Whether you love hiking, volunteering or hitting dog-friendly events with friends, you'll find a network of passionate pet lovers in these pawsome meet-up groups!
BY HEATHER DOWDY
Pets are the perfect icebreaker. I've met some pretty awesome folks by chatting with pet parents at the dog park, volunteering in animal rescue and just walking our rescued pittie around our neighborhood. Some of these people have become lifelong friends.
If you're looking to make new friends and connect with other animal lovers, you're in luck! Middle Tennessee is home to a number of dog-friendly "meet-up" groups that offer loads of furry adventure and fun.
While you can find groups a number of ways, my favorite method is through Meetup.com, available online or as a phone app. Start by creating a free registration and member profile, then you can search for meetup groups by hobby or interest. You'll find a listing of local dog-friendly groups on Meetup here.
One of my favorite groups is called Dog Friendly Things to Do Nashville and Beyond, and it's also one of the largest. With over 1,000 members, the group organizes and attends a variety of outings throughout the year, from Yappy Hour at local breweries to festivals, events and more.
Founder and group leader Jane Brewster moved to Tennessee several years ago now and loves researching, sharing, scheduling and attending dog-friendly events with her dog, Stormy. She wanted to make friends with other dog parents, so she decided to start the meetup as a way to connect with others in the community.
Our friends at Tails of the Trail also host a meetup group for volunteers to hike and walk with shelters dogs, aiding in their socialization and exercise.
And while Nashville area groups are welcome to all Middle Tennesseans, there are even meetups specifically for certain neighborhoods, such as Franklin Dogs & Their People.
Meanwhile, breed enthusiasts can join in (or even create your own) meetup. The Nashville Wiener Romp group has over 500 members and meets once a month during the warmer months for play dates, friend making, networking, and general good-humoring. According to their page, "we usually meet at dog parks but mix it up with special events. Our big event is the Nashville Oktoberfest Dachshund Derby held annually in October."
So whatcha waitin' for? Leash up your pet pal and go have some fun with new friends! Your pup will be excited to make new friends, too.