You’ll need a DC Dog Guide to Cherry Blossoms if you are visiting the Tidal Basin to see the Yoshino trees.
Washington DC’s famed Japanese cherry trees reached peak blossom stage March 22-25, 2022–which drew the crowds and dogs.
An estimated 1 in 4 families bring their canine to see the trees and participate in the National Cherry Blossom Festival, according to this canine correspondent’s unofficial survey.
Dogs. Pooches. Canines. Everywhere. Under trees. Sleeping on grass. Barking. Chasing. Growling (bad). Climbing (worst).
In the interest of protecting our national treasure, our Golden Retriever “cub reporter” Parker and his staff traveled to the Tidal Basin three times during the peak season to observe. Here are rules for pups and their parents to remember.
Don’t climb the trees
It is illegal to climb the Japanese cherry trees … for any reason, according to the U.S. National Park Service. So getting a photo of your puppy by sitting on a limb to shoot downward will not get you out of jail times. Remember park rangers will be on the lookout.
Parker’s advice: Take a photo of the cherry blossom tree and then insert your dog into the photo with photo software.
Don’t pee on trees
Yes, cherry trees need lots of water to grow strong but they don’t need the yellow version. Although your dog might want to raise his leg and tinkle on the cherry trees, be respectful. Find a patch of grass at the Tidal Basin and let it flow.
Don’t remove a blossom
Now we know there are a few people who are thinking about breaking off a delicate white Yoshino blossom to stick on top of your dog’s bandana . . . Stop! First Lady Helen “Nellie” Taft did not go to all the trouble to negotiate with Japan during her husband’s administration to get cherry trees imported in 1912 just to see them plucked.
Don’t break off a limb, stick or twig
Although your dog might want a souvenir of his cherry blossom trek, don’t break off a limb or stick or twig from the Japanese cherry trees. Yes, dogs like to proudly carry a stick in their mouth when promenading but don’t do it. You will hurt future dogs (and humans) because it permanently kills any new blossom growing from a snapped branch or twig.
Don’t step on the tree’s roots
Everyone knows dogs like to sniff so naturally they want to get under the cherry trees to investigate. Stop. Walking around the base of the tree will compact the soil and hurt the delicate trees. Climb on concrete, not the ground around the Yoshino trees.
Do sit on a bench
Nothing is better than loafing in a dog’s world, especially if his human is available for cuddling. So instead of racing around to see every cherry blossom, why not enjoy some meditation time with your dog by staring at one Yoshino tree while resting on a bench? It is even better if your dog finds a stick waiting for him on the bench.
Do down dog
You’ll need to bring Fido extra early to the Tidal Basin, but you practice your yoga among the grove of trees at daybreak or sundown.
“You can’t keep a good dog down.”
Frequently, Parker and I see people exercising. You will need to hire a photographer to get the photo of down dog poses with your canine.
Do go for a run
A dog wants to run so consider setting your iPhone alarm for 5:30 am. You can beat the crowds and get a 3 mile run with Fido by arriving before daybreak.
Do turn around three times
When we completed walking around the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, Parker turned around three times then flopped down on the lawn. Why?
“They’ve been genetically programmed to trample their sleeping areas in the wild so that the grass is tamped down to make a comfortable resting place.”www.petplace.com
After giving him some kibble, he decided he was ready to continue our search for cherry blossoms beyond the Tidal Basin. But wait! The discovery of a stick required more rest time to chomp it. Check out my cookie monster!
Do take a photo
I adopted my puppy in June 2021 so this was Parker’s first Cherry Blossom Fest. I know as the years go by that I will become quite sentimental about all his “puppy firsts” during our first year together. So I decided to take lots of photos of Parker strolling around the Tidal Basin.
Non-Tidal Basin Venue
If you want to beat the crowds, you can take your dog to walk at 10 Non-Tidal Basin Places to See the Cherry Blossoms.
Remember the slogan for the National Cherry Blossom Festival is “Rediscover spring” . . . I would add with your dog!
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