Dayton’s backyard barks

Dog gone good times with Ella

By Jim Bucher

It’s the annual Pet Issue here in DCP and my editor extraordinaire, the heart, the glue of the paper, Amanda, gave me the green light for a column on the pet I know best, my beloved French bulldog, Ella.

(Truth in disclosure, Amanda is an awesome editor, but it never hurts to add a compliment or two because one certain columnist is a tad bit late with his article every week. By the way, this person will remain nameless to protect innocent columnists.)

So, thought it would be fun to share Ella’s favorite “bye-bye” car trips around town, and maybe you’ve done the same with your four-legged friend, or you may learn a thing or two.


Know if my veterinarian is reading this, he’ll gasp, but I swear when I pull in the drive-thru, Ella recognizes the Golden Arches. Now, with dogs supposedly color blind, the arches may well be blue, or pink, what have you. Or maybe she’s smarter than I think and can read. At any rate, Dad—that would be me—orders a large unsweetened ice tea and for Ella? A plain double ham (That’s Mickey-D lingo for double hamburger) and a small water, no ice.

The bun is tossed to the birds or other critters, and the burgers are torn up into bite-sized morsels. She gobbles them up and licks up a cold cup of H20 to wash it all down.

Occasionally, the crew will have a doggy bone treat to add for dessert. (That would be for Ella, not me.)

Bark Park

The Montgomery County Animal Resource Center’s Bark Park is a wonderful way to not only exercise your pet, but you too. It’s located at 6794 Webster St. on a closed ash landfill which was generated by the old county incinerators. Not to worry about old oil barrels, solvents, and the like.

At any rate, this place is amazing and one that Ella gives “four paws up.” It offers canine agility equipment, a huge running area, and encompasses over six acres. Remember: All dogs must have their current vaccinations, be leashed upon entering and exiting, and must be within eyesight and voice control always. And display that valid dog license at all times. Aggressive animals are not permitted, for obvious reasons, and please no dogs in heat (or their owners, for that matter—sorry couldn’t resist) are allowed. For complete information, visit 


A ton of options to choose from, but our favorite is Englewood MetroPark. Lots of room to spread out and for us the retractable leash works best. Always a good idea to keep your pet controllable in case of any squirrel sightings or other varmints. Also, bring along a baggy in case your pup poops. The MetroParks gang would appreciate it. So would walkers, hikers, and joggers. Me too, for that matter. My Nikes always seem to find the one pile. Like pinpoint accuracy.

There are a few parks where Fido is prohibited. Find a puppy playland near you by visiting 

Drury Inn & Suites

This may sound a little weird, but every so often, I need a respite from teenage daughters at home. Anyone out there feel my pain? Well, Ella and her owner head up to Miller Lane for an overnight at the Drury. I should be on their payroll for as much as I love this place. Family owned and operated, the chain is ever-expanding around the country, and the best part? Yep, they’re pet friendly! You know, long as you’re not traveling with a pack, the staff bends over backwards to accommodate. Plus, their wonderful Kickback dinner and breakfast service offers Ella sausage and hot dogs. Wait, should I have put that in print?

There’s a $25 daily cleaning fee added, but that’s it. Service dogs are free.

We have a ball! Shhh, don’t tell my kids. For more on the hotel’s pet policy, visit

Great Miami River Bank

This is by far Ella’s favorite. Living close to downtown, it’s an easy trek for us. We head down the hill by the Dayton Art Institute to the river’s edge. Ella loves the sound of the water, joggers and bicyclists whizzing by. She sits and gazes out with what looks to be a smile across her bulldog mouth.

This is where I came as a kid to think about life. Quiet, serine, with the sound of vehicles high above on I-75, wondering where everyone is going.

There you have it, all Ella-approved. And let me hear your faves. Always open to suggestions.


Buch and, of course, Ella!

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at

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