Dogs Information | Dog Days Of Summer: Collier County Canines Have All Kinds Of Social Opportunities
Good news, dogs of Naples: You officially survived the Fourth of July.As poodles and Pekingese, Dobermans and Great Danes slowly slink out from the safety of their under-the-bed hidey-holes, they’ll be glad to know while they missed a terrific fireworks show, they’ve emerged just in time for the dog days of summer.
And doggone it if Southwest Florida isn’t going to the dogs this year.
From furry fashion shows to yappy hours and play dates at the beach, during the next few months, having four legs and a tail gains you admission to some of the hottest events in town.
We fetched a few of our favorite Fido-friendly activities from around town and brought them to you in one neat, tidy list. Here is our ultimate guide to making your pooch feel like he’s one lucky dog.
ROOM TO ROAM
On a recent weekday morning, a handful of dogs gallivant across the mulch at Naples’ newest dog park. A boxer spars with a mutt while a French bulldog tries his short-legged-best to rustle up trouble. Under the comfort of the park’s shade structures, a group of owners, who have become regulars at the park, chat congenially.
One of the regulars is Amanda Jane Capp, at the park on this particular day with her shepherd-golden retriever mix, Sugar. The pair has been coming to the park since it opened, and Capp enjoys watching her dog socialize with others.
“She’s a bit of a lone ranger sometimes; she likes to just sniff around, but I still think it’s important to socialize your dog,” she says.
Vets and dog trainers agree that dogs need social interaction in their lives.
“Socializing your dog is very important for the safety and enjoyment of you and your dog as well as the people and their dogs around you,” says Karen Paul, who owns the WiggleButt Inn ” a local cageless boarding and doggy day-care facility ” with her husband, George Paul.
“Dogs are pack animals, and it is very important for them to be accepted in a group setting with other dogs,” she says. “Humans benefit as an extension because they can feel confident about safely having their dogs interact with others.”
Residents in Southwest Florida have plenty of options for socializing their dogs in open-air spaces.
As the days get hotter, many locals head to the Lee County Dog Beach off Estero Boulevard at Lover’s Key. The only dog-permitting beach in the area, those with four legs (and two) are free to swim and frolic without the confines of a leash.
“It’s a nice place to be active with my dogs in true Floridian style. We can run, swim and play at the beach,” says Claire Finer-Stubblebine, a senior veterinary technician at the Brown Veterinary Clinic and owner of two rescue dogs.
Finer-Stubblebine isn’t alone in enjoying the dog beach: On weekends, the space is often bustling with dogs playing, swimming and just generally being happy to be out of the doghouse.
DOGS IN THE GARDEN
You might think opening up the impeccably maintained Naples Botanical Garden to a horde of hounds sounds like garden grounds manager Adam Davis’ worst nightmare. In reality, he loves having the dogs around.
Davis said it’s unusual to have a dog-friendly botanical garden; the Naples garden is really an anomaly ” but he’s happy that’s the case.
“The dog owners are incredibly respectful. In all the times we’ve had dogs at the garden, I’ve only had to pick up poop once, and that was when a 90-year-old woman told me she couldn’t bend over to pick it up. I told her it would be my honor to pick it up for her,” Davis said.
The Dogs in the Garden events, which include weekly walking times for dogs all year and daily walking times during August, have been a part of the garden’s programming landscape from the beginning.
“We have several founding dog members,” Davis said. “We have a lot of board members who are dog lovers, so since we opened in 2009, we’ve had a dog committee.”
That committee has ensured canines and their