Double Duty Dog Walks
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge proponent of being with your dog when you are with your dog. No lengthy cell phone calls or iTunes playlists for me when my buds and I are walkin’. But I do sometimes like to make the dog walk work for me, make it pull double duty, so to speak. If you are short on time or just love multi-tasking, here are a few ways to get a little more bang out of your dog-walking buck while still spending time with your besties.
Harvesting Nature’s Bounty
July and August are the months to carry a container with you on all of your walks. Be on the lookout for blueberries and blackberries here. Grapes come later in the season and are to be found in abundance here. Most dogs are great at helping you find them, too!
If your dogs are well behaved off leash, grab a disc or two and head over to the Nantucket Disc Golf Course at the State Forest. While you try to improve your game, your dogs get a walk and romp (and many times some good socializing with other dogs).
Though Mill Hill is a shorter walk, it does offer a Parcours trail. You and your dog can both try the various exercises along the path. The State Forest by the Boy Scout Camp has a great obstacle course. Try to out-do yourselves each time you run the course.
Many of Nantucket’s dog walks end at a beach. Take advantage of that delight by carrying a towel and stripping down to your bathing suit for quick dip before heading back the way you came: here, here and here.
A Photo Op
Nantucket offers so many photo ops, you simply can’t fail to find a frame-worthy pic with just about every trip out the door. So on your way out, grab the leash and the camera. Taking photos is a great way to see familiar terrain in a new way.
Meet and Greet
Tupancy is like the corner bar—every day after work, between 4-6 PM, everyone congregates. It’s the perfect walk if you want to talk to people about dogs or if you want your dog to get in some intensive “meet other dogs” practice.
Skate Your Life Away
Tom Nevers Field has an old skating rink. We’ve gone skating there and let the dogs chase us around inside the rink. It's best when you can bring other dogs so that there is some socializing and run time for the dogs while you roller skate or blade around the rink. Be cautious of wear and tear on their foot pads.
Beach walks are the best places to find collectibles. Whether it’s the perfect conch, a silver dollar or sea glass, all of our beaches belch up treasures each day. My advice: choose ONE kind of item to look for with each walk (in other words, don’t be looking for sand dollars and the perfect piece of driftwood. If you tell your eye and brain to train in on coins, coins it will find!) My favorite treasure-hunting beach is 40th Pole.
By no means do I advocate ignoring your dog partners while walking. In fact, for many dogs, the walk is the one time during the day when they get their human’s full attention. But every once in a while, get a little more out of your walk. Take the opportunity) to fill up your berry bowl, run the obstacle course, or snap a few Instagrams. They’ll never be the wiser.
A Dog’s Life, Nantucket, explores the many dog (and other animal)-related issues on Nantucket. Stephanie Henke co-founded Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals and created and manages Nantucket Dog Walk(link is external), a website dedicated to the many glorious dog walks on Nantucket.