Taking your furry friend away with you is not a walk in the park and I’m certainly no expert, but as a dog owner for the past 20 or so years, here’s what I’ve found out...
1 Leave them at home
Yes, that’s my first piece of advice. Seriously, as much as you love your horse/dog/snake/rat, life on the road/train/plane will be much easier without them, not to mention cheaper.
In Paris or New York, you might see people shopping in department stores with their well-trained pooches browsing at their sides, but if you try this at Ballantynes in Christchurch or David Jones in Wellington, someone will call security before you can shout, “No, not there!”
2 Take them with you
Of course, if you are heading to Paris or New York, it’s a different matter because you can take your pooch with you. But unless you know Johnny Depp and can use his private plane, the critter will not fly with you – he or she will fly “steerage”. And that’s the good news.
The bad news is what it will cost you. Our Ted has flown to Australia with us (and back) and – gird your loins – it’s about $2000 each way. Yes, each way.
You have to pay vets and extra fees at either end, and there’s no nurse in a skimpy outfit feeding him liver treats either. He’s in with the cargo. Poor Ted arrived in Adelaide having spent five hours next to a parrot, which quite ruined birds for him forever.
3 Put your pet in a kennel or cattery
On each of the Aussie occasions mentioned above, we were going for work, for six months or more, so the alternative was to put Ted in kennels, which he likes,
but me, not so much.
For him, it’s his chance, as an only pet, to romp with other pooches. For me, it’s a worry that he’s not watching enough television or lying on a sheepskin rug.
However, these days, I happily send him to a place called K9 Cadets where, while we are on holiday, he’s in boot camp getting his bad habits readjusted.
We can even watch Facebook videos of him behaving like an angel, which is very relaxing. But when we are relocating for lengthy periods, those kennel costs build up – hence the kerching trips across the Tasman.
4 Be clever about it
Ted may have his peccadillos – chomping on floaty scarves, baggy trousers and architects being at the top of the list – but he’s not much of a barker. So on occasion while travelling in New Zealand, we have smuggled him into motel rooms.
We pick the motels specially so that there’s easy access and – as he has wool, not hair, and no fleas – we don’t even feel bad about it.
But you don’t always have to be sneaky. At the lovely waterfront Scenic Hotel Te Pania in Napier, there’s an open invite to all “woofers”, plus a promenade for walkies right on the doorstep.
5 Find spots where your pet is welcome
Some camping grounds also welcome dogs and this is a lovely holiday to go on with your four-legged friend. We spent a fabulous two days picking biddy-bids off our canine at Bland Bay one summer.
And we were once given special dispensation outside of peak period at Murphy’s Holiday Camp in Matata near Whakatane, where Ted even had his own tent. Not that we could get him to go inside it, but still, it looked ever so cute and had prime position on the waterfront.