Sunny, crisp days and aromatic leaf piles inspire dogs to leap into the season. As late summer’s dog days drift into fall, it’s time to try something new.
Learn: Sign up for obedience, agility or another canine-centric activity, and crack open the Internet to expand your dog-cog information base.
Refresh: Toss the flattened stuffies and stock up on new chewables, DIY a toy storage box, or take the washable pooch bed to a commercial laundry and fluff it up.
Volunteer: Stop by your local shelter and offer yourself as a dog walker, or a dog talker; dogs benefit from having someone sit nearby and talk (or read) to them.
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Foster: Partial to a particular breed? See if its local rescue group needs foster homes for dogs-in-waiting. Better yet, make the same offer to your shelter.
Unwind: Give doga a try; get out the yoga mat and do a few downward-facing dogs with your in-house dogini.
Leaf Peep: Fall-color hot spots abound; google “fall foliage” for your region, then hit the road, co-pilot in the car and camera at hand. Or stay home and rake leaves into billowy piles for your dog to jump into … then rake them up again.
Light Up: Days are getting shorter; make sure you’re visible on late-afternoon or early-evening walks. Put new batteries in your flashlight and invest in reflective vests: one for you, one for the pup.
Look Up: Sirius, the Dog Star, is the night sky’s brightest, and easy to spot (plus, stargazing is a good way to pass the moments while your furry friend checks her p-mail).
Freeze Up: Fall is prime time for pumpkins, one of canine nutrition’s high-antioxidant, high-soluble-fiber wonder foods. Puree fresh cooked pumpkin and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays or muffin tins for future meals. (Organic produce seems to provide more good-guy antioxidants, so go organic when possible.)
Plan Ahead: Popular dog-friendly resorts and vacation venues fill up fast; make your holiday reservations now. Or, if you know you’ll be traveling sans dog, reserve time in your favorite pet sitter’s schedule.
Get Started: Winter and its seasonal celebrations are coming, so put on your DIY hat and make something special. Knit a sweater, felt a woolen ball, crochet a colorful dog bed, assemble a keepsake book.
PS: Stay safe. Along with summer heat’s last hurrah come potentially dangerous blue-green algae blooms, particularly in freshwater lakes and streams. Read up on their hazards at petpoisonhelpline.com.