Midland on four legs: Dog friendly activities around town

Summer is nearly here in Midland, and as the city wakes up from what has seemed like a nearly endless winter, Catalyst Midland is looking forward to warmer days by pairing up with some of our favorite companions and lovable fur friends — our pups! Here are several activities and events you can enjoy locally with your dog.

Get your race on with Great Lakes Bay Animal Society
The Great Lakes Bay Animal Society (GLBAS) Fast & Furriest 5k is a pet friendly run/walk each spring. While this year’s event took place a week ago, the spirit that it brings will surely stick around. The primary fundraiser for GLBAS, this year’s event was a smashing success.

A dog and his owner after the recent GLBAS Fast & Furriest 5k

“This year the Great Lakes Bay Animal Society 6th Annual Fast & Furriest 5K Run/Walk was a huge success,” says GLBAS President Lori Zimmerman. “It was a cool but sunny day to run and walk in the woods with family and canine companions.”

The Fast & Furriest takes place each spring.For this year’s Fast & Furriest, GLBAS hosted over 250 runners and walkers and about 200 dogs at Midland City Forest, awarding medals to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place runners for men and women in two races, one with dogs and one without. Over 40 raffle prizes from area business were given out and fun was had by all. Those interested in participating in the 2019 Fast and Furriest Races should direct their attention to the GLBAS website.

Take me out to ‘Bark in the Park’
On Monday, June 11 and again on Monday, August 6 the Great Lakes Loons will be hosting their two annual Bark in the Park events. The Loons invite all of their fans, both two-legged and four-legged alike for a night of fun, games and prizes. Each year, the Loons host approximately 150 dogs and their owners each night of the event.

Loons fans at Bark in the Park

Dogs are welcome on the concourse and in the lawn all night for these events and the first 100 dogs get a free doggy bag of goodies. There is also have a “Best in Show” pre-game competition where the players pick one lucky pup to take home our grand prize for the night.

About 150 dogs partake in Bark in the Park each summer

“Bark in the Park is a great night here at Dow Diamond,” says Tiffany Wardynski, Vice President, Baseball Operations & Gameday Experience. “Fans and players alike love seeing all the different dog breeds and the extra excitement it brings to the stadium.”

Dogs with Loons players before Bark in the Park

Close out the summer at Plymouth Pool’s “Pooches in the Pool”
One of the best ways to beat that late summer heat is by taking a dip in the nearest pool. For a day, on September 18, 2018, Plymouth Pool is extending that courtesy to our fur friends before they close for the season.

Plymouth Pool features a zero-depth entry that is perfect for any sized pooch that wants to test the waters. Owners must provide proof of current vaccination on the day of the event, and must preregister and pay through the City of Midland Pooches in the pool website.

Registered dogs are filtered into the pool every half hour, and owners over the age of eight are welcome to join them in the water. You can find registration information for the Pooches in the Pool event when it opens in July 2018.

Coffee and dog biscuits
While there are a lot of wonderful coffee shops and cafes that cater to dog owners, lovers, and enthusiasts, there are few that go as far as Coffee Chaos in Midland. Offering not only the standard dog friendly cookie or biscuit, Coffee Chaos goes a step further by featuring a dog of the week on their Instagram and oh my, look at the big ol' pup. You can find other furry customers on their Instagram.

"We typically see about 25-30 of our furry friends each day," says Ashlin Rich, Coffee Chaos barista and dog lover.

"Hello, I would like to order a cookie, please." A dog at Coffee Chaos in Midland.

"Many of the regulars enjoy bringing their dogs in for a cookie when they are grabbing a favorite beverage for the day or the dogs enjoy bringing their humans in for coffee. Either way, we are happy to treat them," says Rich.

Ashlin Rich, barista at Coffee Chaos in Midland loves her dog customers

Coffee chaos is open from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. daily.

Dog park dates
There are a few options to take your pooch for a good run or obstacle course. Midland Dog Park is the only official dog park, located at the west end of Chipawassee Park near the Trilogy Skate Park.

The park itself is four acres across and boasts wooded running areas, agility courses, and of course dog friendly water fountains to refresh any thirsty fur friends. You can learn more and have fun with you pup on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month from 6:30 pm until 8:00 p.m. when the volunteers from the SOS Animal Rescue will be presenting “Bark in the Park,” and on the same times on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month they will be presenting “Dog Days of Summer.”

These sessions will include brief educational presentations on pet owning and pet life, as well as door prizes, games, and free time to run the dogs in the park itself. The Midland Dog Park is open every day from 8:00 a.m. until dusk.

There are many local small parks you'll find around Midland as well.

Another option is Barstow Woods Park near the Circle in Midland. Barstow Woods is fenced-in on three sides and is well known among dog lovers for the wide open spaces to run and a few trails. At nearly 25 acres, the park has natural wooded area with trails that can be used year-round.

For a bit more structure than the dog park or a good option for a rainy day, locals can work up to agility work at TNT Dog Center, which also offers training and classes as well.

Grab a local brew
This would not be a feature about fun in the city without mentioning the local favorites for beer and best friends. WhichCraft Taproom features two dog-friendly patios right in Downtown Midland, and staff has been known to bring extra water for patrons’ pups when the occasion called for as well. Come for the beer and stay for the hospitality.

Dogs are always welcome at Larkin Beer Garden

Another dog-friendly place to grab a beer is Larkin Beer Garden, well known to welcome our four legged friends on a summer evening. On any given night you’ll often find a good handful of dogs taking their owner out for a beer.

A dog and its owner wait for a beer at Larkin Beer Garden

City Forest
The trails at City Forest are home to spring, summer, and fall hikers, bikers, and yes, dog walkers as well. With eight miles of walking trails split between the Grand Curve Trail and the Chippewa Trail, City Forest should be a go to for any dog walker that wants to enjoy a stroll in nature in all her beauty.

Pine Haven Recreation Area
Originally intended as a cross country ski area, Pine Haven Recreation Area is a dog walkers dream. Wooded trails that stretch over 325 acres of land offer a challenge to even the most energetic and enthusiastic of walking dogs. Walkers would be wise to pay attention: degree of difficulty signs are posted throughout the park, as some of the hiking can become quite steep and strenuous but is a great place if you and your dog want a little more of a challenge.

Stratford Woods Park
Stratford Woods is a cozy little park on the east side of Midland. Snuggled around the man made Kiwassee Lake, it features paved walking trails, a shaded pavilion and volleyball nets. The lake is available for unsupervised swimming 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. with weather permitting. Stratford Woods is a great place for you and your dog to go for a swim on a warm summer day.

With all of the options available in Midland, there are plenty of opportunities to bring your dog along for the ride too! What is your four-legged friend’s favorite Midland activity?
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