Pet portrait
Wesley Abney created a photographic pet portrait of his dog Chester in his formal attire. 

The furry, fluffy, scaly or otherwise friends in our lives are finally getting their due, as June 4 to June 10 mark this year’s Pet Appreciation Week. Athens wouldn’t be Athens without dogs lining the streets and filling the stadium, so here are a few ways to show your pets, dog or otherwise, how much you care.

1. A night out on the town

One way to show appreciation for your dog is a downtown date. Athens is incredibly pet friendly, and it’s common to see furry faces beneath the tables of outdoor seating. From Mama’s Boy breakfast to Terrapin Beer Company’s brewery, you can take your more sociable animals around downtown or through UGA’s campus for some fun exposure and new experiences. Plus, places like Athens’ own Pawtropolis serve to spoil and pamper pets in a venue designed just for them.

2. Sweets and treats

Whether fish for your cats or peeled peas for your fish, spicing up your pet’s diet is an easy way to make their day during Pet Appreciation Week. There are treats galore at stores like Pet Supplies Plus, as well as countless recipes online for homemade biscuits, pupcakes, and other ways to serve up pet-friendly dishes. Certain businesses offer goods specifically catered to animals, like frozen yogurt for cats and dogs at Di’lishi Frozen Yogurt Bar or puppacinos at Starbucks.

3. New toys for good boys

Even the best toys get old after a while: a new munch ball for a rabbit or cage accessory for a bird will stimulate their brains and keep them happy. The smarter the pet, the more engaging their toy can be, like puzzle treat dispenser for the keenest of canines. Athens Pet Market is one of several local stores that can provide an array of toys for dogs, cats and small animals, while more specific spots like the Aquarium Outfitters and Fish Store can serve your particular type of pet.

4. Good old fashioned attention

Unless you’re keeping a tarantula or a similarly aloof type of creature under your care, odds are that what your pet wants most in the world is time with you. This week, you can make the time to walk your dogs, cuddle your cats, handle your hamsters or whatever it is that helps you bond with the animal (or animals) in your care. Their love for you is constant, and with just a little bit of effort and time, you can reciprocate in a way that returns the companionship they give you every day.

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