *

 Sunriver *

Michelle Blake is a Salem, OR-based massage therapist and freelance writer whose work has appeared in national publications. Her husband wants you to know that she's a REALLY crazy dog lady too.

Fitness for pooches and peeps has never been so fun!

The word “fitness” might evoke images of running shoes or sweating at the gym, but how about activities that include your favorite canine? Does your furry friend get off the couch to stretch more than her jaws at mealtime? If not, it’s time to get her moving!

Fitness with your best friend is fun for both of you — and the whole family. Plus, it supports longevity, injury prevention, and mental health. Yep, mental health. It’s a fact that many problem behaviors are a direct result of boredom and unspent energy.

So what options are there for you and your frisky companion? In Portland, the sky is literally the limit! Here’s a guide to fitness in and around the city.



Surely you’ve heard Kaiser Permanente’s radio ads saying, “Everybody Walk!” Walking is one of the easiest, most affordable, readily available options for keeping pups fit. And wherever you live there’s a neighborhood or park suitable for walking. In inclement weather you can even walk at your local big-box home improvement stores, most of which welcome socialized, well-behaved canines.

Got dogs of different speeds? No worries. Consider a stroller. My Leo absolutely loves to come along – throwing unique, fluffy tantrums when left behind – but he is so slow. Picture this: the girls stretched out six feet ahead, Leo strolling along six feet behind . . .  not ideal. So we got a stroller. Now Leo rolls along and hops out for off-leash romp opportunities.


Among the friendliest places for dogs nationwide, the Northwest boasts many canine-centric fitness facilities. Swimming is great for pets of any age, even those with physical limitations. Being suspended in water removes pressure on joints, just like for humans. Of course during warm seasons there are plenty of outdoor options. To name a few, some of our favorites are 1,000 Acres and Clackamette Parks, and the Willamette near Oaks Park.


We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful country in the nation, making hiking a wonderful experience for two- and four-footed creatures! There are countless directions you can go, all fitness levels, amazing things to see — and for your pup to smell. A great guide on exploring the region is Doin’ The Northwest with Your Pooch by Eileen Barish.

Dog Sports

So many to try! Have you considered agility? Actively engaging in an obstacle course is great for the 2- and 4-legged alike. Among the best things about it is the partnership between you and your dog. Plus, you burn physical and mental energy, which of course is good for you both.

Joring. Never heard of it? Well, get ready to Google 'cause there’s a whole wide world of options. Basically joring is a pulling sport. You can train your dog to pull with a harness and work up to connecting him or her to a bicycle, a scooter, or skis. It’s a year-round sport, and another supporting the relationship between you and your pup.

Other activities equally awesome for providing challenge and pleasure and supporting the relationship include weight pull, carting, disc-dog, dock diving, obedience, barn hunt, nose work, rally, and freestyle. Different activities are suited to various fitness levels, so it’s easy to find something you both can enjoy.


Biking is another fun year-round activity. When Vegas and I started, my hope was to keep her toned and build a bit of muscle. Given her Great Dane size and strength, I wasn’t comfortable just holding the leash while we biked, so I purchased an accessory that attached to my bike and clipped to her harness. It worked great and we’ve enjoyed many miles together over the years.

One thing I enjoy most about staying fit with my pups is the bond that continues to deepen between us. Even at nearly 10, Vegas does not like to go more than a day between walks. She grew up accustomed to activity, and still expects it. Getting and staying fit can take on many appearances. Just keeping your dog involved in daily activities becomes a fitness routine.

Leo (redhead) and Sophie ride while Vegas strolls on foot.

Leo (redhead) and Sophie ride while Vegas strolls on foot.

Keep it simple.

Fitness needn’t cost a lot; plenty of options are free or perfectly affordable. By following the KISS — ‘Keep It Simple, Sweetie’ — rule, simple activities like walking to the mailbox together, throwing the ball in the yard after dinner, taking a stroll to watch the stars, going to the market or a neighborhood event, camping, or splashing in the river are great ways to keep your pup engaged. Even playing tug or teaching tricks contribute to fitness. I like “unwind” and “wind up” — my little pups spin first one way then the other. I also work to use command words for everyday activities like stretching or walking backward.

A lot of fitness is about your creativity, so use your imagination! How can you keep your dog involved in life? Mine rarely stay home — only when I’m running errands, etc. They love to visit family, go to dog shows, ride along, hang out at barbeques, and play any training game Mom comes up with.

So lace up your tennies and grab the leash: it’s time to get fit, have fun, and keep Fido moving!

Kennedy Morgan works in the construction industry by day and enjoys coming home to her Great Dane, Vegas, and Pomeranian, Leo. Her household is also indentured to a 14-year-old tortoiseshell diva cat, Capri. They enjoy walks, hikes, beach trips, agility, and learning new things, and are often seen out and about on the west side or at local dog sporting events.

(long!) hike with heart

What’s an active, Beagle-loving dog mom to do with her summer? Lisa Goyne will be hiking 450 miles along Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail, supporting Portland-based Cascade Beagle Rescue along the way. Lisa’s trek will begin at the California/Oregon border July 28, with the goal of reaching Washington five weeks later and raising $20,000 for CBR. A long distant hike has been a dream of Lisa’s for a long time. Drawing on inspiration from friends, family, and her own rescued Beagle, Emmy, she decided to go for it this summer.

“Cascade Beagle Rescue is excited to be a part of this unique fundraiser, and we look forward to increasing the number of beagles we can rescue, rehabilitate and rehome,” says CBR President, Amy Freeman.                                              

Since forming in 2005, nonprofit CBR has helped more than 600 dogs find their forever homes. Visit to learn more or donate.

The Dog Days of Summer

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When I moved to the Northwest decades ago, a wise old vet whispered in my ear:  “Work all summer and then when everyone’s home in late August, go out and play.”  He was revealing to me this area’s worst-kept secret — late summer/early fall is the best weather in our corner of the country.  While others are getting their kids ready for school and stowing their recreational gear, those in the know are grabbing their dogs and heading out for the woods, the waves, the wind, and the warmth of the best time of year. 

If you’re one of those lured outdoors with a furry friend, use caution for the pitfalls that can be encountered . . .

. . . AT WATER’S EDGE:  If going boating on a lake or just playing near the swift undertow of the ocean surf, remember to keep an eye on Rover.  Even if he can swim, invest in a pet life vest.  If hiking along mountain streams, remember that even if they appear cool and clear they can potentially harbor parasites.  If carrying your own water is not feasible, carry a good filter and determine ahead of time where you can access safe, clean drinking water for you and your dog.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Warmth and slow-moving water contribute to the growth of algae, some of which can be the deadly “blue-green” type.  Blue-green algae contain potent toxins that, if ingested, can affect the nervous system and liver and can be rapidly FATAL.  Symptoms include vomiting, weakness, seizures, and paralysis.  There is no antidote so the best treatment is prevention!  Do not let dogs swim in, play in, or drink standing water with algal blooms.  Avoid all stagnant water and any water with a “green film” on top.  Postings of known affected areas can be found by typing “Harmful Algae Blooms Oregon” into your search engine.

. . . FORAGING IN THE FOREST:  Close encounters with both poisonous plants and dangerous wildlife are a possibility when trekking in the deep, dark woods.  Dogs, like people, can have nasty skin reactions to poison ivy, poison oak, or stinging nettles.  Be on the lookout for these plants, and if your pet has brushed up against some malicious underbrush, remove the plant oils from his/her coat with a degreasing soap such as Dawn dishwashing detergent along with plenty of water.

WOLVES AND COUGARS AND BEARS, OH MY!  While chances are slim for your pet to encounter these dangerous animals, they are likely to engage a more bloodthirsty (albeit smaller) creature:  the tick.  Every year, thousands of dogs are infected with dangerous tick–transmitted diseases such as ehrlichia and Lyme disease, and diagnoses are increasing annually.  To prevent these pests from spreading their “poison,” apply a flea and tick repellent recommended by your veterinarian, and reapply if your dog is immersed in water.

. . . WALKING IN FIELDS OF GOLD:  Hiking in the grasslands and canyons of the eastern part of our state offers a visual pleasure different from our local emerald scenery — along with different hazards.  When in high desert areas with rocky outcroppings, keep your animals close.  Keeping pets on leash isn’t binding a free spirit; it’s an act of concern that could save your pet’s life.  If hiking through “snake country” is a favorite activity, snake avoidance/aversion training can be worthy insurance in protecting your buddy from snake bite. 

OTHER ENCOUNTERS FAR A FIELD TO AVOID — also of the prickly kind — include porcupines (pulling quills from a furry face is painful and no fun), and foxtails (arrow-shaped grass seeds aka “awns”) can find their way in between toes, into eyes or ears, and can even embed anywhere along a dog’s soft body.  After walking through tall, dry grass, examine your dog closely and remove grass awns with tweezers. 

. . . OR JUST TRAIPSING DOWN YOUR GARDEN PATH:  Even the well-worn spaces in your own corner of the world can pose hazards to your hound.  Leaves and other yard debris build up, retain moisture, and with warm Indian Summer days, provide perfect conditions for mushrooms and mold toxins.  Dogs are delighted to find decaying material . . . but can come away severely ill with vomiting and tremors.  Toxic and non-toxic mushrooms can grow side-by-side; approximately 50-100 of the thousands of species that grow in the United States are toxic.  Signs of mushroom toxicity can range from mild vomiting and diarrhea to abdominal pain and, in severe cases, fatal liver failure.  The best way to avoid grief in the garden is to keep your yard free of “toadstools,” and remove leaves and dying plant material before they pile up.

Go forth into the glory that is fall in Pacific Northwest . . . and take care with your canine to avoid the fleas, fungus and other dangers still among us.

“. . . methinks the changeful glories,
The sport, the harvest cheer,
Make the autumnal season
The brightest of the year. “


Best Hikes with Dogs: Oregon, 2nd Edition


Best Hikes with Dogs: Oregon, 2nd Edition

by Ellen Morris Bishop

Best Hikes with Dogs:  Oregon is a great reference book, detailing 76 dog-friendly trails throughout the state.  The opening lists helpful tips on trail etiquette, wildlife hazards and canine first aid.  Featured hikes range from leisurely day walks to multi-day adventures, with detailed descriptions that include difficulty, length, elevation, water and shade availability along the trail, and even whether it's usually crowded.  Also noted are leash regulations and whether parking permits are required.  My dog and I have hiked three featured trails so far and found the guide very helpful.

I would recommend getting a more detailed map and directions for each hike, but the book is fantastic because it contains so many places to take your dogs.  It is also useful because much of the information contained is difficult to find online.  For example, where it is likely to find poison oak along the trail, and the best season for each hike.

If your New Year’s resolution was to be more active, Best Hikes might be just the thing — all the better for including the dog!

Canines in Canyon Lands

Janee Bennion and Reid Tully enjoy a late afternoon rest in Arches National Park with their two white labs after a hard day of mountain biking on nearby BLM lands.What every adventurer needs to know about dogs in national parks

The early May day is a scorcher at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah.  Eighty-six degrees at 5pm.

Hikers straggle off the Devil’s Garden trail, a long, sun-drenched loop crossing slick rock fins and ledges.  At the trailhead, a young couple fills a water bowl for two white Labs dozing under the drinking fountain.

This family will not be exploring the seven-mile trail.  In fact, they’ll go no farther than the adjacent campground.  Canine movement is highly restricted in U.S. National Parks, which begs consideration when planning a road trip with Rover.

Life is a Highway...Let's Roll!

Destination: Central Oregon

It’s the time of year when many start planning vacations and little getaways.  When looking for a great place to truly unwind, pamper yourself, or to seek high adventure, one of the most popular choices is Central Oregon, home to a handful of worthy destinations including Bend, Sunriver, La Pine, Prineville and Sisters. 

These mountain retreats beckon rock climbers, river rafters and hikers, as well as golfers, spa dwellers and the art-and-wine set.  And whichever category a vacationer may fit, one belief held dear by many is that no vacation is complete without their numero-uno traveling companion, the dog.  Fortunately, this area is geared to pets, so many accommodations and recreational opportunities are, too.

Rambling Rovers

Hiking with Dogs is Great Fun, but be Prepared

Like any self-respecting Labrador Retriever, one-year-old Bear is happiest playing fetch in a natural body of water. Lucky for Bear, his partner in crime, Gary Harr, is also at his best on a river or lake.

Harr, who leads dog-friendly hikes for the social networking group Meetin Portland (MIPL), frequently takes Bear for five-mile jaunts in the Columbia River Gorge, and on the Clackamas, Sandy and Willamette Rivers. Last spring he led MIPL hikes at Triple Falls in the Gorge and at Oaks Bottom/Sellwood Park. His weekend haunts also include the Sandy River Delta (exit 18 off I-84), where Bear can roam off leash and splash in the river, always in sight.