Monday, June 2, 2014

Taking the Dog on Vacation: Pros and Cons

First, let me apologize for my absence.  My husband and I traveled to northern Minnesota over the weekend to stay in a cabin by the lake, and me, being used to all the modern amenities of home, toted my laptop along with me, imagining mornings spent writing and blogging on the front porch.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen - silly me didn't realize we would be in the middle of nowhere and have no access to the Internet.

The absence of Wi-Fi and my beloved Netflix aside, the trip was a whoooole lot of fun.  Jared and I aren't exactly the outdoors-y type, so we were a little apprehensive...but it turned out to be a blast.  We went on lots of rides on the pontoon (as well as the paddle boat and the kayaks), ate our weight in s'mores and grilled burgers, and played outdoor games until our shoulders burned red from the sun.  The wildlife wasn't in short supply, either, much to my delight - herons, loons, beavers, geese, and even baby snapping turtles visited us while we were out on the lake (along with some bees, wasps, and other really creepy insects that made me scream and run).  

Baby turtle!  Jared was HORRIFIED that I picked it up and demanded I go wash my hands immediately afterward :)  Chicken.

I've forgotten the point of this post.  Oh, yeah - we brought Riley along, too!  The cabin we stayed in was pet-friendly, so we loaded Riley up in the van and took him with us!  Taking your dog along on vacation can be a bit dicey; many people choose to board their pet instead.  I was a little torn at first - Riley is not a great traveler (10 minute car rides make him whine loudly and unceasingly), and I was also worried about those nasty ticks and their awful diseases.  But boarding isn't really my thing - my dog is my baby, and I just can't leave him with strangers.  So along Riley came!  There were definitely both pros and cons to this decision...

Pro:  Riley took the return trip like a CHAMP!  After the first half hour or so (in a 6 hour trip), there was no whining of any kind, and he was easily pleased with bites of hamburger, licks of ice cream, and frequent potty breaks.

Con:  Riley did not do so hot on the way there...  Let's just say that the music in my headphones wasn't even loud enough to drown him out.  "Does he think we're going to the vet?"  Jared asked me over his whimpers.  "Or...maybe he thinks we're taking him back to the humane society and he has hurt feelings?"  I thought he would eventually get tired of crying and take a nap...but this did not happen on the way there.  The six-hour car ride.

"Not happy about this, Mom..."

Pro:  Riley LOVED the cabin.  He made himself right at home, curling up next to Jared on the bed and digging himself a little nest in a huge beanbag chair.  We decided that we just might need one of those beanbag chairs for ourselves, he seemed to love it so much!  Riley couldn't get enough of sniffing:  every corner of every room in the cabin, the air wafting through the open windows, the wind outside on the porch.  He seemed very happy there.

Riley in his beloved beanbag chair.  Next to bright red shoulders :(

Con:  Riley made himself a little too much at home in the cabin...  The owner of the cabin was walking us through and telling us some rules for using the pontoon, and I saw Riley run into the other bedroom out of the corner of my eye.  I figured he just wanted to do some more sniffing, so I didn't hurry to catch up with him...but when I did, he was performing a very familiar circling routine.  He's not really going to...I thought to myself.  But then he crouched.  And took a huge poop on the very nice, carpeted, master bedroom floor.  It is very rare for Riley to "potty" in the house, and of course he chose that very moment to do so.  Of course he did.

Pro:  The fresh air.  I was a bit worried about the heat, since it seemed pretty humid and muggy.  But the lake provided a very nice breeze, and Riley was perfectly comfortable laying on the porch and relaxing.

Con:  The ticks...When people tell you that Minnesota is full of ticks, they definitely aren't lying.  We gave Riley a tick treatment before we left, so we never found any on him.  But Jared found some on himself, and we spotted several on the boat.  Jared is a worrier, especially when it comes to Riley, so after that, we kept a very close eye out for them.

Overall, though traveling with your dog has its ups and downs, I would recommend it.  It is fun to see your dog exploring new places, and the fact that Riley seemed so happy there made our trip even better.  He had a great time being an outdoorsman this week, but I think he is glad to be home. :)



  1. Sounds like a great trip for everyone. For us much depends on what we are going to be doing once we get there. We have have taken the dogs on some occasions, had family stay at the house to watch them, we had an excellent boarding situation but the woman retired so we have to find a new one, and used the Vet's boarding. The dogs consider the Vet's just short of prison. We do need to research a couple of the places we found during the last couple of pet events we attended. Not every trip is a pet friendly one.

    1. That's definitely true. Now that I know how much fun it can be, though, some more research will definitely be put into our future vacation planning! Thanks for reading! :)

  2. What a great time! (except for the bugs) I have looked for pet friendly cabins to take our boys to but all of them in short driving distance don't allow them. : ( We will have to do more searching. Bentley loved our beanbag chair and was quite perturbed when it had to be thrown away. Riley will love one at home.

    1. They have quite a few pet-friendly cabins up in Minnesota, if you're up for a long drive! ;) I've been scouring the Internet for reasonably-priced big beanbags; I'll have to do some more looking. Thank you for reading! :)

  3. Cinnamon the Coonhound actually likes her boarding place as there are large grassy areas where groups of dogs run and play. It is out in the country, well fenced and supervised. She does well on trips too but it is more work for me... making sure she behaves in the room, not leaving her alone in a motel room to go out to dinner, etc.

    1. I agree; it is definitely a lot of work and a lot of WORRY (for me, at least). But I think, on the right vacation, it can be worth it. Thanks for reading! :)