July 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm EST | by Justin Peligri
Furry friends
dog walkers, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

The District was recently rated the nation’s most walkable city, which should come as no surprise for D.C.’s dog walkers. Are you looking for a new place to take your pet?

Frequent dog walkers might already be familiar with the members-only dog walking program at Congressional Cemetery (1801 E St., S.E.). Dogs are encouraged to traverse the 35-acre expanse without leashes. Members of the Congressional Cemetery dog walking community also participate in springtime “yappy hours” and volunteer opportunities. For more information about the program, visit cemeterydogs.org.

Established in 2008, the Shaw Dog Park (11th between Q and R streets, N.W.) has become a favorite among local pet owners largely because of its 15,000-square foot fenced-in space which allows dogs to run freely while their owners socialize. Unlike the cemetery, use of this dog park is free and has separate areas for large and small dogs. For updates on the park, follow @ShawDogPark on Twitter or visit shawdogs.org.

The dog park at 17th and S streets is a smaller, more intimate experience for dogs. Take your pet to this astroturf-clad park, nestled between Dupont and Logan circles. Or head out of town with your dog to Shirlington Park (2601 South Arlington Mill Dr., Va.), a long and narrow park adjacent to a stream where dogs frequently go for dips.

The city offers far more than dog walks for pet owners looking to splurge on their furry friends. This summer, don’t miss out on these great, gay, pet-friendly destinations across the capital.

If you’re looking to take in the sun with your dog, the rooftop at City Market at O (P Street between 7th and 9th streets, N.W.), which boasts a dog park and grooming stations, is the place to go. While dogs are enjoying luxury treatment, pet owners can indulge at the establishment’s fully equipped gym, yoga and spin studio and spa. For more information, visit citymarketato.com.

If your dog is hungry after letting loose at the dog park, pick up some socially conscious dog food at Big Bad Woof (117 Carroll St., N.W. and 5501 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville, Md.) a lesbian-owned pet store selling D.C.’s largest selections of eco-friendly and organic pet supplies for dogs, cats, birds and small mammals.

“We wanted to provide an upscale place to get good food for your companion animals and supplements to help support their health,” says co-owner Pennye Jones-Napier. “We’re focused on providing people, no matter what their sexual orientation is, with access to good food for their animals.”

Big Bad Woof’s two locations also host pet adoption events, and on Tuesdays, 5 percent of purchases are donated to a buyer’s school or charity of their choice. Learn more at thebigbadwoof.com.

Doggy Style (1825 18th St. N.W.) offers the best of both worlds with an eco-friendly spa and a selection of pet products for dogs and cats. If you’re really looking to treat your pet, order a custom-made doggy birthday cake. Doggy Style’s biggest perk is that they deliver purchased items to your home. To see more of Doggy Style’s myriad offerings and to read about the pet groomers, visit doggiestylebakery.com.

Headed out of town to a hotel that isn’t pet friendly? Founded in 2006 by pet care expert and self-described gay entrepreneur Gus Elfving, Pet Peeps offers dog walking, pet visits and even overnight care at your home.

“We have a diverse client base that includes many in the LGBTQ community and other communities,” Elfving says, adding that his business often works to form partnerships with other gay-owned businesses. “Initially, there was probably a decided slant in this direction but we we have grown and cater to all of D.C.”

To learn more about rates and read customer testimonials, visit petpeeps.biz.

There’s a seemingly never-ending supply of places to pamper your pet in this city. But don’t miss Paws of Enchantment (3415 Perry St., Mount Rainier, Md.), which calls itself the original holistic pet spa in the D.C. area. The salon’s experts, who have been in the pet grooming industry for nearly 30 years, offer essential oil spa treatments as well as therapeutic mud baths and energetic crystal healing sessions. For more information, visit pawsofenchantment.com.

Don’t forget to take your pet with you to dog-friendly establishments across the city, including popular LGBT destination Larry’s Lounge, which welcomes dogs on its outdoor patio.

And keep in mind Kimpton’s Hotel Helix (1430 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.), which welcomes all pets for no extra fee. If you aren’t bringing your dog but are still looking for a pet-friendly hotel, this is the place for you.

“Can’t bring Rover with you? Not to worry — you can still enjoy the company of an animal friend. Through our Guppy Love program, we bring you a complimentary goldfish to keep in your room during your stay,” says Jaclyn Randolph, Kimpton’s local public relations manager.

Visit hotelhelix.com for more details about the establishment’s pet friendly accommodations.

Next time your pet is sick, make sure you take him or her to D.C. MetroVet, a gay-owned veterinarian’s office serving the D.C. metropolitan area. Pet services include annual exams and vaccinations, consultations on behavioral problems and sick exams. For more information about pricing and to schedule an appointment, visit dcmetrovet.com.

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