Dog Lover's Guide to Astoria and WarrentonWith Astoria, Christina Vitazko-Merten has found a place that loves dogs as much as she does. Well, almost as much. Christina moved from the Seattle area to Astoria with her husband, Greg, in 2012. Another important member of the family was Gulliver, a gentle giant who loved attention. He was a three-year-old Leonberger, a working breed bred to represent the lion in the crest of the city of Leonberg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
A long-time lover of animals, Christina earned her degree in veterinary technology and went to work as a vet tech near Olympia, WA. Greg was an active duty member of Coast Guard stationed outside of Seattle, where he specialized in search and rescue. When he was transferred to Astoria (where he is now a civilian member of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue team), Christina and Gulliver settled into their new home.
It wasn’t long before she found work as a Wildlife Rehab Technician at the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria. One of her proudest moments recently was having the opportunity to help nurse a bald eagle from capture to release. “That was so exciting to see that... what an amazing bird.” She’s also worked with an injured porcupine, which she dryly called “kind of hard to handle.”
Christina and Greg love not only the many opportunities there are to get out with your dog in Astoria and Warrenton, but how residents embrace the canine visitors.
“When people come here to visit with their dogs, they're just amazed at how everyone welcomes them,” said Christina. “The trails welcome them, the restaurants welcome them, the hotels welcome them. It's just a very friendly dog community.“
Here are a few of Christina’s favorite places that she loves to share with friends and dogs alike:
Where to Get Out
Begin your walk along the river right under the bridge. Go as far as you like… into downtown or all the way out to Pier 39. This is their favorite place to walk around town.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
One of the few National Parks that allows (well-behaved) dogs on leash. See the recreation of Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter with their trusted Newfoundland dog, Seaman.
Tour the old military grounds or work off some energy on the beach. Don’t miss the Peter Iredale shipwreck, especially visible at low tide.
There are some great hiking trails up to and around the column, plus the view is totally selfie-worthy.
Where to Eat & Drink
Located in a former Bumble Bee Cannery building on a pier in the Columbia River. They always have bowls of fresh water for the dogs. The perfect place to bookend a stroll on the Riverwalk.
Wet Dog Café
In the heart of Astoria’s former cannery row, with wonderful outdoor seating and a menu just for the pooches.
Fort George Brewery
A great patio for hanging out with the dogs while enjoying a burger and a pint.
Where to Stay
Cannery Pier Hotel and Spa
A great place to pamper both yourself and the pooch. They’ll put a dog bed in your room and greet you with treats at check-in.
Special places for your dog
Gulley’s Butcher Shop
A traditional meat counter in the center of downtown, where you can get steaks for you and a big bone for your companion.