We recently took our 10-month old Schnauzer, Dusty, with us on a family vacation. It was our first vacation since Dusty joined our family. We found a wonderful beach house to rent on St. George Island in Florida. It’s one of the few beaches here in the Southeast that still allow leashed dogs. Because we went after spring break was over, it was less crowded than usual, and we almost had the beach to ourselves. It was quieter on the island than I expected and very slow-paced. We noticed that some people brought their dogs with them.
It made me wonder: If given a choice, do people opt to take their dogs with them on vacation?
We drove to the vacation home and anticipated that it would take us about seven hours, including a few short stops. However, what we didn’t anticipate was how many extra times we would need to stop since we had a puppy riding with us. She was on her first long drive to an unfamiliar location. Approximately every hour and a half she would need to stop to go potty, stretch her legs, and visit a friendly rest stop or park. Since we were in no hurry, it wasn’t a real issue on the way there.
However, on the way home, we encountered torrential downpours, which made driving very stressful and stopping for potty breaks more of a challenge. The seven-hour drive turned into a nine-and-a-half-hour drive. We learned that we should have gotten Dusty used to a longer drive by taking several shorter drives in advance. Also, we learned that taking her for a run in the park before heading out would’ve been a good idea to help alleviate some of her high energy levels.
Once we were at the beach home, we made sure that Dusty was secure in the house. We even placed baby gates that we brought with us in front of a few doorways. This kept her safe in the house while we were busy unloading and putting items away. Dusty took this time to perform her job of investigating every nook and cranny of our new temporary home. She found the best window to observe everything happening on the beach and announced herself to every dog within ear shot. This would turn out to be the routine that she followed during the entire vacation. The only good news was that every other dog in the area joined in the festivities. It was great for the dogs and a little tiring for us humans.
The beach itself was wonderful, with thick white sand and a steady breeze blowing. There was an abundance of sea shells that kept Dusty busy, and she loved running in the shallow waves. All the people and dogs we met were nice, and everybody picked up after themselves and their dogs. It was actually easier to allow Dusty to do her business on the beach and clean it up, rather than have to walk her in the sea grass areas, which were full of sand burrs. Believe me, picking burrs out of a thick-coated dog is no fun and definitely not easy on the fingers.
It was a lot of fun and a great place to visit. If you go, don’t expect to find a Starbucks or any restaurant chains in the area. You’d have to travel a couple of hours to find any of those places. But if you want a beautiful, relaxing place to visit with your dog, where you can both enjoy the beach, this is definitely the place!
Do you take your dogs with you on vacation? Would you like to? Let us know in the comments!
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