For dogs, smelling and seeing an environment outside their own is like us connecting electronically or even (gasp) in person. The canines receive much more information than we do through their sense of smell, and that stimulates their brains.
Just like we would get depressed if we stayed inside and isolated, dogs can shut down, too. It’s part of your responsibility as a dog owner to keep your pet as happy as possible. Don’t worry about hiring a dog walker, even if you just want to be a couch potato—the important thing is that your dog gets out. Dog walkers don’t judge, believe me.
Here’s a couple great places to walk dogs.

1. Otis Duck Memorial Greenway: You can make this trail super easy, easy or challenging.

Directions: It’s on the campus of Mars Hill University in (where else?) Mars Hill. Take NC Highway 213 (aka Carl Eller Road/Cascade Street) to Athletic Road, where you’ll turn right if you’re coming from US-25 N/US-70 W. Athletic Road is right by the new Jo Ellen Ammons (Athletics) Field House building. Then turn left onto Bailey Street. The parking lot for the trail is on your right, immediately after the small bridge over Gabriel’s Creek, which the trail follows. There was a small wooden bridge connecting the trail to Carl Eller Road, but it’s out of order as of November 2020.

Below are your options.
a) EASIEST: Just circle around the first field!
b) LONGER: Follow the trail straight to its end, where gorgeous shellacked benches and easy creek access await, then turn around and go back.
c) HARDEST: Go straight on the trail until School House Lane, the road where the soccer field ends. You’ll see the trail marks diverge into two. Going left means walking up the pretty steep road to Mars Hill Elementary. (Steep to a Floridian, anyway.) Follow the trail around the school through a small field and you’ll come to a residential street. Turn left onto that road, which is, (surprise!) Bailey Street! Follow it down and around until, voila, you’re back at the parking lot. Options #2 and #3 end up being about 2 miles.

2. Azalea Park—498 Azalea Road E
I only walked here once, with a dog who lived nearby, but we liked it a lot. It’s in East Asheville along the Swannanoa River. Just use your GPS because, well, it’s easier than me typing in directions. There’s a dog park along the eastern edge of the huge park, at 395 Azalea Road, with a section for little dogs and another for big dogs. It’s past a huge soccer complex that comprises four fields.
Remember to tire out your dog before entering a dog park! Dogs are calmer after they burn off some steam, so do everybody a favor and don’t use the dog park to exercise your dog.

I’ll add more spots in another blog, so keep coming back!