It’s 6:15 a.m. on a recent Friday. The quiet morning darkness is punctuated by the clang of kibble dropping into a metal dog bowl. Bromley’s dog bowl. As he slowly munches away, I sip my coffee and take a deep breath as my day begins. A doozy awaits: Two hours of remote computer work, 30 minutes of skate skiing on the Aspen Golf Course to get him some mediocre exercise, an unusually fast eight-minute shower, 25 minutes spent driving to the office with Bromley in tow, another three-plus-hours of in-office computer time, 45 minutes at Cripple Creek dealing with a broken ski-touring binding, 10 minutes at Bristlecone spent quickly deliberating over a new headlamp and two Patagonia sports bras, another hour in the car to Glenwood and back to drop off Bromley with my parents for the weekend. By 2 p.m., I am miraculously ready for a hut trip.
This bustling parade of to-dos is not an uncommon day in the life of a local dog mom or dad striving for work-life balance that maximizes living in this beautiful valley. Even if it is an “Aspen problem,” and one that I am grateful to have, it’s a problem nonetheless. Over the past decade in Aspen, I’ve observed that this debacle seems to transpire most keenly when winter gives way to spring. The days are warmer, and as of Sunday, the after-work sunlight is extended. The increased illumination and the melting of snow and ice to reveal dirt trails and pavement always begs the question: How many activities can I squeeze into today?
We’re entering the season of the multi-sport day. Perhaps, ski touring in the morning followed by a road ride in the afternoon? Heck yeah. A bit of mountain biking up Red Hill, followed by yoga at Aspen Shakti or a dog-friendly hike up Smuggler. Sure! Alpine skiing on Aspen Mountain with an après-ski consisting of a skin up Tiehack. Definitely, yes!
Some of these activities can be enjoyed con doggo, but many cannot, including the aforementioned hut trip (for reasons I agree with). However, you have to wonder if the frenetic spring activity-hopping makes it the least favorite time of year for the Aspen dog. I wish we could ask them.
Luckily, there is a host of boarding, overnight dog-sitting and dog-walking options spanning the valley that ensure everyone in your furry little family can make it through spring happy and healthy. Aspen Animal Shelter, located by the airport, and the Barn Yard in Carbondale provide boarding and doggie daycare services. Red Hill Animal Health Center in Carbondale also provides overnight boarding. On average, these services range from $36 to $60 per day/night depending on your and your pooch’s needs. If you’re just looking for a quick dog walk while you bounce from one activity to the next, there is a host of providers listed on Care.com. Longtime local providers Aspen Pet Pals also offer walks and hikes, pet-sitting in a home environment and special care for senior dogs.
Now you just have to find that fourth job to pay for it all. Oh, the Aspen Ruff Life.
Leah Fielding is, officially, the Aspen Dog Mom. She and Bromley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @thegreatbromdini (respectively).