Shoshone County Airport is for the dogs

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Shoshone County Commissioners John Hansen, Mike Fitzgerald and Jay Huber stand alongside Toni and Murdo Cameron, who donated and installed the Doggy Pit Stop fire hydrant at Shoshone County Airport. The pit stop is just one of the ways the airport is working at being more user-friendly. According to Murdo, this is the first general aviation airport in the country to have anything like this. Photo by JOSH MCDONALD

Shoshone County Airport has been working vigorously over the last few years to make its previously maligned facility an attractive asset to the community, and they have been largely successful in that regard.

From upgraded facilities, sleeper rooms, newer courtesy cars and the cheapest fuel around, there is a lot to like about the tiny airport in Smelterville.

Last week, the county added to that success by adding another service that makes them even more user-friendly.

Traveling with dogs has become more common, with people just enjoying flying with their pets or needing them for service purposes, having a dog on an airplane or in an airport has become as commonplace as a carry on.

So adding more pet-friendly features like dog parks is now a very important thing for aviation facilities to do.

And Shoshone County Airport took its first step toward that last week when, along with help from Wallace graduate Murdo Cameron and his wife, Toni who works with Kootenai Humane Society, it put in a Doggy Pit Stop near the entrance to the airfield and the recreational park located behind it.

“Since we have so many dogs that come through here, we thought it would be a good idea to make the place as pet friendly as possible,” Shoshone County Commissioner Mike Fitzgerald said.

The doggy pit stop concept is essentially an old reclaimed fire hydrant that has been cleaned up, repainted and then is placed in a high-pet traffic area.

It allows dogs a place for them to use the restroom that is easy to clean and is very contained.

Cameron and his wife donated the pit stop to the airport and have plans to place a few more of them, but the one at Shoshone County Airport may be the most important.

“While we are seeing more and more dog parks being put at the bigger commercial airports, I believe this is the first general aviation airport to have anything like this,” Cameron said. “I don’t think any other general aviation airports have looked at this.”

The county is working to add as many amenities as possible and even looking to add running water out near where the pit stop is, which would allow for a place for pups to get a drink as well for maintenance purposes, but the county is just thrilled to have one more asset now available at its blossoming airport.

“We want to promote this airport as a place that anyone can use and this is just another way for us to make it friendlier for everyone,” Fitzgerald said. “We still have more that we would like to do, but we’re getting there and people are really starting to notice us.”

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