7 Tips for a Home Run "Pups in the Park" Experience
D.C. is one of the dog-friendliest cities on the east coast, and with that comes plenty of opportunities to take your best dog friend to some really incredible places. On June 13, We the Dogs DC, BARK, and the Humane Rescue Alliance are teaming up to host a Washington Nationals Pups in the Park game. There will be special drawings and giveaways at the game that you and your pup will not want to miss, so make sure to get your tickets here: Pups in the Park tickets. If you can’t make the June 13 game, don’t worry, the Washington Nationals will be hosting others throughout the summer as well! All proceeds from the dog ticket sales will be donated to the Humane Rescue Alliance.
Once you have your tickets, it’s time to get excited for your day at the ball park! Whether it's your first time taking your dog to "Pups in the Park" or you're a game day veteran, here are some quick tips on how to knock game day out of the park.
1. Prep your paperwork: First and foremost, you'll need a copy of your dogs' vaccination records, including Rabies, Bordatella, DHLP, and Parvovirus. Get this paperwork a few days in advance, since some vet offices are closed or take some time to get you the information you need. There's also a waiver that must be signed. It can be filled out in advance or on site at the game.
2. Pack the essentials: Beginning in 2019, backpacks are no longer permitted in Nationals Park, so you'll have to plan ahead in order to ensure that you have what you need to keep your dog comfortable during the game. A travel or collapsible water bowl is always a good idea, especially on hot days. If the game falls around mealtime, you could always pack your dog’s lunch or dinner; just be mindful of dogs around you who may have food aggression issues. A standard leash is always preferred over a retractable one, given the number of people and dogs that attend Pups in the Park.
3. Plan to arrive early: The line to get into Pups in the Park is typically long, especially 30 minutes before the game starts. Please note Pups in the Park guests can only enter through the right field gate (1st and N Pl SE). There will be a tent at the gate to check vaccination records, so be sure to get your records checked before getting in line! On June 13, We the Dogs DC will be on site at the entrance gate with Bark and Barkley and Wagz, and will be giving out special toys and treats to celebrate the game, so make sure that you arrive in time to get your pup’s goodies!
4. Potty breaks: In the Pups in the Park concession area, there will be some turf laid down for dogs to relieve themselves during the game. Some dogs may not want to use the turf, so be sure to take a quick walk outside before entering the park for the first time as there is no re-entry!
5. Pace yourself: Some dogs love the Pups in the Park experience, others may find it a little overwhelming. If you notice that your dog is getting too stressed or overheated, leaving a little early is always an option. Pace your dog’s treats, too. Most dogs will be so excited that you may find you need more treats to keep your dog’s attention. Be careful to not let your dog overeat or you may wind up with an upset stomach later that evening!
6. Get your game day swag: Want to make sure you and your pup look your best at the game? We the Dogs DC has a collection of Nationals-inspired bandanas, created by our friends at Barkley and Wagz. There are also some custom shirts for both pups and their owners. You can get yours here! Proceeds benefit the Humane Rescue Alliance.
7. Post a photo: If you go to Pups and the Park and didn't take a photo...did it even happen? Just kidding, of course, it did! But it’s always fun to snap a photo with your pup at the ball park, and we want to make sure we see them all! Post your photos on Instagram and Facebook using #NatsBestBuds, #PupsinthePark, and of course #WeTheDogsDC! If you have a rescue dog, be sure to tag the shelter that you adopted your best friend from -- they'll be excited to see your dog living their best life!
Are you headed to an upcoming Pups in the Park at Nationals Park? Comment below if you have any other tips for first-time attendees!
About the Author: Jillian (@jillmolina) grew up outside of Buffalo, New York and has lived in the D.C. area for almost ten years. Her lifelong dream came true when she adopted her dog, Seneca (@senegrams) in May 2017, a low-rider black lab mix with some serious side-eye game. Noticing how group walks with other dogs boosted Seneca's confidence, Jillian helped form the Meridian Hill Dog Pack, a weekly walking grouping with a focus on positive socialization for dogs and humans, training leash skills, and enjoying the dog-friendly community. You'll find Jillian and Seneca at almost any happy hour where proceeds benefit local rescues.