B.A.R.K. Ranger Program

Garfield BARK Ranger tag
Earn a BARK Ranger tag for your dog!

B.A.R.K. Ranger Program

Although pets are not permitted inside the buildings at the Garfield site, the National Park Service B.A.R.K. Ranger program encourages people and dogs to enjoy the outdoors together. Participants can follow the B.A.R.K. Ranger Trail, and earn a collar tag and certificate. B.A.R.K. Ranger flyers are near the Waste Station and drinking fountain, both off of the parking lot. If you are traveling alone with your dog, call the rangers at 440-255-8722 and we will bring a flyer to you!

Bag your waste
Always wear a leash
Respect wildlife
Know where you can go


Here are the four B.A.R.K. Ranger Principles:

B = Bag Your Poop

  • Help keep James A. Garfield clean by collecting and disposing of all dog waste. Be sure to find the Waste Station before exploring. Do not throw them into the woods or hang from trees.

  • Dog feces is not a natural fertilizer. Dogs can carry disease such as parvovirus, giardia and roundworms into the park's wildlife populations. Water sources may also be polluted by dog feces.

A = Always Wear a Leash

  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet; retractable leashes extended beyond this limit are prohibited.

  • Leashes protect dogs from becoming lost and from hazards such as sharp branches.

  • Not everyone is a dog person no matter how friendly and well behaved your dog may be. Many people, especially children, are frightened by dogs, even small ones. Uncontrolled dogs can present a danger to other visitors. Leashes also protect the experience of other visitors who may be afraid, allergic, or who do not want a dog approaching them.

  • Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively.

R = Respect Wildlife

  • Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife, scaring birds and other animals away from nesting, feeding, and resting sites.

  • The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife. Small animals may hide in their burrow the entire day after smelling a dog and may not venture out to feed.

  • Please keep your dog at a respectful distance from any animals you may encounter.

K = Know Where To Go

  • Pets should not be left unattended. Summer sunshine poses a threat to pets in vehicles. Don't leave pets alone in a car or tied to an object while visiting.

  • The following areas are closed or restricted to pets with the exception of service animals:

  • All public buildings, including the Visitor Center and the Garfield Home.

Safety Reminders:

  • Have you considered your pet in all your preparations? With a little preparation, you and your pet can have an enjoyable trip to the park.
  • Do you have enough water for yourself and your pet?
  • Does your pet have the endurance for the heat?
  • Summer temperatures can make the park's pavement EXTREMELY HOT. Pets have senstive paw pads that can easily be burned by these surfaces. REMEMBER: If it's too hot for your bare feet, it's too hot for theirs. If you regularly walk in hot conditions consider commercially available coverings for your best friend’s feet, they’ll be glad you did.
a newspaper sketch of candidate Garfield and his dog Veto
Newspaper etching of “General Garfield and ‘Veto’ at Mentor.” This image was widely circulated during the campaign.

Garfield and Veto

James A. Garfield moved to this farm in Mentor, Ohio in 1876. He had been splitting his time between his home in Hiram, Ohio and Washington, D.C. After moving to Mentor, he made a point to be home as much as possible, whenever Congress was not in session. While here, he enjoyed the company of his family; his four sons, his daughter, his mother, and his wife Lucretia. His life was also enriched by the presence of animals on the farm, including his beloved dog, Veto. Veto was a Newfoundland dog and newspaper reporters who came to visit Mentor during the campaign reported being first met by Veto. They also noted that “General Garfield [was] fond of very large, noble-looking dogs.” The campaign, unfortunately, became too much for Veto and he was unable to relax amid the near constant stream of visitors to his house in 1880. It is estimated that over 15,000 people came here during the campaign. Poor Veto had to move away because the excitement was too much for him. Veto’s story reminds us that both people and their puppies must always try to be courteous at all times.

Last updated: July 21, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

8095 Mentor Avenue
Mentor, OH 44060


If your call is not answered, please leave a voicemail and we will return your call as soon as possible. You can also e-mail us at jaga_interpretation@nps.gov.

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