As you’re traveling along Highway 95 through a rolling section of central Idaho, a surprise awaits you at Cottonwood: a two story tall beagle standing guard on a grassy knoll. Affectionately known as Sweet Willy, he is actually a bed and breakfast guesthouse.

This is a one-family dog; you’ll have no next-door neighbors here as the entire dog is yours to enjoy for an overnight stay. Your well-behaved dog is also welcome to stay. Climbing up stairs to a deck, guests enter Sweet Willy’s belly to find a cozy bedroom and bathroom, with additional loft sleeping space in his muzzle. Being in this doghouse is a good thing, and the view is terrific! Sweet Willy is popular, so advance reservations are required.

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Dog Bark Park creators and proprietors Dennis and Frances can be found in their on-site artists’ studio and gift shop. Appropriately enough, Dennis and Frances, seasoned chainsaw artists, specialize in canine carvings. Not that you won’t find other carvings, such as an occasional cat, bear, fish, or toaster. “Dennis plans to retire when he’s 80, which is still six years away,” says Frances. Both artists are happy to share dog, travel and life stories, so be sure to seek them out. And, if a carving strikes your fancy, you’ll not find a better price for their artwork, as studio-direct prices can be had only at Dog Bark Park.

For those who like to geo-cache their way to a destination, there’s a site right at Dog Bark Park. See www.geocaching.com to get the coordinates & clues for finding.

Sweet Willy is surely Idaho’s most famous dog. He has appeared on numerous television shows, including HGTV, Rachael Ray, Northwest Backroads, and the Travel Channel. His picture and story have appeared in articles and books about unusual places to stay and visit in the world, including the Sunday London Times, America Unchained by Dave Gorman, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Chicago Sun Times, LA Times, Idaho Statesman, Budget Travel, Bark Magazine and National Geographic Kids. Most recently, the beagles of Dog Bark Park are appearing on billboards across the nation as part of a Toyota RAV4 promotion.

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If an overnight stay isn’t in your plans there’s still plenty to enjoy at Dog Bark Park. Where else can you take a bathroom break in a giant bright red fire hydrant? Not to overlook the needs of traveling canines, you leashed four-legged companion is also welcome to stretch her road-weary legs here.

Dog Bark Park serves as a visitor information center. Dennis and Frances enthusiastically offer suggestions for your travels in the area, and Dennis can sketch out a customized map for short cuts or off-the-beaten path locations for you to explore.

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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