Travel Writings

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*Please read the introduction below first before proceeding to these stories.

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Tessi's Brag Page

ROAD TRIPPIN’ WITH TESSI
~My Experiences of Travelling with a Dog~

INTRODUCTION

My home province of Ontario, along with the rest of Canada, offers amazing places to explore. There’s nothing I love more than heading out on the highway (and the back roads) to discover the world around us. My dog, Tessi, always accompanies me on these journeys. Not only is she splendid company, she makes me feel safer when I’m on my own.

Tessi is a friendly, medium size, light brown and white Brittany mix with short fur. Like me, she is a restless spirit that loves adventures away from home.

Travelling with a dog is a pleasurable experience, yet it can be challenging. There are many places where dogs aren’t allowed or only allowed leashed. Sometimes, I'm lucky to find a deserted place where Tessi can run free. She is well trained to not wander far from me, leave things alone when I tell her to and come when I call. (WARNING: Though some dogs are trained in this way, they may run away in a strange and unfamiliar place if they are not used to new environments.)

If I know I’m heading to or through a city, I like to find an off-leash park. Pets.ca lists parks, along with brief descriptions. Throughout our travels, I’m always aware of what is around us and use consideration for other people, animals and surrounding vegetation. Not all people or other animals love dogs as much as we do and most communities like to keep their grass and plants pristine.

In my research, most of the information I’ve found on the subject of travel with pets is based on the same general advice - bring lots of water, stop often for breaks, don’t leave your animal closed up in the car when it’s hot and so on. All this advice is very IMPORTANT. That’s probably why it’s often repeated. In these writings, I want to get beyond the basics and share what I learn about visiting particular areas of our country.

Though most of our outings take place in Ontario, we have travelled across Canada - as far west as Alberta, where Tessi lapped up clear glacial water in Moraine Lake and to the east in Newfoundland, where she avoided the ocean’s saltwater. We’ve ridden the gondola in Banff, the subway in Toronto and hiked many types of trails. Each region’s wildlife, such as black bears in northern Ontario and rattlesnakes in the badlands of Alberta, has required extra attentiveness. We’ve met all kinds of people along the way, including Vikings.

Some of our excursions include my friend, Helen. Our men’s (my Wayne and her Earl) lack of interest in travel has her keeping Tessi and me company when she can. She also has a constant yen to explore this beautiful country of ours.  At one point, she adopted a shih ztu mix, Missy, that now joins us on our tours.

Most of our journeys have been day trips. When staying anywhere overnight, we usually camp. Most campgrounds are pet-friendly, mainly requiring dogs to be tethered and to behave. A resource for finding indoor accommodations that include pets is www.petfriendly.ca.

One final point - these writings are based on my experiences. I have written them in the hopes of inspiring you to take your dog along with you on your travels, but ONLY if he or she would enjoy it. If you take your dog, hopefully these writings will help your travels run more smoothly and result in enjoyable experiences for both of you.

Policies change. Always check before visiting to confirm.

(c) Cheryl Smyth, 2008; updated 2013

ADDED NOTES

What I have learned over our years of travel:

  • Cliffs - Generally, I would recommend dogs be leashed near cliffs. Research has led me to learn that many dogs have taken tumbles over sudden drops, not realizing their danger. Just Googling the topic brings up many instances of this unfortunate occurrence. Tessi suffers a fear of heights (I think the lookout towers we’ve climbed in the past introduced this fear in her), which seems to work in our favour in these situations. I've never had a problem with her near a steep edge, though I would still leash her near a potentially nasty one, such as Dundas Peak - an edge that scares the hell out of me.
  • Poison Ivy - As any southern Ontario hiker knows, poison ivy grows throughout our forests and borders some of the trails. If our pets come in contact with the plants, its oils can cling to fur. The animals won’t suffer rashes, but we can from picking up those oils when we touch that fur.
  • Historic Villages - Leashed, well-behaved dogs are allowed at some historic village type destinations, such as, Fanshawe Pioneer Village (London), Uncle Tom’s Historic Site (Dresden) and Founders Museum and Pioneer Village (Thunder Bay) in Ontario, and Norstead in Newfoundland.

© Cheryl Smyth, 2016

 My articles may be copied for personal use only, for your travels, without my permission. My articles and photographs are available for publication. Please contact me to discuss terms and pricing. tctravels@live.ca
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