Cliffs Living: Who’s A Good Dog?

Members’ best friends love swimming, hiking, golfing, and socializing — just like their people.

As coffee brews and morning alarms sound across The Cliffs at Mountain Park, a couple dozen tails are wagging at the corner of Tree Haven Trail and High Ridge Parkway. Bentley, the Great Dane, is prancing, ready to go, alongside Penny, the Shih Tzu. Mixedbreeds, Maggie and Tucker, are greeting Rocky, a Cavalier/Cocker Spaniel, with sniffs and snorts. the cliffs at mountain park dog lovers meetup

It’s the daily meetup of Mountain Park’s unofficial club for consistently early risers — and the members who walk them.

“We walk 2 miles a day, every single day, unless it’s raining,” says Chuck Ferguson, a longtime resident at The Cliffs at Mountain Park. “About 10 families walk with our group every morning. Dogs just have a way of bringing people together.”

Over at The Cliffs Valley, dogs — and the people they own — likewise meetup twice a day to play in the community’s dog park. Other members take advantage of The Valley’s parkland and pathways — Panther Gap Sky Climb, Terry Creek Loop, 12 Bridges Trail, Stone Creek Falls, and Mountain Summit Connector — to log their daily steps.

“Buddy and I love to explore all the nooks and crannies,” says Bonnie Lipomi, who walks some 45 miles per week with her beloved rescue on a combination of streets and trail. Buddy enjoys trotting throughout the Valley, with frequent stops for ear-scratches from neighbors. “We aim for 12,000-18,000 steps a day — and in the summer, when the sun rises really early, we get even more.”

All properties at The Cliffs host activities that have, well, gone to the dogs. These furry, four-legged creatures are embraced as members of the family — and that makes them members of The Cliffs’ family, too. Off-the-chart, on-leash events run from Yappy Hours and Critters & Fritters at Walnut Cove to Grillin’ with the Pooch at Glassy. And the one time it’s OK to smell like a wet dog is at Valley’s Dog Days of Summer, when Fido and friends make a splash in the pool the day after it officially closes for the season. On any given day, the Valley’s chef — an avowed pet-lover — roasts pig ears for the pooches, who’ve trained their people to pick them up at the clubhouse desk. the cliffs lake region dog lovers

Indeed, pups at The Cliffs love swimming, hiking, golfing, and socializing — just like their people. And while these best friends are living a doggone good life, members are committed to helping homeless animals, too. Chuck Ferguson and his wife Karen, for example, are committed volunteers with the nonprofit Day Before the Rainbow Rescue and they’ve fostered some 300 dogs in their Mountain Park home over the years.

The Mountain Park Dog Walkers and other pet-loving neighbors gather on the regular at the Fergusons’ house for Cuddles & Cocktails.

“Friends come and sip wine, and hold the puppies to help socialize them,” Karen says, noting that some of their foster dogs, and some puppies born in their library, have found forever homes with other members and staff at The Cliffs — including Chef Francis’s Izzy. “They’re generous with donations of food, toys, and monetary contributions, too.”

Bill and Judi Carter-Coker — who share their home at The Cliffs Valley with Miss Maggie Bella — were recently honored by the Greenville Humane Society for advocacy and fundraising efforts. The couple has hosted the Greenville Humane Society Golf Tournament & Awards Dinner every November since 2009 to benefit the no-kill shelter, raising more than $68,000 thus far.

“We have two flights, the Meows and Bowwows, to accommodate all handicaps,” Carter-Coker says, noting the 12th annual 2020 benefit tournament is scheduled for Sunday, November 1, at the Valley Golf Course. “So many couples come out. I’ve never lived anywhere else where I’ve seen such affection for our four-legged babies.”

A bridge at the Greenville Humane Society bears a plaque that reads: “This bridge honors The Cliffs Valley community, led by Judi and Bill Coker, for their heartfelt contributions that enabled thousands of pets to find their forever homes.”

We can certainly put our paws together for that.

This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.

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