BEND, Ore. - Bend has been called a lot in recent years, from BikeTown USA to Beer City USA and now, DogTown USA, thanks to Dog Fancy Magazine. The editor presented the award at a ceremony Saturday morning.
Bend has been named the nation's dog-friendliest city by the magazine.
The city was selected based on the canine-friendly recreation opportunities, businesses, restaurants and off-leash areas.
Ernie Slone, editor and publisher of the magazine, presented the award at Pine Nursery Off-Leash Dog Park Saturday morning to Visit Bend President Doug La Placa and Bend Parks and Rec Community Relations Manger Jan Taylor.
A check of $5,000 was also presented to DogPAC, a group dedicated to getting more off-leash areas here.
"You think San Francisco, Seattle, a bunch of other places, but I think there is something special about Bend," said Kreg Lindberg, president of DogPAC. "Because it's not just a city dog experience.
"We also have the surrounding public lands where folks here can walk their dog in an off-leash area during the day, and then the next day, they can go out on a forest trail to go hiking or mountain biking with the dog."
The title also comes with a large donation of 1,000 meals for the Humane Society of Central Oregon.
The recognition will be in an article for the September issue of Dog Fancy magazine.
Also at Saturday's ceremony, the Bend Parks and Rec unveiled the new name of the dog park.
The Pine Nursery Off-leash Dog Park is now the Bob Wenger Memorial Dog Park.
Wenger passed away in the park earlier this year after he suffered a heart attack, while he was out walking his dog Ryder and doing a little work.
Wenger was the real force behind maintaining and volunteering in the off-leash areas.
Wenger helped maintain the poop removal, pulled weeds and set up stones to make paths.
Some even considered him the "mayor" of Pine Nursery.
"This was Bob's place," Taylor said. "He spent a lot of time here, he passed away here and his memory will be ever present. Thanks to Cheryl and a lot of people who have taken up where Bob left off to take care of this park and join the park and recreation district in building it into the kind of park that was everybody's dream."
Wenger also was a member of the organization DogPAC.
DogPAC members told us the new name is a nice reflection of the work Wenger did.