It may only be May, but the heat of summer is already upon us in the South. With the AC on full blast, the temptation of staying inside 24/7 is strong. However, with the kids out of school, pets that need exercise and everyday tasks that will require us to leave the house eventually, staying inside until summer ends is not an option. Luckily, the CSRA has a long list of pet friendly, summer activities that will help you beat the heat.
Downtown Aiken is lined with amazing restaurants with outdoor-seating for you and your pup. BringFido.com has a great list of 29 dog-friendly restaurants in the area, including reviews and photos from pet-owners and descriptions of each restaurant. After you eat, be sure to stop by Bone-i-fide Bakery and Downtown Dog to get your dog their very own goodies.
On the Southside, visit Pelican’s SnoBalls for a cold, sweet treat, but be sure to get a ‘pup cup’ for your pooch.
Beautiful Aiken has incredible parks and outdoor areas to enjoy our summer days with our pets. Your dogs will have a blast exploring the 2,100 acres of Hitchcock Woods, but be sure to check their ‘Dog Walking Rules’ before jumping in the car: HitchcockWoods.org. H. Odell Weeks, Citizens Park and the brand new Generations Park are also great spots to take your pup on a walk.
Nearby, the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare has a 2-acre dog park, complete with a separate small dog park, dog and human water fountains, a pavilion and splash pool. The SPCA Dog Park, located at 199 Willow Run Rd., is open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week and welcomes all altered and vaccinated pups. Yearly memberships are required as a contribution for park maintenance, and can be purchased at the SPCA Albrecht Center (199 Willow Run Rd).
Want to avoid the sun and high temps? There are many pet-friendly stores you can visit: Pick out flowers at Home Depot or Lowe's; Browse equipment for your next summer camping trip at Academy Sports + Outdoors; Do some summer clothes shopping at Ross; Or, spoil your pooch with a trip to Petco, PetSmart or one of our locally-owned pet stores. Visit BarkPost.com for a list of surprisingly dog-friendly stores [Be sure to always call your location’s store to get the green light before taking your pup].
Another great way to enjoy some indoor fun is to visit the SPCA Albrecht Center and our adoptable pets. Visit our cats in our Kitty Kat Castle or our sweet dogs in Dog Adoption. For the safety of our animals and yours, we ask you leave your pets at home or bring a friend to hold your pet in the lobby. Looking for a new companion to enjoy summer with? Our staff is thrilled to match you with your new fur-ever pet.
Events in the Alley are a great way to enjoy the company of other Aikenites and spend quality time with your pooch. The Farmer’s Market in the Alley in June and Amp the Alley every Thursday, are two popular events in the heart of Aiken that are dog-friendly! For all events in Aiken, visit VisitAikenSC.com.
The SPCA Albrecht Center happily invites you and your pups to our summertime events. On June 5th, July 10th, August 7th and September 4th from 6 to 8 p.m. at 199 Willow Run Road, join us for our seasonal Yappy Hours! Yappy Hours are our favorite way to bring together board members, staff and fellow animal-lovers, while enjoying a cookout, drinks and local music. The SPCA Dog Park is open FREE to the public and our shelter is open after-hours for you to meet our adoptable pets. Feeling lucky? Enter our Lucky Dog Raffle for a chance to win our fun raffle prizes.
This event is made possible by our wonderful event sponsors: Family Pharmacy, Cummings Insurance of South Carolina, McDonald’s and Aiken Saddlery.
After all of this summertime fun, let us help get your pup squeaky clean at one of our premium ‘Pups ‘n Suds’ dog washes on Saturday, May 18th and Saturday, June 15th from 9 am to 12 pm at 199 Willow Run Road. Our volunteers and staff will happily rinse, lather and repeat your pup clean with a bath, nail trim and ear cleaning. This year, we are offering doggie cologne, bandanas and hypoallergenic shampoos to ensure our supporters’ dogs are feeling good and smelling great.
All guests will get a photo with their pooch and, to beat the heat, indoor seating will be available with light refreshments for you and your pet. Dog wash pricing can be found online at LetLoveLive.org/dogwash.
Claire Grimes is the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Development Director. She is an Aiken native, but spent some college years in Charleston, interning with Charleston Animal Society. She is excited to be working in animal welfare in her hometown and is proud of the community efforts to better the lives of Aiken’s animals. Her family includes her husband, Logan, a SPCA adopted black lab, Ozzy, a SPCA adopted Siamese mix, Luna, and Claire’s first love, Anakin, a 17-pound rescued Maine Coon mix.