Part of my job at the Natural Resources Council of Maine is to read online news stories related to our work. I then post links to them on our website so that our members and web visitors can stay up to date on the latest news related to Maine’s environment. Sometimes, like during this past legislative session in particular, that task alone can take up a tremendous amount of time!
But, one of the perks of reading through the daily news is that I occasionally see stories and features that are unrelated to my work or semi-related to my work that I can then bookmark and read at home or during my lunchbreak. Yesterday, I came across a story that I didn’t post on our website as news, but is something that I thought might be of interest to many of you who, like me, have a dog (or dogs) and are planning for some upcoming summer vacation days.
I found this helpful post by Shannon Bryan on mainetoday.com – a wonderful guide to Maine beaches and hotels that allow dogs. It also includes some other travel tips for trips with your trusty canine friends.
My husband and I have a small two-year-old chihuahua/minpin mix, Maggie, who likes the “idea” of traveling, but once in the car, is not a fan. We have tried to come up with ways to relieve her anxiety (and ours), and she seems to be getting a little less vocal and more relaxed about car travel. We drive her into town each day to take her for walks. We have taken her to relatives’ homes that are at most an hour away. And now, we think we are almost ready to venture out with her for a long day trip or even an overnight. This guide will be a huge help for us as we plan our adventure.
Our first real trip with Maggie (a trip that she didn’t just tag along on, but one for which we set out especially for her) was to see if she was a good swimmer. I bought her a tiny little orange life jacket and tried it out at home to see if it would even stay on her as she moved around. Then we got into the car and headed about a half-hour away to Lower Narrows Pond in Winthrop. I have spent about 30 years swimming in that lake as a camper and staff member at Camp Mechuwana and decided that since I liked swimming there so much, maybe Maggie would, too. She LOVED it. My husband would put her in the water, facing me, and she would paddle her little legs as fast as she could until she reached me, about 20 feet away. I would then hug and praise her, snuggle a bit, and then bring her back to my husband– to do it all over again.
We have since taken her to Ocean Point in East Boothbay and Popham Beach in Phippsburg. Maggie isn’t as keen about the ocean, but she loves to run along the beach while on her long leash (for those of you from “away,” Maine has a leash law, so plan to keep your dogs on leashes when in public places).
Now that I know that she likes the water, we will use the guide to find other places that might be a little further from home, but that still have beaches that are dog-friendly. There is still plenty of summer left to enjoy swimming with Maggie, and then this fall, we may try a hike or two with her.
Do you have places in Maine you like to go with your dogs? Are they on this list? If not, please share them with us in the comments section. And, if you have any tips for my husband and me about how to make travel for our small dog more pleasant, please let me know!
I hope you can use this guide to make plans to enjoy the dog days of summer with your pet!