The first annual dog gathering at Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest, “Dogs at Boggs”, took place on a balmy weekend earlier this month (5/4/13). Participants came on foot/paw, by bike, car, and motor trike, and from places as far as Marin County.
Co-sponsor Friends of Boggs Mountain limited the number of canine participants to a manageable thirty. However, two doggone cute latecomer additions were also warmly received.
The event was kicked off by dog handler and AKC member Leslie Puppo, who demonstrated the basic “sit-stay” exercise, and provided specifics on trail etiquette to achieve friendly and positive encounters on Boggs trails shared by hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.
For instance, taking the downhill side of the trail to allow horseback riders to pass is a practice seldom known to hikers and bikers. Because a horse is a prey animal, any moving object looming above it can trigger its flight response. You and your dog (or other surrounding people and animals) certainly don’t want to be standing in the way if that happens.
Off-leash dogs in the forest can be problematic particularly for breeds with strong prey drive, herding or protective tendencies, and who are not responsive to voice control. Puppo recommends always to keep your dog on leash, and to shorten the lead when trail users are in close proximity. As for bikers who’ve literally been hounded by canines, a gentle squirt from a water bottle can befuddle the pursuer and allow a quick escape.
Before the group took off for a short hike on the Interpretive Trail, FOBM Director, event organizer and animal lover, Karen Rhoads, demonstrated the delicate technique of discarding Fido’s waste using poop bags. Amid chuckles from the audience, she also informed them of FOBM’s recently-installed poop bag dispensers in the main parking area, near the campgrounds, and horse camp.
The brief lesson on poop disposal appeared quite effective, according to Middletown High School volunteer, Carli Fauci, who owns three dogs.
“It was so funny. The dogs all got excited when they were out on the trail, and next thing you know, everyone was fumbling in their pockets for their poop bags,” she laughs.
Keeping the trails poop-free certainly made the hike more enjoyable. The native dogwood trees were smothered in beautiful white blooms, and spring wildflowers were putting on a good show.
Following the hike and refreshments, every canine received a goodie bag and the coveted “I’m a Boggs Dog” button. Co-sponsor Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company got high marks for the generous goodie bags: all-natural dry food samples, a bag of jerky treats, two canned specialties and coupons.
Reluctant goodbyes were exchanged, and many participants asked that Friends of Boggs Mountain host the event again next year.
“It was a lovely day and wonderful to be around such well-behaved canines and their handlers,” remarked Peggy Campbell, who looks forward to the next gathering.
Her friend, Lynne Bruner added, “The pups, Frankie, Lucy, and Roscoe, had a wonderful time and slept well that afternoon.”
Many thanks go to the dedicated volunteers who donated their time and enthusiasm, and who helped make “Dogs at Boggs” a tail-wagging, tongue-lolling, howling success!
Click here to see more photos of the event.