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Happy Trails on the Trail

As published in the Mountain Mail on May 4, 2018...

Last month I wrote about Salida Dog Club’s mission statement of “promoting safe recreational activities for dogs and their owners.” I also mentioned the upcoming Tails on the Trail 5 K Run/Walk, on May 20th, that the dog club is collaboratively hosting with Ark-Valley Humane Society (AVHS) and Salida Recreation.

AVHS’s mission statement is “advocating for the welfare of all animals through compassion and caring.” Note that both the dog club and humane society’s mission statements share a common element: relationships between dogs and people.

In this special relationship between dogs and people, how do these entities care for each other? When most of us have committed to a dog relationship, we’ve realized it was going to be a commitment of money, time and energy. This includes appropriate medical care, training, grooming and nutrition.

Sometimes overlooked in the commitment of owning a dog is the time and energy that is required. BUT, on the flipside, it is through these responsibilities that the dog inadvertently takes care of us.

Spending time with our dogs frequently drives us to interact with other humans whom we may have never met otherwise. Visits to the dog park are a good example of where dog owners routinely socialize. Rumor has it that occasionally this socialization amongst people has evolved to more that just visiting at the park! Other examples include various dog sports, therapy dog activities or just taking your dog for a walk or run with a friend.

Dogs are naturally high-energy companions and love to play and exercise. As a result, dog owners are often inspired towards an active lifestyle to satisfy their dog’s needs. Research conducted by the American Heart Association revealed that dog owners were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise than non-dog owners.

There’s a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. A good friend is loyal, will be there to pick you up when you’re down, will keep you on track to reach your goals, and will just be there for you as a companion. And that’s exactly what a dog can do for its owner. The mental, physical and social benefits of caring for a dog are numerous.

Back in 2010 is when the first dog walk/run was organized in Salida. Initially called Loyal Duke’s Dog Race, the race started out with two routes, 1.5 mile and 3.5 miles along the base of, and side of, Tenderfoot Mountain. The longer route passed Loyal Duke’s gravesite, after which Loyal Dukes Dog Park was named. Profits from the race went towards improvements to the dog park.

For the next three years the annual event continued to be hosted by the dog club but changes were made to the name, the length and even the location. After the dog club had sufficient funds to continue maintaining the dog park, there was a hiatus in the event.

In 2017, Salida Recreation collaboratively hosted the run/walk with the dog club so as to increase exposure for the race and to promote their mission of providing recreation.

This year, AVHS is taking the lead on organizing this run/walk. Salida Dog Club and Salida Recreation are supporting the event in various ways as well as co-hosting it. Most of the profits will go towards benefitting AVHS and it’s mission.

The name of the event is now called Tails on the Trail. The last day for early registration (at a reduced price) will be May 17th. This is a family and dog friendly 5 K run/walk. Walkers and runners of all levels are encouraged to participate. Participating with a dog is encouraged but not required. For the slower movers, it can be an opportunity to socialize while exercising. For the competitive movers, there is a prize for both the first place female and male winners.

Salida Dog Club, AVHS and Salida Recreation all encourage you to come recreate at this upcoming Tails on the Trail event with caring and compassion. Let’s get the tails on our canine buddies wagging happily!

Laura Pintane is a local dog trainer and advocate of safe, recreational and educational activities for dogs

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