Friday, May 20, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series, Your Help, and a Contest

We love that there are so many things to do in Chicago with our pooches, so we thought we would highlight how to be a tourist in Chicago with big dogs. At the same time, we were considering taking a vacation with the pooches, but we weren't really sure where to go and what to do.
 Then we realized: we have met so many people through our blog who not only live in interesting places, but do amazing things with their pooches in their places.
We thought it would be fun to create a series of posts where you could give us an insider's view of your city--or a road trip with your pooches--then tell us how someone can enjoy these highlights with your dog. We would make these into a weekly travel series: How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog.
  And to make it interesting, we would make it a "contest" to benefit dog rescue. We will donate $100 to the shelter/rescue group of choice for the post with the most comments. And we would donate $50 to the post with the second-highest number of comments.
We will include complete logistics below, but here's an example of what a post we would write giving an insider's view of Traveling in Chicago with a Dog:
 Exploring Downtown:
One of the biggest draws of Chicago is the amazing architecture and we always recommend visitors go on an architectural cruise along the Chicago River and along Navy Pier. Luckily for us, they actually have the Mercury Canine Cruise which is specifically for pooches and their owners. The 90 minute tour gives all the interesting history about Chicago while you hang out with your pooch. The tour departs from South Michigan Avenue which would also give you a chance to do your own walking tour and check out famous sites like the Wrigley Building and the lions at The Art Institute.
 Unfortunately, dogs aren't allowed at Millennium Park, but you can walk through Grant Park, check out Buckingham Fountain, walk along the lakefront path to check out the Museum Campus and amazing skyline views. The sunrise from Navy Pier is also amazing, and dogs are allowed at the outdoor attractions.We don't recommend being there beyond early morning; I think the true beauty of Navy Pier is when it's empty.

Chicago Neighborhoods, Outdoor Dining, and Picnics:
We think the best part of Chicago are all the different neighborhoods which are all very distinct. Small dogs are allowed on the trains if they're in a carrier, but we've shown how you can catch a cab in the city with a pit bull, so it would be fairly easy to neighborhood hoop with your pooch. Each neighborhood has a different flavor with tons of local shops and restaurants. Never leave your dog tied up outside unattended, as it is unsafe and there have been dog thefts.
It's fun to walk through Lincoln Square and relax in the square or in Welles Park with an Apart thin-crust pizza, going to Wrigleyville to see the infamous Wrigley Field and walk along the north part of the lakefront path to see the skyline, or walking through Bucktown/Wicker Park with the many graffiti walls and picnic in Wicker Park with Big Star tacos from their take-out window.
 Chicago also has tons of outdoor dining with pooches allowed in the outdoor areas. Some restaurants have slightly different rules, they may have your pooch sit outside the gated area, so double check with the restaurant. It's always fun to get drinks outside and just people watch.

Neighborhood Festivals and Outdoor Concerts
Chicago is amazing in the summer with a neighborhood festival nearly every weekend. It's fun to be outside with other Chicagoans, in Chicago gear, listening to music and getting food from a booth. Most of the festivals are not too crowded in the daytime, but at night they might become too crowded for a dog to walk comfortably. We've found the most pit bull friendly festival to be West Fest in July. We also love taking the pooches to the Gay Pride Parade in June. Several local parks have movies in the park and Welles Park in Lincoln Square has a weekly outdoor concert series.

Exercise and Daycare
If you wanted to take some time to go inside and explore the sights on your own, you could bring your dog to doggy daycare for the day. There are several doggy day cares in the city, and you should submit paperwork, discuss policies, and make reservations in advance. We take our pooches to Unleashed which is very pit-friendly, but there are several other pit-friendly daycares in the city. We don't like to take our dogs to the Chicago dog parks, which we wrote about in detail here, but if you go early in the morning some parks aren't very busy and they could be a good way for your dog to wear off energy. There is a dog beach on the lake at Montrose, but again, we've found it could get too busy with irresponsible owners.

 So, we're really hoping that you can also submit an "insiders view" of what to do with a dog in your city, or if you have gone on an amazing roadtrip and you might have some tips.

'Contest' Logistics:
-Write a 'post' about some highlights of your city and the most interesting things to do in your city with dogs. Try to include photos you've taken showing these things, especially if your dog is included in the photo.
-If you're doing a road trip, include the route taken, interesting sites, and tips you learned about traveling with dogs.
-Email us your write-up along with 4-7 photos using the 'contact us' button on the side. Keep the write-up standard length; we might edit posts for size.
-Put "Tourist with Your Dog" in the header so it doesn't get lost in our email
-We will run the posts as a weekly series through the summer. We will try to run the posts in the order they were received, but we may change the rotation slightly to allow for geographic variation.
-I don't know how many people will submit, but we're hoping to have about 15 posts to run throughout the summer (if 15 people are interested?). We'll keep updates on our Facebook page whether we have too few or too many posts.
-At the end of the summer, or early fall, we will go back through the posts and count the number of comments on the blog and comments on the Facebook page. You can comment on both the Facebook page and the blog, but 2 comments on the blog, or Facebook page, by the same person won't count twice. We'll allow some time to elapse after the last entry to accumulate comments.
-The post with the most comments will be given a $100 donation to the shelter/animal rescue of their choice. The post with the second most comments will receive a $50 donation. We do value all the posts that will be submitted, but we thought it would be fun if there was some type of contest involved.
-Chicago people, still feel free to write posts, just include your recommendations and photos of your pooch in these locations.
I hope this covers everything. Did we leave anything out?


Unknown said...

This looks like fun! I might have to get creative with the Dynamic Duo and see what we can come up with!!

Anonymous said...

We are planning our "staycation" now! This sounds like fun!

Corbin said...

This is super cool! Mom has some fun things planned for us this weekend, so I hope that the weather holds out! A lot of the events around here, even outside ones, don't allow dogs. So, since mom doesn't want me to miss out, we're going to go this week and enjoy the park where "Tulip Fest" was held! And I get my first trip of the year to Lake George this weekend! Fun Fun Fun!

The Daily Pip said...

Sounds fun! I don't think we will be traveling until later this summer, but if you are still looking for posts we will definitely participate.

Your pal, Pip

Tucker The Crestie said...

What a fun idea. I'm not sure if we'll participate or not, but we'll definitely be interested in reading everyone else's posts.

Road Dog Tales said...

What a cool idea! We'll try to get something together, but we're really looking forward to other pups' posts 'cause we LOVE a road trip and can't wait to find more dog-friendly places and activities!

The Road Dogs

jen said...

What a wonderful idea for a contest, I can't wait to see all what everyone comes up with!

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

yay we cant wait!! can we email it to you at any time during the summer?!

Kate said...

What a great idea!

Two Pitties in the City said...

Try to email the items soon. We'll keep it 'open' to run one post each Friday in the summer. We're actually thinking of taking a big road trip with the dogs, so I guess for personal reasons, the quicker we have info the better. I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with!

Kari in Alaska said...

hmmm I have to think about which trip to post ;)


Unknown said...

Yay I have been looking forward to this all week, we are taking a road trip this weekend so the contest is perfect timing :) we will write up a post to you when we get back!

A Confessed Pit Bull Addict said...

Great idea!

brooke said...

How fun!
We've posted a few road trips, but I think there are more upcoming ones. We'll try to submit one!

houndstooth said...

This sounds like all kinds of fun! I'm going to have to think a bit about how to write this. I have some ideas for sure, though!

Two French Bulldogs said...

sure sounds fun! You look like the stature, BOL
Benny & Lily

kissa-bull said...

this is such a great idea and how very generous of you. sounds fun. lets see what we can get our mommish into now tee hee hee

pibble wiggles
the pittie pack

How Sam Sees It said...

Oh count us in! We may be the last people to send in our post though!


Kirby, CGC said...

What a fun contest! I think Kirby and I may do it!

Kirby's mom

Maggie said...

So fun! And perfect timing... We just got back from our annual "camping" trip with the dogs! Thanks for all the awesome Chicago info, too. We've been talking about a trip to Chicago for ages - we're a few-hour drive away, and John's never been - and this info will be super helpful!

Laura and Hans said...

If I can figure out how to resize my pictures, Wilbur and I are in!

parlance said...

What a great idea. I'd like to do a post sometime in the next couple of months, but I won't go in the competition, because people can't bring their dogs to Australia, unless they are willing to go through months of quarantine.

But it would be fun to write a post and people can just imagine they are here with a dog.

Trissi_V said...

This is an awesome idea. We have quite a bit of stuff to do outdoors with dogs...lots of open space. Now, if I can only get pics of the pups that don't make them look like Cujo. Heck, I took a pic of the cat the other day that made her look like Cujo...I guess it must be a setting on the camera.

Susan Campisi said...

What a fun idea! It's like the pit bull version of Flat Stanley.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Pitties in the City said...

Parlance--Even though we can't technically go there, we love seeing insider glimpses of everyone's hometown and how they spend time with their pooches specific to their area. We hope you do enter!

ForPetsSake said...

Great contest. I'm still pretty unfamiliar with Dallas, but Portland, ME is quite dog-friendly. Not sure if I have enough pics, though...I'll have to dig through some files.

Elaine Pritchard said...

I'll ask the LOTH to get her act together and try and do this.....

It sounds a great idea and the prize for charity is a really lovely idea.

Love and licks, Winnie the Greyhound

Anonymous said...

What an interesting, fun and exciting event! Sorry we missed this before :( Thanks for letting us know :D I asked Mom about it and she said we would definitely join the fun :D

Waggin at ya,

PeeS: It may take us a couple weeks due to schedules but we'll get it to you soon! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! Thanks for inviting me! My mum says: are you sure?! We are not only in Australia but her English is sometimes a little, well, weird... :) But if that is fine with you she promised me to put a post together.

Slobbers Master T.

Tami said...

OK, I'm nowhere near Chicago, but I am going to be taking a roadtrip next week, with 4 pitties in tow! :) That's right, me & the bullies will be driving down to Cape May, NJ where we'll be staying for a whole week of fun in the sun. Can't wait! I'll be sure to post pics and info about the trip - we already know that a few activities we plan on doing are dog-friendly (such as the whale watch, the guided historic walking tours, and some outdoor patio cafes). The Delaware Bay Beach is also open to canines year round, so we're really looking forward to this!!! :) How do I email you guys?

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