Seven Dogs Take a Hike

Meetup group has canine members

By Michael Turton

The vast majority of the thousands of hikers who visit the Highlands have at least one thing in common: two legs. Yet there are a significant number of four-legged adventurers who enjoy the trails, as well.

“We limit each outing to 10 dogs,” explains Anne Haugland, the organizer of the Meetup.com group Hudson Valley Active Dogs, during a Jan. 21 excursion with seven canines and their owners at Canopus Lake in Fahnestock State Park. “Dogless hikers are also welcome, as long as they don’t mind dogs!”

Members of Hudson Valley Active Dogs led their owners on a 3.3-mile hike at Fahnestock State Park. (Photo by M. Turton)

The group, created in 2015, has a membership of 234 people and their dogs. The breeds among the seven at the Jan. 21 hike were Belgian Tervuren, Beauceron and American Terrier, along with four mixed.

Four of the dogs were rescues. Owners came from Salt Point, Highland Mills, Putnam Valley, Staatsburg, Hopewell Junction, Peekskill and Newburgh for the 3.3-mile trek on the Heart of Fahnestock Trail.

“Winter hiking is a necessity when you have dogs,” says Haugland. “You have to get them out.” The group schedules a meet-up for each Sunday, with hikes ranging from 3 to 6 miles and lasting two to four hours.

Haugland said that the dogs’ love of hiking is obvious. “They get excited as soon as we take out our boots and backpacks, “she says. “The wagging tails and big grins are a dead giveaway. The fact that they are satisfied and tired at the end of a day is also a good indicator that they love getting together.”

At the conclusion of the hike, the owners socialize over lunch at a nearby restaurant.

For information, see meetup.com/hudson-valley-active-dogs. The next hike is Feb. 4 at the Black Rock Forest Preserve.

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