BITS AND BITES OF TRAVELLING WITH DOGS IN NEWFOUNDLAND

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  • Tessi and I, along with Helen and Missy, toured the west coast of Newfoundland this summer. Listed below are ten basic points on what I learned while travelling with the dogs:Pets have to stay in the passenger's vehicle during the ferry ride from Cape Breton Island to Newfoundland. No one is permitted to visit them during the voyage WHATSOEVER. (There is the option of leaving your dog in a crate in the kennel room, but after investigating it during our crossing, I'm glad I chose my car. Besides, our pets are more comfortable in familiar surroundings. The kennel is a better option, however, if you have to attend to your dog's needs.) We had previously bought a couple of Adjustable Pet Window Guards at Princess Auto (also available at Jeffers Pet). We could then safely leave the windows open for the dogs.
  • For those of us used to our dogs drinking from lakes, rivers and any other natural water source, we have to remember to include water on outdoor activities involving the salty ocean. (I never thought of this since I've always lived by freshwater sources. When Tessi didn't drink from the water at the first seashore we stopped at, it took me a few minutes to figure out why.)
  • Moose are overly abundant on the island and a definite road hazard. We excitedly spotted one beside a road we were travelling on, but we only caught a glimpse because Tessi immediately started barking, scaring the large animal away. (None of us had ever set eyes on a moose before, as they don’t exist in our southern Ontario countryside.)
  • There aren't any off-leash parks outside of the major urban centres, so I had to give Tessi freedom whenever possible since she's accustomed to a certain amount. Fortunately, we came across many spots empty of people. Early mornings also helped. We had a lot of outdoor spaces to ourselves before they became clogged with other visitors.
  • Dogs are usually expected to be leashed in provincial parks, definitely at the campgrounds we stayed at. Both dogs were always chained to a picnic table - the first tree I tried was sticky with sap - or were leashed when walking. In Arches Provincial Park, a day-use-only park, there were a lot of people busy in the arches vicinity. We wandered down the rocky shoreline a bit, where it was quiet and Tessi couldn't bother anyone. I chanced letting her loose there.
  • When we first arrived at Norstead, the Viking village in L'Anse aux Meadows, I was told leashed dogs are allowed. I was pleased to find they are welcome inside the buildings, as well as outside. Furthermore, I was informed that our pets could run free on an open shoreline on the other side of the village boundary since it's usually quiet.
  • Dogs are allowed on the Rose Blanche Lighthouse grounds, but not inside the building itself.
  • Dogs are not permitted on any of the Bontours boat tours, which operate within Gros Morne National Park. (I was disappointed; I would have really liked to have experienced the Western Brook Pond tour.)
  • There are no snakes, skunks or poison ivy plants to bother you or your pet. It is, however, bear country, so appropriate caution must be taken. (We didn't see any bears; nevertheless, I only freed Tessi in open areas, where I could see the land around us.)
  • We alternated between camping, motels and a B&B for our overnight stays. Dogs were allowed in the campgrounds; however, most of the indoor accommodations allowing pets charged an extra $10 per dog.
Important Note Keep in mind, when letting your dog loose that he or she should have excellent callback, especially in unfamiliar settings. Some of the places I free Tessi, I only do so because she is well trained and listens to my commands.

 © Cheryl Smyth, 2010

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