On the way home from work last night I was drumming my fingers on the steering wheel, willing the car in front of me to approach something resembling the speed limit. Then the head of a very happy dog popped out the rear window of said slow car. Ears flapping and tongue wagging, his joy was contagious and suddenly I wasn’t in such a hurry to get down the road.
Dogs have a way of making us slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. They are our best friends. And Wyoming is the perfect place to reward them for all they do.
Free, at last. My dog, Heidi, had a big yard in our southwest Wyoming home. She had plenty of room to run, a sunny deck on which to bask each afternoon, and a great view over the fence and down into the valley. She was a lucky dog by anyone’s standards. But Heidi got even luckier. On the weekends, we would load into the vehicle and head out of town. Wearing her pink bandana to keep the ranchers from confusing her with a coyote, our happy brown down would bound through brush and creek beds all afternoon. We’d arrive home in the evening, completely sapped, smelling of fresh air and sage.
Local dogs are happy to share this unique freedom with visitors. Wyoming has hundreds of miles of public land where any Poodle or Pug can find their inner puppy. Properly attired in a bright bandana and kept well away from grazing livestock, dogs are free to roam without restriction. Each area offers new experiences for your furry friend. Drive your Doberman to the desert in the southwest. Release your Retriever in the rivers of central Wyoming. Play with your Pomeranian on the eastern plains. Languish with your Labrador on one of our many lakes.
Dogs are also welcome in the numerous state and national forests as well as Yellowstone. Be sure to find out the rules and restrictions for these areas. Many of these guidelines are developed for the safety of your pet as well as the enjoyment of all visitors.
On the hunt. For the hunters and fishermen of the world, Wyoming is usually top on the list of places to prowl. And our four-legged friends are happy to go along. Add an orange vest to your dog’s bright bandana and take him into the woods. Even if he barks at every twig that cracks and keeps your prey away, you and your buddy are sure to enjoy the day.
On the lakes, in the creeks or at the side of a stream, fishing is a great pastime to share with your pup. While you cast and reel, he can wander the shore, catch the rays or do some fishing of his own. Just don’t hold it against him if the shameless “face in the water” approach works better than your pricey pole.
Hotel for dogs. Maybe you aren’t ready to head out to the wilderness. Wyoming’s towns and cities are also dog friendly. Most parks allow leashed pets and some cities have dog parks where your mutt can mingle within the safety of a fenced area. Many area events also allow well-behaved companions to attend for some much enjoyed people watching.
Major hotel chains will generally allow your dog to stay with you in your room. But locally owned accommodations and B&Bs can also be willing to pamper your pooch. I have seen iced water delivered to dogs in the registration line and doggie biscuits on the pillows. Dog lovers are everywhere. Be sure to check with your intended resting spot to find out about their rules and any restrictions you may have for interaction with your pet.
As the days get longer and the afternoons warmer here in Wyoming, I see more and more pooches with their heads out the windows. Whether they are on their way to the country or just to the grocery store, there can be no doubt that this state is for the dogs. And their owners.
**Special thanks to our Facebook friend, Elizabeth Kelly, for providing this picture of Bandit from their fishing trip on the Platte, near Encampment.