Dog Vacation

“You should try being in the moment/then you’d want to catch things/in your mouth too!”—Daniel Ladinsky (poet)

I had the perfect focus group for my research. Two grand puppies—one was a grown up golden retriever, the other was a flat coat retriever puppy. My idea was to understand what constitutes a great vacation from a dog’s point of view.

This is the first thing that I witnessed. Dogs love when you take them to the country and let them run around and be wild. No leash! So on a bitter cold January weekend, I drove up to my AirBnb cabin and asked my kids to bring their dogs up for a day of play. They romped. They chased. They rolled over (and over) in the snow.

Now my focus group of two shared these observations: 1) Deer droppings delicious; 2) Sticks fun; 3) Creeks wade; 4) Snowballs catch; 5) Humans chase . . . and food must be abundant. Or to quote the canines, “Dog like food.” 

So if you are planning a vacation, why not bring your dog and stay locally? I promise that you will see your life with a whole new perspective if you spend an afternoon in the woods with your dog. I was lucky to get one weekend day to laugh and play (and get worn out) by a grandpuppy named Perry who has an endless energy source. 

She swam in multiple sections of the creek (even though it was 32 degrees F out) while I stay bundled in my ski jacket. She pranced like a pony when offered a treat. (Puppies have such an endearing tilted cantor when they are excited!) She grabbed a big four-foot stick and carried it in her mouth. 

But the big celebration day was Sunday when the two “cousins” were able to play together. There was two inches of fresh snow on the ground. Calvin and Perry rushed up the hill to race each other, sniff and play. There was the big wide outdoors to explore. There was no mandatory return time. There was PURE GLEE. And I think the dogs had fun too. This human learned what is important on a vacation. BE IN THE MOMENT. Get out of your head. Wear yourself out walking. Bring along friends. Laugh a lot. Best dog vacation EVER.

PS As always, my readers’ comments are welcome on the blog. (I actually adore it when people post a comment!) Or you can share your own stories about vacationing with your dog (or cat) on my Instagram page. I want to especially thank my subscriber Deborah who wrote in Comments about a wonderful poetry book about our “fur family” members—Darling I Love You: Poems From The Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts And All Our Animal Friends by Daniel Ladinsky. It will melt your heart. I even read the cat poems to my two Siamese cats—Henry & Eliot. They gave the Cat Seal of Approval. MEOW!

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  • Laci
    January 25, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    My dog loves when we go on hikes and he gets to run around off leash! He is a rescue named Bear. I followed you on Instagram – @lmcgee56

    • admin
      January 26, 2019 at 7:07 am

      Your dog sounds fantastic. I hope you take him hiking today Laci!

  • Beth
    January 26, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Speaking of dogs and poems, here is my favorite by Andrea Gibson:

  • Deborah Wilson
    January 26, 2019 at 8:41 am

    There’s something so wonderful about a dog having fun. Also, nice poem. It made me think of one of my favorite books of poems–Darling I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts by Daniel Ladinsky. Most poetry books with an animal theme seems to be for children, but this one is aimed more at adults.

    • admin
      January 26, 2019 at 11:00 am

      I love how dogs remind us to live large!

  • Alyssa Decker
    January 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Reddit reader here, I absolutely adore you and your blog! Can’t wait to try a dog vacation with my English Bulldog/Schnauzer mix, Jacey!

    • admin
      January 28, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      You just made my day Reddit reader. Thank you for letting me know you enjoy my blog. I am still trying to find my voice & readers.

  • John Gorman
    January 28, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Love the Old Bay bib.

    • admin
      January 28, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      You noticed lol!!!!!

  • Lindsay
    January 28, 2019 at 10:36 am

    We took my mom’s dog with us when we went to Nashville last summer. We stayed in a dog-friendly AirBNB, and she had a blast coming with us when she could and staying in the air condition when she couldn’t.

    • admin
      January 28, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      It sounds like the perfect pup vacation. Our dogs just add so much merriment don’t they?

  • Maria
    January 28, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    This made me think, people really ought to take the time to enjoy life with the ones they love. Thank you for introducing me to a new poet. I hope to have a wonderful day like this with my future dog.

    • admin
      January 28, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      I can’t wait to see your post on your future pup. I know it will be love at first sight.

  • Emma
    January 30, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Oh my gosh!!! A while back on a family trip my dog had his first experience with snow…he had a little altitude sickness at one point 🙁 but it was so cute as he discovered how snow “worked!” Even our mishaps have turned into a laugh and seeing my dog’s curiosity at something I’ve been somewhat familiar with was so nice. :))

    • admin
      February 3, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Dogs are so darn cute! I loved watching our puppies figure out the snow. Frankly they managed a lot better than the “humans” when we had to walk down a slippery path in the snow lol! I hope your dog enjoys many outings in the snow with you.

  • this post
    February 9, 2019 at 4:13 am

    This writing is a fresh look at an old problem. Thank you! I will be sharing this!