By Jeff Louderback
This is the story of a man and his dog, the adventures they have embarked upon and the blessing of living in dog friendly Centerville-Washington Township.
The tale began when I lived in Clearwater, Florida, in 2011. I adopted a 10-month-old mutt named Tiger from a rescue organization called Dunedin Doggie Rescue (DDR).
I renamed him Boston, in honor of the city; and since that first day, we have been inseparable. I have long worked from a home office, and in Clearwater we lived a few blocks away from a dog park that is more like a spacious nature reserve. Boston accompanied me on month-long writing assignments at a beach cottage in Florida and a remote cabin in the north Georgia mountains, among other adventures.
I missed my beloved southwest Ohio; so when I decided to move back in April 2015, I sold everything I had, except for what I could fit in my car, made Boston a bed on the passenger seat and drove straight through to start a new chapter. We’ve called Washington Township home since 2016.
Only the location on the map has changed for Boston and me. Centerville-Washington Township is an ideal place to live for dogs and their parents.
We take evening walks through downtown Centerville, regularly visit parks and nature reserves in the community, and visit dog friendly establishments. Mack’s Tavern is a destination that Boston appreciates. Washington Township residents are just as familiar with Haze, owner MacKenzie Manley’s charismatic pit bull, as they are with her and her staff. It’s a place where dogs are welcome.
ZebraGirl Boutique is a popular shop for women’s fashions and accessories. People from across the Dayton area flock to the uptown Centerville destination, owned by Natasha Scherief, an avid dog enthusiast. She has treats on hand for doggie guests; and her boutique even has quirky dog themed hand towels, coffee mugs and other items. Boston has a tag on his collar from ZebraGirl that says “Rescued With Love.” ZebraGirl is a place that women frequent and men visit to buy gifts for their significant others.
Grant Park is our favorite hiking destination, no matter the season. If you go there near dusk, chances are you will see frolicking deer. Boston likes the less traveled trails that lead to Hole’s Creek and exploring deep into the woods from the McEwen Road entrance. Oak Creek South Park is an ideal dog walking spot in the winter, because it has a paved 0.4-mile perimeter path; it features wetlands and even a little known trail that winds off the paved trail into a small forest. Countryside Park, behind the Washington Township Recreation Center, is another one of our go-to spots.
Boston will celebrate his 10th birthday on January 1. He is every bit the active dog he was at 10 months old.
In our community, SICSA (www.sicsa.org) is one place to adopt a loving, loyal canine friend. The organization opened its spacious Washington Township location last January. Paw Patrol Dayton (www.pawpatroldayton.com) is another nonprofit in south Dayton with dogs available for adoption.
If you choose to make the 10- to 15-year commitment of being the simultaneous rescuer and rescuee of a dog friend, perhaps Boston and I will see you out somewhere in Centerville-Washington Township. There is no doubt that we live in a dog friendly community, and for that we are grateful.