Finding places for you dog to roam around in urban environments can be challenging, to say the least. A friend visited me with her dog Trixie, and they found a park where dogs were free to play and romp – for free. As a North Carolinian living in one of the few urban areas in the state, it is only a short drive to find a place to set your dog free for a while. But since it is not possible for everyone to have this luxury, the realistic view is for people to find time for a vacation exclusively devoted to your dog. People need this vacation time, so why should dogs be any different? If you think your dog doesn’t worry or get stressed by everyday life, you probably have never owned a dog for years. And one factor that is often overlooked is the loneliness factor. Dogs are social creatures, and while they love their owners they also like to hang around their own kind every once in a while.
The caring people at I Heart Dogs have brought attention to the existence of a place in North Carolina called 4 Paws Kingdom. It is a place set aside exclusive for dogs and their owners. Reservations are required (as you might expect) but as you might not expect, only people 18 years and older are allowed. This makes sense in a lot of ways, but from your dog’s perspective it is a time to be away from the kids, and focus on having some “me” time. Parents do it. Children (try to) do it. Why not dogs? There are other restrictions that make the experience better for everyone. You have to stay at least two days, so plan on spending at least a weekend there. Depending on the rental you choose, you are allowed between two and four dogs. And there is a maximum of two people per rental.
For your furry canine friends, there are a total of eight areas within the park. Each area is segregated by size, and there is one set aside as a private park. Each area is fenced in, so even if your dog is a leaper there will be a challenge in trying to violate their space. You can leave the leash at home or in the car since the entire facility is no-leash required. Your dog will be kept close by as there is a fenced in area next to your living facility. You even have an option to rent a yurt, which has no bathroom so you can maybe share that space with your furry friend.
Agility courses are becoming more common in parks set aside for dogs. 4 Paws Kingdom is no different but also offers agility training. One unique feature of the park is it has a private swimming pond. Not for people. It is completely fenced in, freeing up your dog to splash about. Not all dogs prefer to be around water, so this feature isn’t for everyone. The pond is also a leash-free zone. Speaking of water, the park also offers a bathhouse for your canine companion. They provide a grooming service, so if you are used to fighting with your dig about taking a bath, this is an opportunity to let someone else try. At least you can be guaranteed that he will get a bath once a year. There are also a number of special events that take place throughout the year.
The doggie heaven is located in a seldom heard of place called Rutherfordton, North Carolina. It is a town of less than 5,000 people, so the setting is perfect for people wanting to get away from the routine urban bustle. One good thing about the Wikipedia information is that under “Attractions” 4 Paws Kingdom is not listed, so keeping things quiet will give you an advantage. The park is not open all year around, but closed from December to mid-March of every year. For those not familiar with the state, the western part of the state can get some serious snow accumulations during the winter months. There are the Blue Ridge Mountains, which add to the beauty of the area but also present a number of weather challenges. It would behoove you to take some time and visit the web site because the various areas have been named, and it is obvious some areas are preferred over others. This is particularly true if you are arriving in an RV.
4 Paws Kingdom advertises itself as a campground and dog retreat. In some ways it is not suitable for everyone – except dogs. The location of the park suggests you have to be familiar with and have a penchant for the outdoors. They do have a Hardees, Subway, and Domino’s Pizza in the town, so you don’t feel completely separated from civilization. But the park itself is intended to be an environment for your dog. We have to mention price, and the good news is that if you want to spend a week there you can keep your costs around $1,000 after arriving. That price is more than fair when you consider who you are doing it for. Plus, consider the alternatives which are few and far between. Of course, if you live in California or Oregon, you have to have plenty good reason to pack everything up and venture cross country to spend a week there. But if you are in the vicinity of the Blue Ridge Mountains it is the best choice for you and your dog to decompress.
After looking over all this information, there are few places that offer what 4 Paws Kingdom does at a reasonable price. Yes, it does take some planning but the rewards are worth the effort. If you own an RV it is actually even better. If you have more than one dog you can double the happiness factor. And isn’t that what coming to 4 Paws Kingdom is all about?