Atlanta is a large city, but many of us who live here would describe it as having a small-town feel. This is something I became aware of when I finally got a dog of my own! I picked up my goldendoodle, Charlie, about two years ago (how has it been that long?) I quickly realized that the dog community here in Atlanta was growing faster than anybody could have imagined, especially the “doodle” community. I met a lot of people at local dog parks who I am still close with today. I enjoyed meeting people (and dogs) who had similar interests as me.
Charlie, my squirrel-chasing, agility-loving, adventure-seeking little guy.
PLANNING THE MEETUPS
I decided to start an Instagram account to try and meet like-minded people around town. Once I began Doodles of Atlanta, I started planning gatherings at the local dog parks. As our network became larger, I enlisted the help of a few friends. Our meetups, which began with about 20-30 dogs, have evolved into huge gatherings with over three hundred pups! How is that even possible?
Although we only plan a few meetups a year, people are connecting through Instagram and planning park outings with others whom they would never have met otherwise. Our most recent gathering was at Piedmont Park, and we had such a great turn out! We had splash pools for the dogs, refreshments for the humans, and a local restaurant, Park Tavern, reserved a large area for us on their patio. Friendships were formed, litter-mates were found, and lots of fun ensued! People traveled from all over the state to come to the gathering!
There are so many dog-friendly places in Atlanta, you’ll never grow bored! 100-degree heat? No problem! There are many places you can take your dog to on a scorching day. I like to visit Whitewater Creek State Park, Lake Lanier, and the dock diving pool at Rucker Pet. On days where heat isn’t a factor (or you can get up early enough to beat the heat altogether), I often visit Piedmont Park, Brookhaven Park, Newtown Dream Dog Park, and the newly-opened Fetch Park & Ice House (dog park and bar? Sign me up!)
Charlie enjoying splashing in the water at the new Fetch Park & Ice House
STARTING YOUR OWN MEETUP
I have met so many people through this dog-ownership journey, and it makes me happy when I hear others have had similar experiences. I get even more excited when I hear that they benefit from meeting people at these gatherings.
If there is not one already, I encourage you to create your own community in your town! You can start by creating a Facebook group, Instagram account, posting flyers at local dog-friendly places…the options are endless!
Have you attended a dog meetup in your town?
300+ doodles at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA! (Photo by Shelby Steckbauer (@ShelbyRaePhotographs)
Stephanie is the proud “pawrent” of her fur baby, Charlie aka @Charliegoldthedoodle. Charlie and Stephanie enjoy adventures all around Atlanta, whether it’s by land or by water. She loves taking Charlie on special visits as he is a certified therapy dog. Charlie has inspired Stephanie to take up photography, which comes in handy as she loves documenting all their adventures to new places.