Tails and Trails: Montgomery County’s Hiking Hope for Shelter Dogs

Nestled in the heart of Montgomery County, NC, the Uwharrie National Forest serves as a beacon for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and campers alike. But in recent times, it’s taken on a new, heartwarming role as a haven for the shelter dogs of Montgomery County Animal Services.

Dogs on the trail for DOGust!

Montgomery County, home to the majority of this beautiful forest, thrives as a scenic jewel in central NC. While it offers a diverse range of forest activities, the county faces challenges due to its sparse population and limited resources. This is particularly evident in the realm of animal care, where the local shelter continuously seeks ways to enrich the lives of its many cats and dogs awaiting adoption.

In an innovative move, the shelter, recognizing the therapeutic power of nature, introduced the “hike with a shelter dog” initiative. This initiative saw an immediate ally in the Sure Footed URE Ambassadors, staunch advocates for all things related to the Uwharrie National Forest. Starting in March 2023, this collaboration bore fruit as dogs were taken on invigorating hikes through the forest, around the county’s quaint towns, and even nearby residences.

Volunteers for Montgomery County Animal Services taking to the trail with shelter dogs.

But these weren’t just ordinary walks. Each outing became a tale of transformation. With the simple additions of collars and harnesses, these dogs rediscovered their innate nature, from sniffing out intriguing trails to running with abandon, many seemingly shedding the weight of their past. The most heartening outcome? Many of these adventurous canines found forever homes or were placed with rescue groups, thanks in part to their newfound confidence and exposure.

The success stories don’t end there. For those wishing to witness this magic firsthand, there’s an upcoming opportunity. Sponsored by the Discover Uwharrie Welcome Center, the “Dogust” Hike for the Dogs is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30th, from 10 am to 1 pm. It’s an open invitation to explore North America’s oldest mountain range, not just in human company, but accompanied by spirited canine companions.

Happiness all around!

As the Year of the Trail unfolds, it’s heartening to see it celebrated with such inclusivity, ensuring every step counts not just for us but for our four-legged friends, heralding their journey towards happiness and a better tomorrow.

To learn more about DOGust, follow this link.