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The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Atlanta, Georgia

Somehow we managed to spend a whole week in Georgia without seeing a single peach. Nonetheless we did see plenty of awesome pet friendly destinations.  Check out the places  you need to check out with our A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Atlanta edition.

dog friendly atlanta

All smiles in Atlanta

AWESOME Dog Park: Beneful WagWorld Dream Park – We visited a few different dog parks while it Atlanta, but everything from the design of the Dream Park to the community it brings together makes it hands down our favorite park in the Atlanta area.

AWESOME Restaurant: Park Grounds – Just when we thought we’d seen it all, Park Grounds changes the game by being the first combination cafe/dog-run.  Stop in for a coffee or a signature sandwich and enjoy your purchase on the patio while watching your dog play.

AWESOME Hotel: Twleve Atlantic Station – Located in the newly developed area, Twelve Atlantic Station is conveniently located near a number of restaurants, stores and a small dog run.  If you plan on staying in town a while, the hotel also has a full kitchen which is a nice bonus.

AWESOME Landmark: Centennial Park – In the heart of downtown Atlanta, Centennial Park is a perfect spot for a walk or an outdoor lunch.

AWESOME Treats: Woof Gang Bakery and CityDog – This category ended up as a tie between two delicious spots.  Woof Gang has the edge on baked treats and CityDog comes out ahead on variety.  The real winner here was Mr. Eko

Atlanta, you were awesome. America, now it’s up to you to visit these A.W.E.S.O.M.E. spots.  Eko and I are in Nashville this week, so drop us a line if you know any rockin’ pet-friendly places.

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If You Build It, They Will Come

As the last rays of summer sunlight reached across the horizon, they bathed the field in that magical hue which lives only in the fleeting moment before nightfall.  It was in that exact moment that the day took one last breath and sent a whisper rippling across the field… “If you build it, they will come.”  As the whisper faded away into nothingness, Pat McNeely knew the moment had finally come to bring his dream to life…

Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly how it happened, but as Eko and I stood at the entrance to the Beneful Wagworld Dream Dog Park in John’s Creek my imagination got the best of me.  The truth is that while Johns Creek resident Pat McNeely may not have had a Field of Dreams moment, the story of how the park came to be is just as incredible.

Beneful asked dog owners across the country, “If you had $500,000 to create the ultimate dog park, what would you do?” In addition to submitting a video that showed the creative ways they would create their dream dog park, contest entrants were asked to write a short essay explaining how the makeover of a neighborhood dog park would enhance their daily adventures with their dog.  Pat McNeely and his Siberian Husky Koda dreamed big and last summer their dream came to life.  Eko and I were fortunate enough to see the dream first hand.

dog friendly atlanta

I had two seconds to get this photo before Eko ran off to have the time of his life

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Eko’s favorite sign

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Hoops, bridges, tunnels, fire hydrants – the park had everything a dog could want

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Pat and Koda celebrate a dream come true

The park has a ton of great design features including a fire hydrant fountain and tented areas that provide shade.  The artificial turf was especially nice because it doesn’t get torn up like grass and it dries extremely quickly.  But by far the best part about the park is the community it brings together.  In just one visit I could tell how much the locals appreciated having such an incredible park right in their own backyard.  I would also venture to guess that the Beneful Wagworld Dream Dog Park has one of the highest concentration of dogs/humans smiling on planet earth.

Eko and I lived the dream in Atlanta this week, but now it’s on to Tennessee.  If you want to check out some more info about the Dream Dog Park contest, or even better, if you have a dream of your own – this is where you need to go.  Dream big!

Good People Make For A Good Day

Now despite what most people think, I am not actually a scientist.  Nevertheless, I have a hypothesis: Pet owners are good people.  Like every other rule, there will always be the exceptions, but on an overcast day in Atlanta we met a few locals who certainly proved my hypothesis correct.

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Editor’s Note: No one has ever thought Will was a scientist

Our first stop was the CityDog Market, a locally owned pet store that has both quality products and a great staff.  We only planned on dropping in for a short while, but we ended up talking with some customers and some of the staff for a while.  Eko is always a good conversation starter.

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Eko desperately wanted this doormat, but I had to remind him we live out of a car 

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After a tough day at the dog park, your pup can crack open an ice cold Pupst

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I’m willing to bet that the inventor of this toy is a multi-billionaire

Later in the afternoon we met up with a local dog-owner/blog-reader/amateur-photographer/all-around-good-dude who also happened to be named Will.  Will and his two dogs joined us on a visit to Woof Gang Bakery.  Luckily for us, owner Jeff Zerilli happened to be in the shop while we were there.  As Eko tried to sneak some treats off the side of the table, Jeff told us about how he made the leap from being an engineer to owning his own dog bakery/pet store.  We always like to hear about people pursuing their passions, so be sure to swing by Woof Gang to get some fresh treats for your pet.

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Woof Gang knows the way to your dog’s heart

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A special treat for that special dog in your life

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The Wills and the dogs. Obviously, Eko was mid-chew

CityDog and Woof Gang are just two examples of good stores that are made great by the people who work there.  If you’re in Atlanta with your pet, you should definitely make a stop at both of these stores.  My advice would be not to go to Woof Gang if you are hungry though, because those treats are really tempting on an empty stomach.

Special thanks to Will for meeting up with us and giving us a bunch of great tips about places we should check out along the way.  Eko is a great listener, but I definitely appreciate some good human company too!

Going For Gold

Atlanta was home to the 1996 Summer Olympics, and the centerpiece of the development for those games was Centennial Park.  Fifteen years later, Centennial Park remains a popular attraction for both tourists and residents.  The park was definitely the best part of our visit downtown.

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With sporadic jets of water shooting over twenty feet high, the fountain was a “play at your own risk” area.  We decided not to risk it

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This is not usually something you want to see when you’re out for a stroll, but in the context of an Olympic park it’s less unsettling.

dog friendly atlanta

Eko tried to get this guy to serve him a cold one outside of the Coke Museum, but the guy wouldn’t budge. Probably because he’s a statue.

dog friendly atlanta

This photo is the result of me trying to take a photo of Eko nosing the dolphin, then a foreign tourist offering to take the photo and then me trying to explain through hand motions what I was trying to capture.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned and you just gotta roll with it.

dog friendly atlanta

At the center of the park Eko dreamed of one day representing the USA in the “Chasing other dogs at the dog park” event.

This blog is about pet-friendly adventure destinations, but I have to recommend one Atlanta location that is not pet-friendly but is nonetheless a must see.  While Eko caught some R&R, I took a peek inside the Georgia Aquarium and was blown away by a number of the exhibits.  If you have the chance, make sure you check it out!

 

The mama whale shark is no joke

The bad weather rolled in this morning so we’re still fine tuning our plan for today.  If you have any favorite indoor spots in the area let us know.

A Park For Every Occasion

Yesterday Eko and I had ourselves a tour of Atlanta’s dog parks.  Each one was unique, so no matter what kind of park you’re looking for we’ve got you covered.

We started our day with a visit to the Atlantic Station Dog Park, a small but convenient park for locals to let their dogs off-leash.  I wouldn’t recommended the park for dogs who like to run, but it is the perfect size area for practicing off leash commands.

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One is the loneliest number

Eko needed to stretch his legs, so our next stop was Piedmont Dog Park.  As we approached the park, Eko gave me the classic, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” look, which is always a good indication that he likes what he sees.  The park offers plenty of room to run and the place always seems to have a good crowd.

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A view of the park from above (I jumped really high to take this photo).

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 A tired dog is a happy dog

Our last stop was definitely the most unique dog park we have ever visited.  Park Grounds in southeast Atlanta is a combination dog park/coffee house.  It is certainly not the most natural combination, but it totally works.

I would bet this is the only sign in the entire world that lists these items together

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Eko couldn’t believe his good fortune – three parks in one day!

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Dogs enjoy their romping while humans enjoy their coffee

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, you can grab lunch or breakfast on the back patio without ever losing sight of your dog.  Eko and I have now seen a dog bar and a dog coffee house, so I can only imagine what we’ll find next.

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Park Grounds has some great signage too

Today we’re going to explore downtown Atlanta, so if you see a confused looking man with a Ridgeback be sure to say hello.