Like most events around town over the past 14 months, this year’s Do Dah Day looked a little different than it normally does. But it did take place – a hint of Birmingham springtime normalcy after a period of anything but – and the city’s beloved pets once again got their moment in the spotlight.
Do Dah Day is an annual event and has been since 1979 – in fact, it is Birmingham’s oldest event, starting as a music festival and morphing into a celebration of the city’s pets. To that end, Do Dah Day is also a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides funding to animal charities. This year’s Do Dah Day was held last Saturday, May 15 at Cahaba Brewing Company after the event took a year off in 2020 because of the pandemic. Normally held at Highland Park, this year the event shifted locations to Cahaba Brewing Company because the City of Birmingham is not yet issuing event permits, and Cahaba Brewing Company offered its space at no cost to the event’s organizers. (Three cheers for Cahaba Brewing Company!) The money typically spent on city permits and fees is instead going to be donated to the animal charities Do Dah Day supports this year.
Because of crowd control concerns, for the first time there was an entry fee charged and attendees were ticketed. And the Do Dah Day parade, which kickstarts the Do Dah Day celebrations annually, looked a little different as well: The parade route normally follows Highland Avenue westbound, ending at Caldwell Park. This year, the event held what it called a “reverse parade” on Third Avenue South beside Cahaba Brewing Company, where this time around the floats were stationary and the attendees walked through, rather than the other way around.
If you’re inspired by Do Dah Day to have your pups out and about with you for the sunny springtime and summer Saturdays to come, take a look at this list and make some plans for quality time with your canine companion around town.
Take Your Pup Outdoors
Birmingham is home to plenty of outdoor spaces where you and your pup can enjoy nature together. Ruffner Mountain is a favorite place to go with your dog, where you can enjoy over 11 miles of scenic hiking trails in a pet-friendly environment. Dogs must be on leashes at all times, and owners must clean up after their pets, but they are welcome hiking buddies. Moss Rock Preserve is another scenic destination for you and your dog, a 250-acre nature preserve with trees, streams, wildlife, and waterfalls. Moss Rock requires dogs to be on no more than a six-foot leash and under your control at all times.
Looking to go off-leash? Try Remy’s Dog Park at Red Mountain Park. This six-acre park doesn’t require a leash for your dog, and there are separate areas for large and small pups, as well as a section for special needs pets.
Railroad Park – nine acres of open green space right in the heart of downtown – welcomes dogs, but they must be leashed at all times. Make sure to check before you go, as many events take place there and some might not be suitable for dogs.
If you’re looking to make a day of it, visit the pet-friendly Cahaba Beach Dog Park, which offers supervised play, a canine retreat, and woods to explore. The 2.5-acre park is fenced in, but be aware that membership is required and dogs will need to be approved to play before they can enter. Membership comes with other perks, though, including boarding, daycare, grooming, and training.
Hoover Dog Park at Loch Haven Park has an off-leash fenced area for dogs and also separates dogs by size: One side of the park is for dogs up to 35 pounds, and the other side is for pups larger than 35 pounds. If you’re looking to really have some fun, let your pup take part in the park’s canine obstacle course; the Hoover Dog Park also offers a .4 mile walking track and has a covered picnic pavilion with a large recreation field.
Take Your Pup Shopping
Want to take your dog on a shopping trip? Try Alabama Outdoors, which has locations in Inverness and Trussville. The store is pet-friendly, and your dog can join you as you shop for outdoor gear including apparel, shoes, and equipment. Hollywood Feed in Mountain Brook – a natural and holistic pet specialty retail store – will allow your leashed pup to join you as you pick up his or her food or a new toy for them to enjoy. Lowe’s Home Improvement in Hoover will also allow your dog to join you on a shopping excursion for tools, appliances, lawn and garden supplies, and more, as long as he or she is leashed.
Take Your Pup in the Water
At Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, your dog can hop into the level one whitewaters of Turkey Creek. There is a slight current, so if your dog is on the smaller side, make sure to watch him or her closely in case they start getting pulled by the current.
Take Your Pup to the Movies
What’s better than enjoying a movie with your best friend? Grand River Drive-In (formerly Coyote Drive-In) in Leeds allows your pup to join you for a movie, as long as he or she is on a leash. There’s also an off-leash dog park where you can let your pup run free.
Take Your Pup to a Bar or Restaurant
You can grab a drink and toast to a fun day with your fur friend at outdoors at local spots like Avondale Brewing Company, Cahaba Brewing Company, Back Forty, and Black Market Bar. If you’re hungry, you can take your pup to eateries with outdoor seating that are pet-friendly like Bottle Tree Café, Rojo, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Slice Pizza and Brew, Chez Lulu, Moe’s BBQ, and The Filling Station.