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North Hills Monthly

Summer Fun with Man’s Best Friend

May 31, 2018 08:21PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

Ethan Krizmanich and Buddy Kayaking North Park

By Kathleen Ganster

It is said that “Dog is man’s best friend,” and many dog owners feel that way—their furry friends are members of the family. But unlike human families, dogs can’t go everywhere; so where are dogs welcome?

Lou Krizmanich likes to take long hikes by his home in Pine with Buddy, his 18-month-old lab. 

“We are lucky enough to live right by the Harmony Trail, so we take advantage of that,” said Krizmanich, who walks Buddy every day on the trail. “It’s great exercise for both of us.” 

Krizmanich’s family, including wife, Ginny, and their three children, often take Buddy to nearby restaurants as well. “The use of outdoor seating means that the kids and I are able to hike to multiple places along Route 19 and enjoy lunch and shopping,” he said. 

While most parks in the area are dog-friendly, dogs are required to be on leashes. Several parks also have off-leash dog areas, and Krizmanich likes to take advantage of the one in North Park. “We go there quite frequently to socialize Buddy; although there are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood that we see on walks, that is not the ideal situation for socialization,” he explained. 

Talia Briggs of Mars likes to take her 5-year-old Schnoodle, Sophie, when she eats out. “Sophie likes to take a ride into the big city to Square Cafe in Regent Square,” said Briggs. “It’s easy to call ahead to different places to find out if your dog is welcome, but now there is also an app for that. 

“With BringFido, you can search the city and it will pull up hotels, restaurants, events, etc. that are dog-friendly,” she added. “It’s like Yelp for dogs and even rates places by bones.”

Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale is one place that welcomes dogs. “Our patio is dog-friendly. We provide a water bowl for each pup when they arrive. And this year we are also going to partner with local shelters to raise money for the pups,” said Rachael Waffling, who runs promotions for the restaurant.

 The Double Wide Grille’s Southside and Irwin locations offer “Dog Patios” plus Lucky Dog Festivals at all three locations. The festival will be on June 3 at the Cranberry location. “All of us are dog people, and a lot of our customers are dog people,” said Director of Events Ryan Moore, adding that the festivals feature vendors, dog rescue and service organizations, family-friendly activities and “ridiculous contests.” 

Other restaurants that welcome dogs to their outside eating areas include the Sewickley Hotel, Grist House Brewery, Sunny Jim’s Tavern, Shu Brew Restaurant and the Taproom, Redfin Blues, and Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36. Outside areas may have limited seating.  

Area hotels that welcome dogs include the Ace Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Omni William Penn, Sheraton Hotel Station Square, Fairmont Pittsburgh and Hotel Monaco, to name a few.

Cranberry Township Parks and Recreation sponsors a Dog Swim at the end of every summer. 

“This event is held for our canine friends who normally are only able to go to our Rotary Dog Park. This is something different for owners to bring their dogs to each year,” said Recreation Program Coordinator Valerie Murphy. More than 100 dogs and their owners attend each year. 

Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans can bring dogs to “Pup Nights” at PNC Park. Every Tuesday night home game, guests and their dogs are invited to the Miller Lite Rooftop to cheer on the Pirates. “The Pirates found that some of their fans were also dog lovers, and what better way to enjoy your favorite pastime than with your favorite pet,” said Marla Benzenhafer, Group Sales. 

Discounted tickets, special amenities just for dogs, raffles and featured treats are some of the incentives offered by the Bucs. “Our goal is to have fans enjoy a game at the best ballpark in America with their best friend—their dog,” Benzenhafer said. 

Sewickley Borough prides itself on their dog-friendly atmosphere. Mayor Brian Jeffe takes his two large dogs, Sophie and Otis, for a walk down Main Street twice a day.

“They think they are local celebrities,” he laughed. The dogs serve as a great ice breaker for residents to talk with Jeffe about the village and issues that arise. 

Jeffe credits Explore Sewickley, the nonprofit that promotes activities for Sewickley, with the dog- friendly environment. The group created Unleashed Sewickley, an event to help raise funds for animal nonprofits. As part of that event, Clay Café, a local business, sponsored dog watering bowls that businesses could bid on. Many of those bowls line the street, welcoming area dogs. 

“This is a walking town, and this helps us promote that we are dog friendly,” Jeffe said.

Local Dog Parks Provide Safe Place for Dogs to Play

Pittsburgh has several dog parks for those who would like to allow their dogs to run unrestricted and enjoy the company of other dogs. 

The following off-leash parks are free:

The Allegheny County Park System has three off-leash dog parks including Hartwood Acres in Hampton Township; North Park, with the dog park located at the corner of Pearce Mill and Walter Roads; and South Park, with the off-leash area located off Maple Springs Drive. Please note that there are several rules for off-leash parks including that dogs must be licensed and vaccinated with tags visible at all times; dogs much be leashed at the main parks and when entering and leaving the off-leash areas; owners must accompany, stay and be in verbal control of their dogs at all times; and no aggressive dogs are allowed. For more information, visit

The City of Pittsburgh has several parks with Off-Leash Exercise Areas (OLEAS) including Allegheny Commons Park; Bernard Dog Run in Lawrenceville; Downtown; Frick Park; Olympia Park; Riverfront Park; and Riverview Park. A nice advantage at the Bernard Dog Run, which is accessed from the riverfront trail under the 40th Street Bridge, is that there are separate large and small dog spaces which is great for puppies or smaller dogs who may be afraid of larger breeds. Located on the Northside, Riverview Park’s OLEAS is located near the observatory in the park. Like the county parks, the city OLEAS have several rules including that dogs must be spayed or neutered; a maximum of three dogs per owner; and no children under the age of 8 are allowed. For more information, visit

Bellevue Dog Woods is in Bellevue Memorial Park in Ross Township. A nonprofit helps to manage the area that is dedicated to allowing dog owners and their pets to enjoy nature together. Bellevue Dog Woods also has separate large and small dog areas and boasts of “Small Dog Sunday Socials” on their website. For the park rules and more information, visit

The four-acre Cranberry Rotary Dog Park is located at the Cranberry Township Community Park off Rt. 19 in Cranberry Township. The park features recently updated solid-floor, double-door entrances with a handicapped accessible fountain for both humans and canines. The park has separate large and small dog areas. Visitors are asked to review the posted rules prior to entry. Cranberry Area Canine Partners, which is sponsored by the township, provides improvements and upkeep of the dog park. The group also sponsors various dog training classes and events. For more information on the park, visit Information on Cranberry Area Canine Partners is available at

For a small fee, dogs can also have a great time playing with friends at Lucky Paws Resort, an indoor/outdoor park in Freedom. The outdoor dog park includes a seasonal 3,000 sq. ft. swimming pool, and the 3,500 sq. ft. indoor portion of the park includes an indoor waterfall. For more information and fees, visit or check out this month’s cover story.

Every park has its own set of rules and regulations, but it is expected that every dog (and his/her owner) is non-aggressive. For some dog park etiquette tips, visit  n