Taking a long walk or jog with an active dog is a great wintertime activity. In the Summer, pets can run the risk of overheating or burning paw pads on hot pavement but, 'tis the season to get fit outside in the brisk chill. This weekend marks the 20th Annual Jingle Jog in Atlanta with races for running and walking . . . with pooches! As a festive touch, everyone who enters gets jingle bells for their shoes (or pup's collar). The event also includes a Best Dressed Holiday pet contest with gift certificates to Petco up for grabs for those decked-out dogs. Bring your pooch and a toy to donate to needy children this Christmas season — the fun run starts at 8 a.m. on Dec. 15.
Savannah's Troup Square is arguably the city's most popular see-and-be-seen park for people and pups. This leafy-green square is bordered by beautiful brownstones and row houses, and has plenty of benches for breaks. Leashed dogs are quite welcome here and at outside tables at several nearby restaurants (try brunch at Firefly Café, which borders this park). The best feature would definitely be the cast-iron water fountain just for dogs with two low-slung bowls for lapping, plus a special refilling mechanism.
Also noteworthy in town is Paws on the Island. Bring your pooch for their state-of-the-art hydrosurge spa baths to minimize stress and maximize cleanliness or to their soundproof "quiet rooms" for an aromatherapy treatment, and pick up some cute pet gear from their retail shop as well as a special treat to end the day!
With over eight million gallons of water housing more than 100,000 animals of 500 species, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is one of the largest in the world. Residents include two massive Whale Sharks – check out that huge mouth up above! Capable of weighing up to 15 tons, these "gentle giants" are filter feeders meaning they live off of plankton and animals, scooped up in bucket-like fashion with their four-foot-wide mouths.
This aquarium celebrated its two year anniversary last month – and introduced four new Leopard Whiprays last week giving it the largest collection of this species in the US. Also seen up top, these rays collected offshore of Penghu (an island group on the west coast of Taiwan) have a distinctive, leopard-like pattern that extends down much of their tails as well. I could go on and on naming and describing the cool creatures found here, but I recommend checking them out for yourself!
With a slogan as "the pet store for people," it's especially fitting that this posh shop includes cute brands like Lupine, Red Dingo, and Bella Bean for pooches and boasts great human perks, too! Pet owners can host animal and people socials at Hipbone Pet (like the Italian Greyhound Winter Party this Sunday). Consider renting it out for your dog's next gala – it features free WiFi, plasma TV, comfy lounge, and a doggie-proof deck for warmer days.
While in the area, consider a stop at nearby Piedmont Dog Park, one of the few places in Atlanta where off-leash dogs can frolic freely! Then come back to Hipbone, and bathe your pet for free!
If you're doing business in Atlanta with your pooch, the boutique Hotel Indigo is a must-stay. Located in Midtown, not only is it in a convenient area, it's free of additional pet fees! If you're visiting Georgia super soon, the hotel is offering a special Ruff Life Dog Package with doggie bed, doggie bowl and treats, a copy of Fido Friendly magazine, and a welcome note from the hotel's mascot, Indie. This sweet deal starts at $109 per night plus tax, and lasts until Dec. 31.
For those locals or animal-lovers planning a summer visit, this hotel holds a Canine Cocktail hour every Tuesday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day with drink specials and snacks for those on two feet and special doggie menus and treats for the four-footers, too!