Lucky is the dog who lives in Salem, Oregon. Situated in the Willamette Valley near the Willamette River, the area is abundant with services, activities, parks, trails, events, and locations that are dog-friendly. The oppawtunities for enjoying quality time with your canine are so extensive that Salem, Oregon has been named as one of the top dog-friendly cities in the country!
The Willamette Humane Society provides extensive services that include pet adoptions, training classes, a youth program, end of life services, and neuter/spay service. Founded by three women who felt pets deserved a better option than the local dog pound, the shelter started in 1969 with limited capacity. By 2014, 1,317 dogs came to them with over 90% going to homes! Their education program includes topics like ”Fido’s Holiday Survival Guide” and “Family Manners” - training us to be better owners. The society's monthly lecture series, PETtalks, addresses issues such as laws, the human-dog bond, and dog behavior.
The organization partners with local businesses and community events. The largest event of the year is “Bowser’s Boo Bash” held around Halloween with costumes, food, fun, and entertainment. Kick off the season of giving with a shopping trip to the Thrift Store Holiday Bazaar. The WillaMutt Strut in June is a 5K run or 1K strut for kids, families, owners and dogs, culminating in a pawty with food and entertainment! Dog games include activities like “My Dog Would Eat That”. September brings “Yappy Hour” with Salem’s best food trucks and an outdoor party including food, beer, and play areas for the dogs. There is also Mutts on the Mile, another chance to join with others to walk and raise funds.
The Minto-Brown Island Park is a scenic place to play off-leash in the designated dog area. Owners love the open area, but make sure your dog will come when you signal as this park is unfenced. There are also leash trails and river access. The park connects to the Downtown Riverfront Park as well as the Wallace Marine Park. A tail-wagging adventure awaits, complete with walks with your pooch and romps with your human and canine friends!
From April through October, you can browse the booths of the Salem Farmer’s Market - pooch in tow! The market is great for fresh flowers and locally grown vegetables, fruits, homemade goods, crafts and even local dog food! Every other week, there are specially themed events, like pie fruits or how to make preserves. Pet policy requires your pup be on a leash, under control, and friendly. A beautiful, small market, the Salem Farmer's Market allows to stroll around with your dog - who will be most delighted by the sights and smells!
The Keizer Rapids Park and Dog Park is the largest, fenced, off-leash dog park in the area and lies along the Willamette River. It is a non-profit that provides shelters, benches, raised water bowls for the dogs, a drinking fountain, message kiosk, and a year-round ADA portable toilet. There are also playgrounds customized for tots and school-age children. This is easily a play place for the whole family!
Wine clubs are not just for people! Your dog is invited to become a member of the Pinot and Pups Membership Club at the Keeler Vineyards. Membership includes vineyard puppy playdates, an organic dog treat, a bandana, and the chance to become Doggie of the Month on the website. The Keeler Vineyard is a certified biodynamic vineyard located close to Salem in nearby Amity, Oregon. They host an annual Pinot and Pups Wine Auction for Leader Dogs for the Blind. Be sure to check it out. Bone Appetit!
Rogue Farms in nearby Independence, Oregon is very dog-friendly! The hopyard includes play areas for lawn games and walks through the garden to the Willamette River. They sponsor a Frogs and Dogs Festival each September, known as your “friendly, neighborhood” beer festival that includes a dog parade, best trick competition, musical “sit” chairs, a rescue team, and dance party! Sounds like a hoot!