“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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