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It once was de rigueur in Park City to see dogs running free everywhere from Main Street to City Park. Now, while our furry friends don’t get to run amok in quite the same way as they did back in the good ol’ days, there are still places around town where dogs can have their day, from off-leash trails and dog parks to restaurant patios. 

Last year, Summit County rolled out its Outside Dining Area Dog Variance, a permit that allows food joints with nonenclosed patios to welcome four-footed guests. Permitees agree to follow rules like no food prep performed on the patio, disinfecting the deck between shift changes, and no pets on seats or laps. “It’s important to our customers, so it’s important to us,” says Silver Star Café’s Jeff Ward, who helped spearhead the county’s ODADV permit process. “We’re by the trailhead and have this nice outdoor space that attracts dog owners. It seemed like a natural extension to be dining with pets.”

It’s still the owner’s responsibility to make sure her canine buddy is patio-worthy, especially when treats are also not allowed. Give your dog a good run around before you arrive so he’s calm and, literally, pooped out. Keep the leash short to avoid noses where they don’t belong. And if you are at all unsure of your pooch’s public temperament (i.e., barking, whining, tugging) take your food to go. For a complete list of Summit County pooch-allowed patios, visit summitcountyhealth.org.

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