Birch River (Photo by NCC)

Birch River (Photo by NCC)

Nature Tails

Sumi the adventure dog (Photo by Dawa Parchang)

Sumi the adventure dog (Photo by Dawa Parchang)

At the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), we believe that to inspire more Canadians to protect nature, it’s important that people connect to it. Spending time in nature is not only great for our physical health, but it can also improve our happiness and mental well-being.

We encourage people across Canada to visit our conservation sites to see first-hand the amazing natural areas that our country has to offer. But we aren’t the only ones who want you to get outdoors; your pets do too!

Pets across Canada — and their humans — are exploring the wild world around them. Known as “adventure pets,” they are truly something special. Not only are they travellers of Canada’s most wild places, but many share their adventures online to hundreds, thousands and sometimes even millions of social media followers. Adventure pets are an incredible force for nature, as they inspire people around the globe to connect with Canada’s wilderness. 

Local Calgarian adventure pet Sumi is one dog that has explored Alberta more than most. Her owners, Dawa Parchang and David Do, make it a priority to take time from their busy schedules and get out into nature at least once a week. According to Dawa, it was only when Sumi joined her family that their wilderness adventures reached a new level of significance.

“We always had an appreciation for nature, but when we got Sumi our family started to spend much more time outside,” says Dawa. “Throughout our adventures, our bond with Sumi grew stronger, but we also realized how time outdoors benefited us personally. Connecting with nature is our way of recharging and clearing stress built up from everyday life.”

Sumi’s adventures can be followed on her Instagram account @lifewithsumi, which has over 2,500 followers. She even has her own endorsements from pet gear companies that appeal to the pet and adventure community.

Dawa and David’s journey through Alberta’s iconic natural areas has inspired many to do the same and created a network of highly engaged followers — a result that they were not expecting.

Sumi the adventure dog (Photo by Dawa Parchang)

Sumi the adventure dog (Photo by Dawa Parchang)

“What we discovered after starting Sumi’s Instagram was an entire community of people who love exploring nature with their pets,” says David. “While sharing Sumi’s stories and connecting personally is a huge part, I think what many of our followers appreciate seeing is the places we travel to. This whole experience has made us realize just how lucky we are to live in Alberta and so close to the Rockies.” 

Sumi, along with pets everywhere, is a new key to unlocking the explorer within us all. Through travelling Canada’s natural spaces, not only can you share an incredible experience with your beloved companion, but like Dawa and David, you may find your own personal connection to nature in the process.

“We love to share our images of Sumi out in nature, but I think it is also important for people to get outside and witness that beauty for themselves,” says Dawa. “For us, the feeling of awe as we approach the mountains is really indescribable and still hits us every time.” 

As with any place you go, please remember to always be considerate of others, double check that pets are permitted and  pick up any waste. Not all areas are safe for your pets to visit, but many municipalities offer off-leash areas as a safe option to take your dog outside. For those looking to get farther out of town, most provincial and national parks, and some conservation sites, allow on-leash dogs to visit. 

As for Sumi, she will continue exploring Alberta with her family and hopes to see you on the trails of her next epic adventure!

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