Dishman Hills: A walk in the woods to reconnect with Bella

maremma sheepdog on a hike

Six days away is too long. It was time to reconnect with Bella, and I couldn’t think of a better way than a walk in the woods at Dishman Hills.

Last Wednesday, I flew out to Ottawa, Ont., the national capital of Canada, for a family reunion and my brother’s 50th birthday party.

Good grief, we’re old.

I left my husband and Bella alone for six days, landing at Spokane airport late Monday night. While I trust him to be good to my sweet baby girl, I knew I needed to spend some quality time with her this week.

First stop: a no-camera walk at Mirabeau Point Park on Tuesday. That’s right. No camera. No sitting. No waiting. No posing.

The chance to be a dog on a walk.

She deserves that every once in a while—even though she fully understands her role as a professional dog model.

On Wednesday, we had to run out to Coeur d’Alene for a quick visit to the Prairie Home Farm (more on that later).

Yesterday, it was time for some urban hiking and dog photos.

Off to Dishman Hills

We’ve only scratched the surface.

The Schneider family has been hiking occasionally at Dishman Hills since Bella first came into our lives in 2014. In fact, that was the location of our first-ever family hike!

Look at her … just a little puppy.

maremma puppy and man

Bella at six months along with some internet shy guy who shall remain unnamed

A 60-pound, six-month-old, ball-of-defiance little puppy!

You may also remember the sunrise hike to the Rocks of Sharon for Shep’s memorial day.

Dishman Hills is 530 acres of rocky hills, aspen groves, gorgeous tall pines and some serious views of Spokane Valley. Officially, Dishman Hills Natural Area, it’s been recognized by Washington State DNR as a natural resource conservation area for its geologic history.

Its conservancy group calls Dishman Hills the “Wild Heart of Spokane.”

It is, according to the website, “a wonderful woodland” with “fabulous opportunities for near-urban hiking, trail running, environmental education and solitary contemplation in nature.”

What they’re missing from that description is:

a great place for family portraits with your dog!

The grounds at Camp Cora, the rocks, the trees, the trails, even the stairs built into the hills … they all combine for a neat spot to get a variety of images from your dog photography session.


dog on stairs at dishman hills

Early in our hike at Dishman Hills


big white dog on a rock at dishman hills



maremma sheepdog on a hike

Standing at attention


dog peeks between two trees in spokane valley


Why, yes, that is snow you’re seeing. That may be a shock for our non-Spokane guests to the blog, considering it’s only freakin’ October.

No, I’m not grumpy about it. OK, maybe a little bit. I love snow. I love winter. I have to. It’s the Canadian in me.

I’m just not ready for it yet.

Bella doesn’t mind. She’s an all-weather kind of girl.

dog enjoys early winter in spokane valley

You can’t see the happiness in her face but she loves snow

illustration of a sleeping dogSnow or no snow, we have to declare Dishman Hills a #bellaapproved location.

Saturday fun on the farm

I will be leaving Bella alone again on Saturday, but only for a few hours.

I’m joining several other vendors for a dog day at Prairie Home Farm in Coeur d’Alene. Linda Cole Swenson, one of the coolest people I know, runs a pumpkin patch and produce stand at the farm. She is also known for making the BEST FREAKIN’ PIES on the planet. She bakes all the pies and sells under the Lil’ Punkin Co.

Linda came up with the idea to have a dog day at the farm and called on me to do pup portraits at her haybale spot. Yuppity! It’s going to be a lot of fun with baked goods from The Cupcaker Baker, coffee from Black Flannel, pet seminars with Petco, and an adoptathon with the Kootenai Humane Society.

We’re there from 1 to 4 p.m., and all vendors are donating a portion of their proceeds to the Humane Society.

Bring me your dog and get a pumpkin portrait for $20.

bella on the farm in coeur d'alene

Farm girl

Arriving empty handed

I still can’t believe I showed up to my brother’s 50th birthday without a gift. I’m usually the thoughtful one when it comes to these things.

Hurr derp.

Not having my own car to just scoot away and not being near a big shopping district, I did the next best thing.

I picked up my camera and aimed my lens at the newest addition to their family. Bentley is 11 months old and a rescue from Winnipeg, Manitoba. A husky-Belgian malinois mix, he made his way to an Ottawa rescue organization and into my brother’s heart.

Bentley is an active puppy, juggling tomatoes out of the garden and bounding all over their massive lawn in Metcalfe, a rural suburb of Ottawa. He gets lots and lots of snuggles from Kevin, his wife Diane and their two daughters, my nieces, Meghan and Katie.

I think it’s OK to say Kevin was over the moon with his mini gallery.

[FinalTilesGallery id=’7′]

All around the circle

Yes, b’y.

Sorry, the Canadian is coming back out after five days with my brothers.

See? I even apologized for it.

This week’s topic for our pet photographers’ blog circle was Into the Woods. I knew Dishman Hills would be the perfect place. I feel like my blog post might be a little on the nose, though, considering I like to interpret the weekly topics quite liberally. (Well, I’m giggling.)

Now we get to see the forest for the trees with everyone else in the circle. Let’s start with Elaine Tweedy, I Got the Shot Photography, capturing the best moments for pets and their people in Northeastern PA and surrounding areas. Read her post, then click the link at the bottom to get to the next one.

Travel through the circle and when you land back here, you’re home.

Right where you belong.

2 thoughts on “Dishman Hills: A walk in the woods to reconnect with Bella”

  1. Sometimes I forget how big Bella is and then I see her in an image with something to compare for scale and it’s like…”whoa, big girl!”. Beautiful images and lucky Bella for those forest walks!

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