Barb Hays, Windhound Photographer, poses on a bench with her poodle, Blaze, at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.
Community Events, Helpful tips

Have a case of the wintertime blues?

If you’re anything like me, finding enough physical and mental stimulation for dogs can be a struggle, especially during the winter months.

Here’s a few ideas and adventures to keep your bestie busy and prevent you from pulling your hair out.

Visit the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

Did you know that the Garden allows dogs every Sunday throughout the year? During the month of February, there’s also a raucous time every Friday for Fido Fridays.

The Norfolk Botanical Gardens are currently undergoing some major renovations so you’ll need to hit their website to get your timed entry ticket. If you’re already a member, you and your pup can visit as many times as you wish throughout the year. If you aren’t a member, you’re missing out on one of the best experiences in Hampton Roads.


Take a class

Whether your pooch is a novice or a pro, winter is a great time to brush up on basic skills or explore some new dog sports.  There’s a number of local trainers and clubs to get your pup up off the dog bed. A few of our favorites are the Hampton Roads Obedience Training Club, Freak on a Leash, and many dog daycares offer classes as well.


Speaking of Doggy Daycare

Take a break and offer your BFF (Best Fur-Friend) some quality time with his own kind. Dog daycares can be beneficial not only for exercise, but also help your dog navigate their own social circles and canine camaraderie. There’s so many great facilities throughout Hampton Roads, pick a couple to visit and find the one that’s right for you.


Grab some grub and a drink

There’s no shortage of dog-friendly cafes, breweries and coffee shops in our area. Treat your dog to a pup cone at Doumar’s, or let him or her hang out while you enjoy a coffee and pastry at Cova Brewing Co or a beer at any number of local, dog-friendly breweries. (I’ll save the brewery list for another time, because it’s HUGE!)


Go on a shopping spree

There’s a fantastic new doggy supply store in town. Get some new toys and a bounty of tasty treats at Gansta Dog, located in East Ocean View. For special occasions, you can also pick up some homemade pup-cakes and other bakery items. Puppy cake-smash, here we come! The staff are very knowledgeable and super-friendly.


Make some memories

We only have a handful of winters with our pets and no list would be complete without my advice to get your photo session booked. Winter is a fantastic time for pet portraits. Cool weather is often more suitable for dogs, and you know you look great in a cozy sweater, plaid scarf and that new pair of boots you just bought.

Winter portrait sessions can still provide plenty of color mixed with soft earthy tones and are some of my favorite images.  Learn more about scheduling your Windhound Pet Portrait Session.

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