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Hi, I’m Lara! I grew up in WV in a family full of animal LOVERS! I’ve had horses, birds, rabbits, lizards, rats, cats and of course DOGS. My mom was a dog trainer, breeder (but of course rescues steal my heart), and groomer for a while and I learned lots of tips about how to properly take care of dogs. I’m excited to start this adventure and get to know Louisville better (I’ve one been here since July of 2018). Hope to get to walk your fur baby soon!
Lying along the banks of the serene West Fork River, Shinnston, WV has a very long history. In fact, founder Levi Shinn’s log cabin is the oldest standing structure in North Central West Virginia!
Fortune hasn’t always favored Shinnston’s residents, though -- in 1944, the town was nearly leveled by the worst tornado in West Virginia’s history. But the citizens pulled together and pulled through, and today, Shinnston is known as small, family-friendly place, with a charming downtown chock full of small business and a strong community spirit that’s showcased during various events throughout the year.
Visit in late August and you and your pooch can take in some of the many outdoor events of the Frontier Days festival, including two parades and lots of open air concerts! Unfortunately, Shinnston doesn’t have its own veterinary practice, but you’ll find a choice of clinics to take care of your buddy in nearby Bridgeport.
There’s no designated dog park in Shinnston, but you and your pooch are still sure to sniff out something to do! A pretty, pawpular hiking trail runs right through town. Ferguson Park might be small, but it’s still a lovely little spot for a leashed walk. And if your furry friend needs to run free, don’t fret -- you’ll find some excellent off-leash adventure options in the surrounding area!
Spanning sixteen miles and connecting Shinnston to Fairmont, it’s easy to see why the West Fork River Trail is a pawpular spot with local dog owners! The converted railway line hugs close to the calm West Fork River -- you’ll probably run into some anglers along the way, as the river is well known for its fishing. The walk itself is beautiful, taking in scenery ranging from woodland to open space grassland and some interesting and colorful rock formations besides. Remember to bring your own water, as well as plenty of doggie waste bags to keep this beautiful area clean.
The fantastically named FIDO’s Backyard in Fairmont is a real mutts-visit! FIDO actually stands for Fairmont Interested Dog Owners, a community group that maintains the park, and it’s certainly clear that this dog run was designed by pooch-loving owners with their pets in mind. The four-acre park contains both a wooded area for your furry friend to sniff and explore and an open space ideal for spirited games of catch! There’s also a separate small dog area, and bags and water are provided. Be mindful of the park rules, though -- the off-leash area is off-limits to dogs under six months old, so puppies will need to play elsewhere.
Cultured canines might get a kick out of a visit to Prickett’s Fort State Park! This historical gem is located just outside Fairmont, about a thirty-minute drive from Shinnston. The focal point is a magnificent reconstruction of an original log fort built in 1776 by the Prickett family. Your pup can’t enter the fort itself, of course, but wagging tails are welcome during the outdoor portions of the tour. If you and your pooch are looking for a pretty place to stretch your legs afterward, consider walking a ways on the Marion County Trail, which runs from the park all the way into downtown Fairmont.
Since Pruntytown State Farm is just a twenty-minute drive from Shinnston, it’d be a huge faux paw not to visit! This pawesome park is actually a designated wildlife management area (used for hunting and ranch farming) but don’t let that deter you -- the trails are fantastically fur-friendly. The trails mostly pass through bucolic pastoral areas, rather than woodland, so even though the walk is both peaceful and relaxing, you might want to give it a miss on a hot day. Otherwise, the park is yours to enjoy -- as long as you wear an orange vest during hunting season! Don't forget to bring plenty of water and waste bags as well.
Your pooch will go barking mad for a treat from The Barkery in Bridgeport! This furrific locally-owned dog bakery is one of Bridgeport's best-kept secrets and serves up the best in homemade treats, from everyday healthy rewards to more occasional indulgences. Or, if you’re looking for accessories, try dropping in at Eastern Pet Supply! A local success story, Eastern Pet Supply has been operating for 26 years and promises to match any Bridgeport competitor's price. Of course, owners need to eat too, so once you’re all shopped out, consider checking out Provence Cafe, a delightful French bistro that caters to canines on the outdoor patio.
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