Two Bozeman nonprofits are hosting a community dog walk this weekend to celebrate multi-use trails and to promote responsible dog ownership.
On Saturday morning, Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter are holding “Tails on Trails,” a group hike for animal-lovers and their dogs at the Sourdough Canyon Trail.
Along the route, there will be education stations and freebies for you and your pooch. Participants are encouraged to donate to either of the two organizations to fund pet waste stations at area trails and to support the shelter’s animal welfare program.
“Our local trail system is a community gem, and dog owners are among the biggest trail user groups,” GVLT Executive Director Penelope Pierce said Tuesday. “The Tails on Trails event emphasizes those ‘best practices’ that dog owners can employ to minimize conflict and maximize the trail experience for all user groups.”
There will be five stations along the first 1.5 miles of the hike.
Bridger Feeds, which is sponsoring the event, will provide dog treat samples. West Paw Design will hand out locally made dog toys. Bozeman Pet Pics will photograph pups and their hiking companions.
Meanwhile, Bozeman’s animal control officer will explain why people should register their dogs with the city.
A canine behaviorist will teach dog owners tricks to handle various scenarios on trails, such as encountering other dogs, horses, runners, mountain bikers or wildlife.
Staff from Heart of the Valley and GVLT will distribute and demonstrate how to use slip-leashes to steer dogs clear of other trail users.
Representatives from the Gallatin Local Water Quality District will talk about the detrimental effects of pet waste on the ecosystem. And, Run Dog Run will organize a cleanup on the trail after the event.
Organizers of the community dog walk said they hope to make it an annual affair.
“The great news is a lot of the dogs that are going to be out there are going to be Heart of the Valley alumni who are now out with their new families having a great time and socializing with other dogs … So, it’s this wonderful cycle that you see happen,” said Terry Cunningham, founder of Run Dog Run, a local nonprofit that advocates for off-leash recreation facilities.
Organizers have provided specific information for exactly what your donation would buy. A $20 donation, for example, would pay for food and shelter for one large dog for a month or could buy a supply of 400 dog waste bags at an area trail.