Guerneville, California. On our visits each year to this dog-friendly town nestled on the Russian River, Max and I indulge in simple pleasures– walks, naps, reading books, and eating well.

We take daily treks on a path alongside the river. The trees, bushes, and spindly saplings are so thick we can’t see the river along most of the path.

Whenever we reach a clearing and the sandy river’s edge comes into view, Max wades right in without hesitation. He swims toward the mallards that paddle about and feed in the middle of the river. The ducks always fly away and land downriver. But that never seems to stop him from greeting the waterfowl. He returns  to the shore dripping wet and wagging his tail like a flag.

We meandere under towering redwoods, California laurel, Pacific madrones, and Douglas fir trees along the river. The flat trail offers an easy hike. Now and then we sight a tall great blue heron standing in the shallows.  I hold Max’s leash and keep him close so he won’t try to visit the heron.

On a recent trip, Max carried his lime green stuffed alligator to the car for our drive to Guerneville .We picked the pet-friendly Cottages by the River for this weekend getaway. Max was greeted with his own welcome box that included a towel, water dish, and dog biscuits.

Max likes taking walks along the Russian River.