A Dog’s Day Afternoon: Outdoor Locations and Day Trips for You and Your Canine Companion in Massachusetts

A Dog’s Day Afternoon: Outdoor Locations and Day Trips for You and Your Canine Companion in Massachusetts

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer it’s a great time of year to start planning some outdoor adventures for you and your canine companion. With so many options in Massachusetts for outdoor excursions and puppy picnics, it can be a daunting task to plan the perfect day out.  We here at Elliot’s House are always keeping track of fun things to do around Somerville and the rest of Massachusetts and we want to share some of our top picks with you. This post will include just a few of our favorite outdoor excursions, doggie day trips, and dog-friendly dining options in Massachusetts.

Herring Cove – Provincetown, Mass.

If you’re ever in or around Provincetown then you should definitely check out Herring Cove with your pup. This is also a great option for a day trip if you have the time. Provincetown is known for being very dog-friendly and the beaches of Herring Cove are no exception. Herring Cove is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore boasting miles of dog-friendly beaches, showers, bike paths, and a snack bar if you happen to get hungry during the day. We highly suggest packing some beach chairs, a cooler, plenty of snacks and water for you and your canine companion and making a day trip to this wonderful slice of New England.  If you’re lucky you may even see a whale jump out of the ocean or a seal warm himself in the summer sun. Take note you’re your dog must be on a leash at all times and parking does cost around $20, but it is worth the price depending on how long you plan on checking out the beach and the surrounding area.

Middlesex Fells Reservation – Stoneham, Mass.

If you’re looking for a shorter outdoor excursion that’s perfect for you and your pup than look no further than the Middlesex Fells Reservation. Located less than 30 minutes outside of Boston, there are lots of trails and other outdoor activities. From boating to biking there are plenty of things to do and plenty of amazing trails to explore with your pup. Best of all, Sheepfold Meadow, located on the Sheepfold Trail, is an off-leash area where your pup is free to run and play to their heart’s content. Perfect for picnics and long games of fetch with the family, this is the perfect location for a low stress, easy to coordinate outdoor adventure.

Breakheart Reservation – Saugus, Mass.

If you’re looking for a walk around the pond or your pup is curious to see a cow or two, look no further than Breakheart Reservation. Dogs must be on a leash at all times around the reservation, but there is an off-leash dog park, Bark Place, where you can let your canine companion run free. The reservation is very scenic and features miles of trails and fun things to do. The dog park is not as nice as some but it is an off-leash dog park, which is always a plus. We suggest this for families looking for a nice active summer excursion with barnyard animals to distract your little one and your pup. There is also plenty of room to run around and play catch or even just sit down and have a nice picnic. There are table areas where you can put your food if you’re not the grassy picnic type. The trails are long, but there are a few water fountains scattered about so bring a collapsible bowl to keep your pup hydrated!

Willard Woods – Lexington, Mass.

Willard Woods is one of the best dog-friendly options if you’re looking for a nice walk in the woods with your canine companion. Part of a large stretch of government conservation land, Willard’s Woods is a 2.7-mile long loop that is great for a nice summer walk with your pup. Monday through Friday you can walk your dog off leash as long as your pup is within shouting distance and supervised. If you go on a weekend your dog will have to be on a leash, but it’s still a wonderful destination for a nice fulfilling walk with your pup. Make sure to bring water and a bowl!

Union Square Donuts – Somerville, Mass.

This is one of the Elliot’s House Team’s favorite places to start the day with our canine companions. The establishment is dog-friendly and they have some of the best donuts in the area if not the state! With vegan options and great coffee, there are few better places to stop with your pup on a summer morning in Somerville. They don’t have dog donuts yet; so make sure to bring a treat for your pup so they don’t get jealous!

There are so many options for summer excursions with your pup, but we think that these are some great places to start. Let us know what you like to do in the summer with your pup by reaching out to us on social media!

If You Love Something and You Let it Go, How Can You Guarantee it Comes Back?

If You Love Something and You Let it Go, How Can You Guarantee it Comes Back?

Albie got out yesterday.  He actually got out twice.  The first time, a visiting friend let him out the front door by accident by holding it open for too long.   The second, he ran out the back door while it was open so that a chair could be brought inside.  The doors aren’t really important.  The reasons don’t really matter.  Albie is always trying to get out.  And we are always so scared that he will.

We got him back both times.  I should add that.  The first time, he never even left the front gate.  After a few failed attempts (using a sweet, playful voice; using a stern voice; telling him to sit; telling him to lay) he laid down and let me grab his collar.  Let’s be real: these were his terms.  My friend said, “he’s the alpha”.  I said, “what can I tell you?”  What would Caesar Milan say?  Am I am bad dog owner?  Is he a bad dog?  Maybe a bit of both, but we sure do love each other.  The second time, he got out the back door, which is way more open terrain.  My husband managed to lure him through the side gate into the front by throwing his favorite toy.  Then we both rushed to shut the side gate door and Albie was back to the front gated area until he straight up jumped it.  Albie can leap a 3.5 foot picket fence in a single bound.  Superdog.  He ran through the street and eventually, as usually happens, stopped to poo, allowing my husband to grab his collar, and then acquiesced to coming back in with the promise of a treat.  Whose fault is this?  Is it his?  Is it ours?

We don’t let him out without the tie-out because he CAN jump the fence.  We are scared to run him across the park, which is literally across the street, because he doesn’t come when called consistently, nor does he sit.  We have trained him 3 times, at 3 different places.  He is not an obedience school graduate.  I certainly am not trying to compare my dog to children, or children to my dog, but as a teacher I am well aware  that some things are genuinely harder for some kids.  Hell, as a parent I know that there are some things my son cannot master that his friends can.  At his age, I would walk a mile home to let myself in after school.  I would heat up some food and watch General Hospital and do my homework.  He can’t walk anywhere alone.  Not only because I would be scared of what would happen, but because he can barely get from the bedroom to the basement without direction.  He doesn’t remember to do things until told 5 times.  He is flighty, unfocused in ways that I wasn’t.  He is an immature 11, and he turns 12 on Sunday.  But still we always blame the owner, like the parent.  When does the nature kick in over nurture?  At what point do I end and the creatures I care for begin?

My dog is bad.  There: I’ve said it.  I said it before.  It was in fact the subject of my first blog here.  My kid is good.  I’ll tell you that right now too.  He is bright, articulate, creative, and polite.  People often comment on his manners.  They say, how nice that he asks for things with a please! He always says thank you.  Other teachers in the district (I work in the high school, he attends middle school) have mentioned that even though he clearly doesn’t know them, when they say hello he always greets them in return.  He’s a nice kid.  He is a smart, un-athletic kid.  I mention that only because he and I joke about his “brudda”.  If Al were a boy, we say, he’d totally be a dumb-jock stereotype.  We laugh about how Al would love to talk about sports and he would be so popular.  Al is the dogification of Joey Russo from Blossom (Whoa!).  My boys are nothing alike, but again, they sure do love each other.  Al likes to go on hikes with me.  The kid likes to craft and hit the library.  I like doing all of those things, so I’m pretty lucky to have them both.  And I raised them both.  So are the flaws in them my fault?  I can be too overprotective with both, but they belong to me.  I am protective.  I am supposed to protect them.  That’s my job.

But how do I let either of them mature when it’s so hard to trust that they will make the right choices?  Albie can’t be trusted outside, but he knows that I think that, so what reason does he have for being trustworthy?  Maybe you think that’s too complex thinking for a dog, but I think there is some truth there.  I think that he won’t come back if off-leash and he proves me right time and again.  However, each time he gets out off-leash feels like such a treat to him.  He has freedom he can’t imagine.  If I never let my son do things, like walk to a friend’s house alone, or stay by himself, or walk around the mall and meet me at the front, he will never get more independent.  They will never learn responsibility if I never let them have any.  But how can I let them fail if I’m scared that they will get hurt?  What if Albie runs into the street and gets hit by a car?  What if he never comes back?  What if a predator talks to my child?  What if I give him his money to hold onto and he loses it?  Where is the line between good care and too much care?  How do I learn to trust my boys when they don’t always act in trustworthy ways?  How do I learn to trust myself and the choices I made up to this point so that I can believe that they are going to be fine?  I don’t really have a profound way to end this because I don’t really have the answer.  Does anyone?  Do you?

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