The dog day of the summer at Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center

Grafton Trails
Kim Stinson, Sports director, and co-host Sprocket. Photo by Bill Lockwood.

GRAFTON, Vt. – It is said that dog days, traditionally the last two weeks of July and all of August, got its name from the appearance and progress of the constellation Sirius, the Dog Star, in the night sky. The alignment of the heavens was likely no better than for the event at Grafton Trails and Outdoor center called Dog Days, which is an entirely down to earth kind of thing where it also happened to be National Dog Day.

The 20 miles of trails and the pond at the facility were open to dogs and their “people.” There were various exhibiters under a tent, some demonstrations, and there was a dog costume contest with treats, a Frisbee, a “people” membership to Grafton Trails as prizes. Kim Stinson, director of Sports at Grafton Trails and a longtime dog owner, organized this first time event. She brought her own dog, Sprocket, to help her host the event. Stinson says she came up with the idea for an event knowing how people like to exercise their dogs here. She says, “Everyone loves taking their dogs here…so many places are restrictive.”


Grafton Trails
Therapy dogs Bridgette and Lola with their “people” Ann Ackley and Meredith Dendo. Photo by Bill Lockwood.

Dogs did have to be leashed for the event for safety and out of consideration for non-dog people who were also welcome. Every dog got a treat at the check in table. John, a grown up “people,” and Henry, an adolescent who live nearby, brought their dog Darla. John said, “It’s great!”

Exhibitors included Vermont Search and Rescue K9. Alexandra Whitelock brought Scout, a German Shepard search dog. Whitelock shared her extensive knowledge of search dogs and the breeds that fit best in the role. Scout also gave a demonstration of his skills finding Whitelock’s assistant, Joslin, who went on the trails and got “a little lost.”

The Springfield Humane Society brought their puppy kissing booth with Penny and Luca, two adoptable dogs available for petting. Ann Ackley and Meredith Dendo were there from Therapy Dogs of Vermont with their dogs Bridgett and Lola respectively. Ackley said being a therapy dog is a “temperament thing.” Dogs in that role need to be relaxed and comfortable around people. Also there was Joanna Alix with her wildlife paintings and prints, Noel Hoffman Dog Training, and the Vermont Biking Association who advocate for trails for everything from ATVs to people and dogs.

Stinson said she “hopes to see this grow for next year.”

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