Archive for May, 2009
Dog Friendly Hike near Littleton Colorado

It’s the last weekend in May and the weather has finally decided to be agreeable for a weekend. After planning a hike 6 weeks ago every weekend has been snow, rain, or generally bad weather and our outdoor spirit was ruined by the muddy conditions. With a few nice hours on Saturday and a beautiful Sunday morning it’s about time we got out there. First up on the hiking list, a random selection from a trail guide of Denver, is the Coyote Song Trail at South Valley Park in Ken Caryl. Below are some pictures from our hike along with a trail map link and directions to the park.

Dog friendly hiking trail in the Colorado foothills

Dog friendly hiking trail in the Colorado foothills

Hiking with a golden retriever

Hiking with a golden retriever

Tucked just the other side of the foothills at the base of the Rockies South Valley Park is only 900 acres but has paths totaling 8 miles. Maintained by Jefferson County the park offers a few trail options of varying lengths and difficulty levels. The plan for Finnegan is take the Coyote Song Trail out and back for a total of 3 miles. A copy of the South Valley Park trail map (pdf) is good to have to make sure we only do 3 miles and not more. With his hip dysplasia we prefer not to work Finn for too much longer than that at any one time considering he goes on a run every morning anyways. Also with the weather (mid 80′s) Finn is prone to overheating. Winter helped him build up his golden coat but now we’re seeing it shed by the pound and 80 degree hikes just can not be comfortable.

Informational signs on Coyote Song Trail

Informational signs on Coyote Song Trail

Finnegan reading the signs

Finnegan reading the signs

From C470 take the Ken Caryl Road exit and head west. Keep left at the light onto South Valley Road. On the left will be a lake and parking lot for the trails. A second parking lot is located at the other end of the trails (continue on South Valley and turn on left on Deer Creek Canyon Road for the other smaller lot).

Moving a Dog
Golden Retriever Finn sleeping as usual

Golden Retriever Finn sleeping as usual

There has been a lot going on in Finn’s world these past few months, and the next few include some fun times as well. Back in December we moved from wonderful Southern California to Denver Colorado. Nothing in particular brough us here, just a general sense of wanting to try something new. Getting settled in the area, situated to a new job, new climate, and new friends has been quite an experience.

The move itself was surprisingly uneventful. We drove here twice to get both cars and the second time Finn made the trip. 5 hours to Northern California was a breeze, it is a trip Finnegan has made a few times. We then spent Christmas at the Parents house with Bear enjoying his stocking and all the new plants in the yard while getting praised from the whole family for being so adorable. After a few days though it was time to be on our way, next Stop Salt Lake City where we’d visit Finn’s Aunt. Later December is not the best time for such a pilgrimage, chains required going through Tahoe, poor visibility, but luckily we didn’t hear a peep from the little guy in the back. He was content to let us do the talking and each time we stopped he dutifully hopped out, peed and then settled back in for some more driving. In Salt Lake we stayed at a great, dog friendly hotel.

The Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake city gets as many thumbs up as a dog can give. It turns out the whole Kimpton line of hotels is dog friendly. Well, pet friendly. See if a guest does not have their own pet to bring on the trip the staff, upon request,  will provide a goldfish that will be fed and cared for by the housekeeping staff but who lives in the guest room. Even if you’re only staying a night or two. What’s more, when we told them we’d be traveling with a pet there was no crazy deposit on the room, no weight limit, no major concerns of any kind. Clearly they’d worked with dog owners before. When we did arrive our room had a dog bed already in it and a nice food and water bowl. We only stayed one night becasue we had to get to Denver, but it was the first time Finn got to see snow.

A few hours after we got to SLC, and once we had eaten dinner, it started to snow. There was already the 5-6 inches from a previous storm but the active snow was too much to pass up. I grabbed Finn’s leash and we went for a walk despite the cold. Out in front of the Mormon temple I let him loose to romp in the now 8 inches of snow, hopping up and down, burying his head, trying to eat the flakes. We didn’t stay long as I wasn’t equipped for the temperature, and after about 20 minutes it was back to the hotel to get ready for another day of driving. 24 hours later we were settling into our new house excited for thigns to come.

The location change was a lot to take in.  In Finn’s case the move meant no more yard to play in (yard is a relative term as the old one turned into one big burn spot dotted with signs of digging and paw tracks). Instead Finnegan hangs out inside most of the day. He’s cool with this as it means he gets to sleep on cool hardwood floors and soft static inducing carpet, he rotates about hourly. At first we were concerned. How is our outdoor puppy who is used to relieving himself at will onthe lawn, chasing the occasional bird, and basking in the sun going to handle being in an inclosed space? Well he did just fine, minus a few weeks of learning curve to teach him carpet is not grass (he’d never really experienced carpet before), and now he goes on a lot more walks. Because this live bear is cooped up inside all day we make it a point to take him on real walks more.

Finn’s mom is great about the mornings, when Finn joins her for her morning runs. It’s nice that he’s with her as there can be viscious wildlife on the trail, but then I have to be worried about Finn too. At lunch he joins me to pick up the mail at the end of our court and we usually stretch that out into a mile long stroll. Then on a lot of nights we’ll play fetch behind the house. We can’t play during the day as the golfers would be angry, and we now need to be careful about letting Finn in the pond, but overall I think he gets more quality playtime now.

Not everything has been easy about moving to a new city but it is nice to have someone in the house who barely knows the difference. On any given day Finn stills greets us with his patented half smile, tongue out to the side, wide-eyed looks that will make you forget about anything else.

Furry Scurry
Finn and Friends at Furry Scurry Denver

Finn and Friends at Furry Scurry Denver

The mile high city has been an adventure for all of us, Finn included, since moving in December. The bear has acclimated well to the high altitude but somehow he now sleeps more than before (we’re up to 20 hours on some days). He still gets out though. There are a few dog parks in the area, a nice trail by the house, cool neighbor dogs, and even Finn’s first entry required event.

A few weekends ago Finn’s mom took him to the Furry Scurry. A run/walk put on by the Dumb Friends League to help support homeless pets. The whole thing raised close to $1Million.

The event was held in Washinton Park, in Denver. A great area that we’ve taken Finn for runs in otherwise, and he even had some company. The little Boston terriers are Louis and Wendel. Louis rocked a stroller for the event and both of the little guys were wearing their Varsity Letterman Jackets. I have no idea what sport they are from but I think we need to get Finn into sports so he can get a cool jacket as well.