What a difference a week makes – we’ve been hearing that a lot. A week ago, I was going to work and scheduling posts about great places I’ve been to recently with my favourite side-kick, a clever little Cocker-cross named Victor.
Our travels have slowed significantly since he was diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction – I don’t want to confuse him with new situations. Fortunately, we’ve got some past adventures in the queue. However…
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Encouraging travel didn’t seem appropriate this week, especially because Victor and I, along with cats Daisy and Sally, are self-isolating this week – and perhaps longer. While the open road still calls, and I feel optimistic updating both the U.S. and Canadian Dog Event pages for the year, spending days at home with my fur babies is certainly no hardship – especially because Victor’s needs are increasing.
At 15-years-old with advanced health issues, Victor needs a lot of TLC and I’m more than willing to provide it. If it wasn’t for him, I’d have never discovered the love of both cats AND canines. Without him, I’d never discovered dog-friendly adventure and hit the road with the best travel buddy ever. Without him … I can’t imagine being without him
What would I do, if I could do it again (and we might yet, folks)?
While we wile away the hours together this week, here’s list of my favourite trips with my crazy little car-loving pup whose adventurous fearless spirit inspires me:
Best Surprise Dog-friendly City and Hotel: Louisville, Kentucky
On our way to somewhere else, my pooch and I stopped at Louisville for two nights to check it out – one week before Derby time. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect, but what I discovered was a very dog-friendly city.
Between people shouting their approval for Victor’s cuteness from car windows to people questioning puppy possibilities (no, he’s fixed), my dog strutted like a celebrity – and being greeted like one at the uber sexy Aloft Hotel didn’t hurt either. Check out our dog-friendly Louisville experience here.
Second Best Surprise City: Huntsville, Alabama
Walking through some beautiful urban waterfall parks and strolling past Victorian mansions is a favourite memory of Huntsville – also surprisingly dog-friendly especially the downtown shops.
Victor was at his walking, walking, walking stage while we were there and an hour and half ghost tour walk was exactly what he was up for – although he didn’t always listen patiently to the stories. Check out our dog-friendly Huntsville, Alabama experience here.
Best Memory: Mackinac Island, Michigan
Victor and I go to Michigan frequently for all different reasons, including The Rochester Writer’s Conference and so many dog festivals including the annual Dog Bowl. But I’ll never forget my little guy gleefully running along the shores of Mackinac Island, an incredibly dog-friendly place thanks to a complete lack of cars.
While staying at the pet-friendly Mission Point Resort, Victor rode on a ferry and horse-drawn carriage in the same weekend – about a month before he’d damage his other UCL rendering his gleeful running days behind him. Check out our dog-friendly Mackinac Island adventures here.
Best Off-leash Experience: Bronte Creek Provincial Park, Oakville, Ontario
Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville, Ontario is within an hour’s drive of home so let’s call this a staycation destination for us. We’ve been there a few times because in the overnight camping area there’s a leash-free trail zone.
That’s right, dogs with good recall (clearly) can race along wooded trails off leash and running and cycling ‘enthusiasts’ dressed like Power Rangers can’t say anything about it. (Clearly, I’ve had confrontations). Several kilometres long, the trail is near a parking area with facilities and water facets for filling bowls. Check out our dog-friendly Bronte Park fun day here.
Best Dog-festival: Pawlooza, London, Ontario
Year after year, in various degrees of summer, we’ve returned to Pawlooza pet festival in London, Ontario – about a two-hour drive from either Toronto or Detroit. Hosted on an amazing private property (complete with horse barn, arena and golf course), we haven’t missed this once – even in the heat of August.
Some summers have been too hot for my little guy; other years have been just right. I figured out step one should be to head straight to the little dog leash-free play zone and let Victor run off some steam and explore, before I expect him to stroll along side me through vendors. Or, more recently, ride in his stroller (affiliate US) or (affiliate Canada) which is becoming invaluable at festivals like this. Check out our latest Pawlooza fun here.
Bookmark our Dog Event Guides for both Canada and the United States, so you don’t miss a festival near you – or better yet, travel to a new one. (If we missed an event you know of, please let us know).
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.
i use to travel a lot with the horses, been to Louisville and Lexington for shows, up and down the east coast. i worked for a big saddlebred trainer for about 6 months and we traveled around the mid west area. hard because you arrive, set up the stalls, unload the horses, groom them, clean take, feed, walk, have early am and late pm exercising, sometimes up for almost 24 hrs, then had to take down, and drive to the next show, same routine. i only got to really see the show grounds and surrounding areas most of the time.
Sounds like hard work, but six months with horses would still be awesome. Love Kentucky.
i envy all of the places you have traveled. i would love to travel but hard with 2 dogs. i also hate driving long distances. when i was younger and did not have pets, i would travel a lot, go out of the country at least once a year. as i have gotten older, i am more a home body, but would love to travel though.
I spend a lot of time at home too – especially now. Fortunately, my one little black dog loves to be in the car (well, he did when he was younger).