Vacation Lessons #1 – Dogged Determination

I know a blow-by-blow breakdown of things that I did on my luxurious week of unemployment/vacation isn’t really interesting to anyone except those who were there – so I won’t torture you.

However, there are a few very important lessons I learned while on my “fly by the seat of your pants” whirlwind tour of the Sunshine Coast & Vancouver Island. And I’d love to share one of them with you:

First off, Travelling with no schedule, planned destnation, accommodations booked or firm dates for anything in mind is a good idea… in principle. In reality, it’s a great way to see things you hadn’t expected, but a challenging way to conduct a vacation. The stress of hunting down a place to lay our weary heads each night took away significantly from the “relaxation” factor we’d been striving for.

Compounding this is the realization we came to that one should never, EVER, travel with a dog without having accommodations booked ahead of time. I don’t want to sound like one of those people who feels their dog should be allowed everywhere they go so far as into restaurants, stores, etc. but the complete lack of pet-friendly accommodations available is pretty astounding. Hotels that allow dogs seem to only have about 5-7% of their rooms available for the furry beasties, and even if they do have rooms available, the pet rooms go quickly.

Someone actually asked us on our travels “Why’d you bring your dog on vacation anyway?” I just sat dumbfounded with my mouth agape, though Neil was quick in responding (loudly, over the questioner’s screaming, unruly brats running amok through the Tim Hortons – as our dog laid quietly outside the window we were sitting next to) “Why’d you bring your kids on vacation?” and the question-asker was left speechless. And really, that’s what it’s all about. Not everyone likes kids, or dogs, or your drunk Uncle Bob who pinches the waitresses ass and spills his dinner and pukes in the flowerbeds more often than not. But for whatever reason, people enjoy travelling with them and would like to spend their vacation with their family and companions.

The biggest anti-pet justification I heard was “allergies” – and sure, people’s allergies to pet-hair are a valid concern. But really? Don’t hotels vacuum the rooms and change the sheets and towels between guests anyway? And I’d argue that there are more dog owners than those severely allergic to pet dander in this world. And I’d bet that those who are so allergic to pet dander that they can’t be in a room that a dog has been in, ever, are probably allergic to a lot of other things as well. Why not book 5-7% of your rooms as “allergen-free” rooms and outlaw pets, plants, perfumes and peanut products in them.

Most responsible dog owners are generally happy to pay the nominal pet-fee that’s usually tacked onto the regular room rate already, and nobody I know would balk at agreeing to have a pet-charge added to their bill after checkout for any damage their animal may cause. In addition to this, 99% of places already have rules in place that you can’t leave your pet in the room alone anyway – so the risk of any pet damage (save for an indoor accident – and really… have you seen a baby diaper malfunction lately? not much matches the foulness of that) is really, really minimal.

Then there are the places who specify that they only take “small pets.” I’d bet anyone any amount of money that my 70lb cross-breed is better behaved than most of the purebread calf-high hatebeasts you throw at it. Just because you can put your dog in your purse when it starts causing trouble, doesn’t mean you don’t have to train it.

Uhm…. wow, that got ranty.

But really, what’s so wrong with wanting to bring the 4-legged member of my family along with me when I take a road trip? I’m not putting her in a crate on a plane, or asking for her to sit in a restaurant, or go on an amusement park ride, or wag her hairy tail through your racks of clothes or souvenirs, or terrorize your pets in your home. I just want her to have a safe place to sleep at night after we’ve wandered around enjoying the scenery and contributing to bottom line of your business and the economy of your town.

I suppose I have become one of those people who expects the rest of the world to accommodate my child dog when I choose to take her out with me in what I would think are appropriate situations. But really – considering my dog is cleaner, better behaved, and frankly better looking than most people’s children… is that such a bad thing?

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4 thoughts on “Vacation Lessons #1 – Dogged Determination

  1. -j.

    Agreed, there are certainly a lot of people who see pets as possessions (or worse, accessories) rather than members of the family.

    That said, as a dog owner and working where I do, I can tell you while you are no doubt very responsible with your dog, many people aren’t. Hotel owners can’t tell which dog owners will look after their pets, and which will leave their separation-anxiety-stricken wolfhound in the room all day while they sightsee. A smart hotel ought to offer a pet-sitting service, for which I’m sure many would gladly pay.

  2. peechie Post author

    Funny, we also talked about how it would be great if hotels also offered pet-sitting.

    Free Entreprenurial Idea: If you live in a touristy place, start up a pet-sitting service that will also do pick up and drop off from your local hotels that accept pets!

  3. kiss

    -j: that’s what the pet fee is for. Consider it the hotel’s insurance policy: they charge $10-30 per night for a pet, and when a bad owner’s pet goes insane and trashes the room, they charge the owner the deductible. I’d gladly pay because I know how my pet will behave.

    Owners of separation-anxiety-stricken wolfhounds can choose to buy pet-room-insurance (and risk paying the deductible); or they can leave Fido at home and save some cash; or they can get a kennel.

    I don’t much care how bad pet owners deal with their bad pets, because ultimately I believe they’re the exception, and are quite rare. You hear a lot about them, of course, because what’s newsworthy about a well-behaved pet?

  4. April

    Kudos to you or I guess the boy for saying what he did to the person with the unruly kids. Too funny!!

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