Vacationing With Your Pet
The newest travel trend brings families
It's easier than you think
Vacationing with pets?
Not something I thought I'd ever do. But as the adage goes, necessity is the mother of invention. What began as my necessity turned into a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that has improved every aspect of my vacation and travel time.
Although I'd had dogs on and off during my childhood, it wasn't until my early thirties that I decided it was time to bring another dog into my life. And the lives of my young children. I wanted them to grow up with a dog. Know what it was like to have a canine companion, a playmate, a friend who would always be there. To love you, no questions asked. A four-legged pal who would be the first to lick you teary face or your bloody knee. Enter Samson, our family's first Golden Retriever.
For nearly fifteen years, Sammy was everything a family could want from their dog. Loyal, forgiving, sweet, funny, neurotic, playful, sensitive, smart, too smart, dirty, puddle loving, fearless, strong and cuddly. He could melt your heart with a woebegone expression or make your hair stand on end with one of his pranks. Like the time he methodically opened the seam on a bean bag chair and then cheerfully spread the beans everywhere. Or when he followed a jogger and ended up in a shelter.
The years passed. Sam's face turned white. And one by one our kids headed off to college. Preparing for the inevitable, my husband Harvey and I decided that when Sam died, no other dog would take his place. We wanted our freedom, not the responsibility of another dog.
Sammy left us one sunny June morning with so little fanfare that we couldn't believe he was actually gone. Little did we realize the void that would remain when our white-faced Golden Boy was no longer with us.
Rosie and Maxwell...life goes on. After planning a two-week vacation through California, with an ultimate destination of Lake Tahoe, my husband and I had our hearts stolen by two Golden Retriever puppies Rosie and Maxwell. Two little balls of fur that would help to fill the emptiness Sam's death had created. The puppies were ready to come home with us only weeks before our scheduled departure date. What to do? Kennel them? Hire a caretaker at our home? Neither solution felt right.
Sooo we took them along. Oh, the fun we had. And the friends we made. Both the two-legged and four-legged variety. Having pets on our trip made us more a part of the places we visited. We learned that pets are natural conversation starters. Rosie and Maxwell were the prime movers in some lasting friendships we made during that first trip together. Now when we revisit Lake Tahoe, we have old friends to see as well as new ones to make.
Since that first trip, our travels have taken us to many places. We've visited national forests, mountain resorts, seaside villages, island retreats, big cities and tiny hamlets. We've shared everything from luxury hotel rooms to rustic cabin getaways. I can't imagine going anywhere without our dogs.
Only one regret remained. Why hadn't it occurred to me to take Sammy along on our travels? He would have loved the adventures. That regret led to the writing of this book. I wanted others to know how easy it could be to vacation with their pets.
When I watch Rosie and Maxwell frolic in a lake or when they accompany us on a hike, I think of Sammy and remember the legacy of love and friendship he left behind. So for those of you who regularly take your pet along and those who would if you knew how, come share my travel knowledge. And happy trails to you and yours.
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