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August 31, 2022 4 min read

Is there a more confounding time of year than summer’s end? Allow us to elaborate; we love the summer! Long days, sunshine, shorts & t-shirts, cold beers. But we love the fall! Crunchy leaves, cool evenings, sweater weather (we long for it!) and pumpkin spice beers. Sigh. It occurs to us that the answer is to create a sort of mash up of summer and September, a smash up, if you like, the best of both worlds. Now this is a pilot scheme, so we hope you’ll cut us some slack, but here goes: the King Duke’s Super Seasonal September Smash Up! AKA, six ideas for when summer meets fall… 

1. Making a splash at the top of the list are dog swim days! That’s right, September is the month where pools and waterparks across the nation welcome dogs and their friends to dive in. We can’t think of a better way to spend the day, and of course, we have everything you need to make it go, well, swimmingly! For the newbie, may we recommend this super safe and super stylish Kurgo Life Vest! As flexible as it is durable, it doubles up as a rain slicker for later in the season, and comes in 5 sizes! For the experienced water dog, how about one of our Cycle Dog float toys? We are particularly taken with the 3 Play Turtle which, as well as being made from recycled bike tubes, floats and squeaks for hours of fun. We’ll take 2!

2. Water not floating your boat? Not a problem! September = school, and guess what, dogs can learn too! Pet Partners is a brilliant organization that has been working with dogs and their humans since 1976, training them in all sorts of animal-assisted therapies, like assisting Veterans with PTSD, offering companionship to seniors with Alzheimers, helping kids with learning disabilities, and so much more. Based right here in Washington, it works with pets across the USA and Canada, so if you want to volunteer with your pet, find out how here. What’s more, dogs, cats, horses, birds, pigs, llamas & alpacas, rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs can all be trained! Wow!

3. After a day in class, you and your sidekick will have more than earned a break, and what better way to, er, kick back than with an early fall winery tour! Cheers! Many vineyards welcome dogs, provided your dog is trained not to help herself to grapes (which can be toxic), or embarrass herself by demanding another glass of wine (wait - that was me - ahem!). So grab some snacks - we think these pizza bites are just the thing! - and your nattiest leash, and head out to wine country; you have nothing to lose but your dignity (wait - that was me - ahem!). 

4. For the sporting dog, we have it on good authority that there is no better way to spend the day than at the ballpark! No fewer than 11 MLB teams welcome four legged friends on special days, most of which fall in September. The AKC recommends that pets be older than 4 months, fully vaccinated, and used to people and noise, and of course your pup will need to remain on her leash throughout. In return, your dog can expect top class sport, and a variety of other accommodations. Those lucky enough to be in the Washington, D.C. metro area can enjoy a designated Pup Zone in the Family Picnic area at Nationals Park, as well as pet sitters from the Human Rescue Alliance, but many other parks have similar plans, so check our list, grab a bandana in your team colors, and represent! 

5. As temperatures cool off, there is no better time to explore your local hiking trails before they become rain-soaked mud baths. This summer’s intense heat has meant we’ve had more beach days than we thought possible, and while that’s been fun, we’ve got some exploring to do. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are spoiled for choice, but we have it on good authority that other places are just as wonderful for walking! And what’s more, wherever you are, we can rush you all the kit you need, from heavy-duty leashes, to car harnesses, to travel water bottles, and of course, the most important thing of all, post hike treats! 

6. Last but absolutely not least, this summer we said goodbye to tireless animal rights activist, dog advocate, and much-loved star, Olivia Newton John, and we can’t think of a better way to mark our hopeless devotion to her than with a drive-in movie. The first time we saw a drive-in was watching Danny and Sandy’s slightly disastrous date in Grease (stranded at the drive-in. Sigh.), and we have been fans of this cornerstone of American culture ever since. Most drive-ins are delighted to welcome dogs, and while we recommend checking before you go, you can find a list of venues here. So grab some sodas, some dogs, and some hot dogs too, and enjoy those su-ummer niiiiiiii-iiiights!

So there you have it, six of our favorite things to do in the lingering sunshine. But as you know, we are an equal opportunities pack, so however you spend your summer-fall days, as always, we wish you nothing but joy. And if you are in the neighborhood, why not pop by and say a late summer hi? We’d love to see you, and yes, we have treats! Over and out, barkers!

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