Try trav­el­ling with a ca­nine friend

Bush Telegraph - - Love Pets -

Seven years is a long time to fend off a wo­man who wants some­thing. To me, it shows a lot of re­silience.

That’s why I take my hat off to my other half who, for seven years, man­aged to bat away my con­stant plead­ing for a puppy. He fought a good fight but just over a year ago, he fi­nally caved, and we wel­comed Arlo the springer spaniel into the fold.

One might say it has been a bit of a life­style ad­just­ment. Or let’s just say, a com­plete life­style over­haul. Why? Well, one small mat­ter might be that he’s al­ways there — 24/7. Oh, and did I men­tion, he’s al­ways there? They say it’ll pre­pare you for chil­dren. Some have even gone as far as say­ing they’re harder than chil­dren. To my face.

Ei­ther way, if you’re in my boat, you’ll have more than likely con­tem­plated what to do with Fido when you are plan­ning a road trip. A fam­ily ad­ven­ture with­out him? I did men­tion they’re there con­stantly, didn’t I? How would a hol­i­day with­out him be the same then? He is your baby, af­ter all.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve worked a few things out to en­sure a stress-free, pet-friendly hol­i­day. And like they say with chil­dren, it’s all about plan­ning and com­pro­mise. Here are a few of our tips that have helped us along the way:

■ Get him car ready. Make sure be­fore you head away you’ve had a trial run. I know it sounds a bit pedan­tic but, se­ri­ously, the only rea­son our road trips work is be­cause Arlo loves the car. He’s not only happy to curl up in the back for an eight-hour trip, but is also fine with stay­ing in the car on his own, with wa­ter on hand — of course only if it’s not too hot and not for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time. Tak­ing the ferry is an ex­pe­ri­ence. I def­i­nitely wouldn’t rec­om­mend book­ing a ken­nel be­cause they’ll be suck­ing up fumes and go­ing deaf pretty quickly that way. Stick to the car op­tion — it’s free and they’ll be much more com­fort­able.

■ Book ahead. Gone are the care­free days where you can just go where the wind takes you. Nope, not ev­ery­one loves your dog as much as you do, and most ac­com­mo­da­tion won’t take pets. Full stop. Oth­ers may say “pet friendly” but the mean­ing of those two words can change dras­ti­cally. I’ll give you my best scale: 1. We say we’re pet friendly but we’re not at all and you’ll have to pay ex­tra to have your dog stay in the car. 5. Yes, bring him along but please pay an ex­tra 50 per cent on top of what you’ve al­ready paid for ac­com­mo­da­tion, and he can only stay in his crate out­side. 10. Ac­tu­ally pet friendly and no charge. To score a 10 when book­ing is a home run. My best ad­vice is to con­tact po­ten­tial ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions to en­sure a) they know you’re bring­ing your pet, and b) you don’t find out when you get there that they’re ac­tu­ally a 1 in­stead of a 10. Tin­der users, you know what I’m talk­ing about.

■ Off-leash. I have one thing to say about this. Coun­cils need to up their game in the “where can I take my dog and where can’t I” stakes. I won’t name names but, so far, I have driven to a lake that was “dog friendly” on the coun­cil web­site, only to have a No Dogs sign slapped in my face. Fab­u­lous. And just by the by, if you’ve got a springer, like me, a small park that peo­ple seem to walk their hand­bag dogs around in cir­cles in, right next to a state high­way, isn’t go­ing to cut it.

And then there’s Nel­son — it has hit a 12 out of 10 on the off-leash ar­eas. Some­one high up in that coun­cil clearly loves dogs — prob­a­bly a lit­tle too much. Ev­ery area seems to be dog friendly, and there are so many tracks and trails to ex­plore (and tire out) Arlo, it re­ally is a dream run. Head to the Tahu­nanui Back Beach or up the Cen­tre of New Zealand for a great place to run. I have found that any place with a beach is a win­ner (un­less you’re Tas­man District Coun­cil where, it seems, there’s no dogs al­lowed any­where, even on beaches).

That’s not to say there aren’t good ar­eas with­out beaches — take Palmer­ston North, which ac­tu­ally has an amaz­ing trail net­work along the river and away from roads. Who knew?

So while I’m a lit­tle hes­i­tant to rec­om­mend this, my best ad­vice for find­ing ar­eas to take your dogs off-leash is to head to the re­spec­tive coun­cil web­site. At best, it’ll have great in­for­ma­tion about where to go and, at worst, it’ll lead you on a wild goose chase — but at least you’ll be see­ing parts of New Zealand you’ve never seen be­fore.

TAK­ING dogs on a ferry is a chal­lenge — go for the car op­tion.

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