It’s a common observation made by countless first-time visitors: A smiling Chicagoan will lean over his colorful flight of craft beer, glance down at the sleeping darling at your feet and state, “What a place to be a dog.” And he’s right. But much like Aspen’s breathtaking views, we locals—especially the dog-owning and-loving ones—sometimes take it for granted. I’m fairly certain our furry halves do not suffer that sort of idiocy. On the contrary, they are the most present beings to have ever graced God’s green earth. Luckily, a quick stroll around the downtown core to Wagner Park with my favorite fur-child (yes, I have a cat, too, but that’s another column for another day) or a last-minute power hike up Smuggler quickly cures me of my lapse.
Looking down on our little town from the observation deck, I can’t help but think about how this is quite a place to be alive—and made even sweeter with a loyal companion at your side.
Me and my pooch? We’re a pair with more adventurous predilections. We bike, run, hike, skin, skijor (sort of) and occasionally enjoy the refreshing waters of the Roaring Fork together. For our type of fun, few homebases can compare to the Aspen area. With 14 dog-friendly hiking and biking trails, two Nordic trails, early morning and after-hours uphilling opportunities at Buttermilk and Snowmass, summer gondola rides, the list of human-doggo adventures is enough to make you want to pee on the nearest aspen tree.
It’s also an unbeatable community for companions who like to make public appearances. Sticking together as much as possible is a prerequisite when one half of the pair has separation anxiety, like in our case. I won’t let the cat out of the bag on who (yet). Conveniently, just about every one of Aspen’s more than 100 retail shops, banks and art galleries welcomes dogs (and many with treats). Whether you’re cashing your paychecks for hundreds of dollars or on the hunt for matching hoods with the fur, strolling the streets and shops of Aspen with your BFF is a treasured pastime. Not to mention, our pet shops, of which our little town boasts two: Mountain Pet and CB Paws, as well as the high-end, pop-up boutique, Max Bone.
Aspen is for the dogs (except if you’re trying to live together in housing—both “affordable” and not—but that’s also another column for another day).
On a bi-monthly basis, this little piece of printed real estate will be a devotional to the Aspen Ruff Life. The content will be curated by me, Leah Fielding, a nine-year local, writer and marketing professional. Topics will be in part inspired by my mostly black floof boy, Bromley, who has also lived in Aspen for all of his nine years, as well as other local pups, their owners and whatever else is happening in the news, in my head or at the dog park.
Leah Fielding is now officially the Aspen Dog Mom. She and Bromley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @thegreatbromdini (respectively).