Monday, January 27, 2014

Dog Friendly Taos

Hiking the area around the John Dunn Bridge
Sometimes it seems like everyone in Taos has a dog...or dogs. And what a terrific place for them. Hiking, swimming in rivers, lakes and streams, walks in Kit Carson Park; we even have a cross country skiing area (Enchanted Forest XC) with dog trails:

Enchanted Forest Dog Trails"Enchanted Forest presents an area especially for our four footed friends. 5k of trails, smooth groomed for easier skiing and varying from 6 to 12 feet. The dog trails meander through a large meadow and circle through the trees back to the parking area. Most dogs leave the trail to "take a break" but if your pooch makes some "brown klister" in the trail, a stick and a flick helps keep the trails clean.
The dog trails are open to both skiers and snowshoers with their pet pals, no track is set because of the wear from paws and snowshoes. Leashes are required in the parking area and dogs must be in at least voice command on the dog trails. If your dog cannot "play nice" under voice command a leash will be required.
Dog trails are provided as a service of the Enchanted Forest for guests who want to ski or snowshoe with their dogs. Please respect the posted rules for the use of the dog trail system for the continued enjoyment of all our guests.
You are not required to have a dog to use trails. The dog trails are fun for all skiers and snowshoers."

We have many dog friendly shops, hotels and galleries and you will see both locals and tourists walking their dogs. In warmer months there are numerous restaurants with very dog friendly patios . Some of my favorites include:

The Alley Cantina - On the Plaza in Taos, New Mexico

GUTIZ! - Latin-French Fusion in TaosNM

Martyrs Steakhouse

Yes, most Taos dogs have a pretty amazing life. Sadly, there are some members of our community who take the "just a dog" approach. Dogs that are mistreated, neglected, abandoned, left outside in freezing or very hot weather. Dogs that are ignored, not given attention or love. Happily Taos has numerous educational and support programs to help. My favorite is our local Humane Society called Stray Hearts.

"The Humane Society of Taos, Inc dba: Stray Hearts Animal Shelter is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission statement:  Stray Hearts Animal Shelter of Taos is wholly dedicated to interim compassionate and humane care and rehabilitation for lost and abandoned animals, upholding their rights for such, protecting animals from abuse and neglect and exploitation, and placing them into responsible and loving homes. We are committed to animal population control and public education to ensure long-term positive management of animal populations in our area."

Stray Hearts is focused primarily on finding homes for the dogs and cats in the shelter. They also focus on education regarding the humane treatment of animals, animal health, training and spaying & neutering. There are numerous fundraisers held throughout the year to ensure the financial viability of this amazing organization. In 2013 they raised $40k in a one day radio-a-thon and earned enough at the 4th annual Dog Day of Summer Concert to pay for a part time veterinarian at the shelter.  Stray Hearts receives a lot of support from volunteers who man the office, back of house, walk dogs, foster animals, work at the adopt-a-thons held every weekend during the farmers' market season and many other tasks.
Snow day in Kit Carson Park

In addition to Stray Hearts, the following non-profits are to be commended for the help they provide to animals in Taos County:

Four Corners Animal League Taos New Mexico

I am writing about Taos dogs in this post because my beloved 10 1/2 yr old golden, Mosey, seen in most of the pictures here, was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in December. I have been focusing most of my time and energy exploring ways to extend his life as long as I can while keeping his quality of life high. I recently started a new blog MoseyLove! Support & Resources For Fighting Pet Cancer in Northern New Mexico.

The website is still in its infancy but I plan to chronicle my journey with Mose's cancer sharing what I learn regarding cures, treatment, prevention, diet, holistic options and resources for Northern New Mexicans going through the same situation. My ultimate goal is to start a non-profit which raises funds for low income New Mexicans unable to afford treatment. I was shocked at the cost of surgery, radiation, chemo, anti-cancer drugs etc. I am so fortunate to have purchased insurance with a cancer rider when Mose was a puppy. I have joined a number of canine cancer support groups on Facebook and it breaks my heart every time I read about someone who has to make the choice to forgo treatment because of financial concerns. Who knows? maybe one day my nonprofit will be listed with the ones I discussed above.

1 in 3 dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime. Would you like to get involved with helping me form my organization? If so, please contact me via the MoseyLove! site. I would really appreciate your ideas and suggestions.

My best,

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