In celebration of the National Park Service turning 100 this week and ending with National Dog Day, here are 5 essentials for hiking with your dog and gear to pack for the trails. Plus a brief history between the NPS maker President Woodrow Wilson and the dogs he came to know and love.
Growing up in Virginia, the young Woodrow Wilson’s first dog was a Greyhound named Mountain Boy. He also had a special place for an Airedale Terrier named Davie. And during his presidency and service in the White House, Wilson would certainly be called a lover of all animals: He had a cat named Puffins, songbirds, chickens, multiple sheep and an ornery ram named Old Ike who apparently had a nicotine addiction.
During his last year in office, he came to acquire a dog; a trained white bull terrier named Whitestock Service Man, aka Bruce. And although not Wilson’s own dog, there was another American mascot Bull Terrier he once met: Sergeant Stubby.
Taken in as a stray, Sergeant Stubby became a decorated dog by serving directly on the battlefield and warning soldiers of attacks. He sniffed out gas and even alerted of a German enemy sneaking across the American line. When the commander-in-chief welcomed home the World War I soldiers, Sergeant Stubby, upon visiting the White House, received a presidential greeting for not only warning soldiers but boosting their morale.
“These medals are heavy… can I sitz now?”
“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.”
~ Woodrow Wilson
Although requirements can vary, The U.S. National Park Service permits dog owners to bring their pet along, so long as you follow a few basic safety measures:
- Before you even think of bringing Fido along for an adventure, make certain he or she has all their updated shots and vaccinations. This includes flea prevention and tick control. And any chips or identification tags, in case… you know, they dart after a squirrel.
- In most circumstances, the park service simply asks that your dog is under control and kept on leashes (no longer than 6-foot in length) when on trails and especially recreational areas.
- Dogs are not permitted in swimming areas. This only applies to man-made swimming pools, not riverbeds and lakes. Although, it would be wise to keep an eye peeled for snakes in their natural habitat.
- Become familiar with trails before bringing your pup along. Study the lay of the land and topography if you can, to make certain there are no hazardous conditions.
1. Ruffwear Singletrak Backpack
This Ruffwear SingleTrak Backpack has low-profile saddlebags, which allow for your dog’s agility and a wide range of motion. Foam-padded chest and belly straps for comfortable wear. Also included are two BPA-free water bottles.
2. Ruffwear Bivy Bowl
Portable and collapsible, this Ruffwear Bivy Bowl is made with a watertight fabric. Perfect for keeping your pup hydrated.
3. Dog Tracker Bundle
GPS with GLONASS, LED beacon lights and rescue mode. Battery life of 20-40 hours lets you hike for days with your companion.
4. Krebs Leash
Made of recycled canvas and climbing rope, this leash is quite durable. And it’s made by a family owned US business with a small carbon footprint. Available in both 4 and 6-foot lengths.
5. Organic Healing Pet Salve
Unlike us, dogs don’t wear shoes, so be kind to them after a long hike and rub some of this on their cracked paws and pads; they will thank you. And not to worry–made with 100% organic ingredients, this salve is completely edible should your pup start licking.
Does your pup have a favorite park to go walking? Share with us in the comments.