07 Apr 12

Vacation for dogs (and their humans! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Now that spring is here and many of us humans are planning summer vacations, but what about our dogs?  Are you the type of person who hates to leave your dog behind and wish you could take him with you for a getaway?  These days many dog owners don’t want to leave their beloved four legged family member behind, and luckily now you don’t have to.  Thanks to a locally run business, Canine Camp Getaway, they offer a five day fun and activity filled vacation for you and your dog.  Recently I spoke with Janice Costa the Owner and Founder of Canine Camp Getaway to find out more about the doggie vacations:

Q.  What made you decide to launch a dog vacation business?

Janice: “I have two large dogs who love to go places. Whenever I pulled out my suitcases for a business trip, they would drop their toys and bones inside, or even try to lie down in it (as if I might somehow not notice a 100-pound dog lying in the center of my suitcase trying to stow away!). They do NOT like being left behind. And honestly, I don’t like being without them, either! I work long hours, and spending time with them is one of my greatest pleasures, so it seems wrong somehow that when I get a week off to do what I love, they wouldn’t get to be a part of that.

Unfortunately, so many places aren’t dog friendly, and even the ones that claim to be dog friendly often don’t take large dogs, or don’t have anything for you to do with your dog when you get there. And why drag my dog’s hours away from home if they’re just going to be stuck in the hotel room with nothing to do?

My one dog loves swimming pools, and the other loves all dog sports…and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if there was a vacation where I could relax and have fun, and my dogs could also do their favorite things, like swimming, lure coursing, agility, etc.? I also loved the idea of having a vacation where I could meet other like minded dog people. And I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this way — I know so many dog lovers who also view their dogs as an important part of their family, and can’t imagine leaving them behind to go on vacation.

So I thought about the things I love to do and the things my dogs love to do and created a vacation that we all could enjoy together. Canine Camp Getaway of NY is as much their vision as mine, and I’m delighted that so many other dogs and dog lovers enjoy it as much as we do!”

Q. What, exactly, does one do on a ‘dog vacation?’

Dogs swimming at Camp pool

Janice: “Our guests tell us that Canine Camp Getaway of NY is like a ‘Club Med for dogs,’ with a wide variety of activities and classes (since different dogs like different things). We have a dog-friendly swimming pool, which our Labs and Goldens seem especially fond of, and then we offer dog sport classes, including agility, Frisbee, flyball, hiking, canine freestyle dancing, lure coursing, scent detection, doggie skateboarding, rally obedience and more. I’m also a big believer in education, so we incorporate many educational activities as well, such as Canine CPR, Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen preparation and testing, seminars by veterinarians and dog nutrition experts, etc. For our human guests, we have horseback riding, zumba classes, karaoke, Vendor Day, country line dancing, nightly Yappy Hour in the dog-friendly bar, and even an on-site spa! Best of all, dogs are welcome everywhere — even in the dog-friendly section of the dining room or the lounge at night, so you really can “hang out with your dog” without sacrificing a fun vacation!”

Lure Coursing

Q.  So, why or what does a dog need vacation from anyway?

Janice: “Everyone jokes about how great it is to be a dog. Someone else pays for the kibble, no mortgage payments to worry about, and you can sleep all day, right? But dogs get stressed out just like people do. Dogs pick up on our moods, and when we’re stressed, they feel it, too. Dogs are also natural wanderers, so being inside a house all day long (and without thumbs to be able to control the TV remote!) can sometimes leave your pup bored, lonely or just lacking in stimulation. It’s a proven fact that dogs live longer, healthier lives when they have mental and physical stimulation (and this also leads to happier, better behaved and more relaxed dogs!). And, of course, everyone is so busy that half the time, even beloved dogs have to share their human’s attention with a job, family obligations, household chores, TV, computer time and everything else.

But a vacation…well, that opens a dog’s life up to new sights, new scents, new experiences, physical and intellectual stimulation and a chance to spend ‘fun vacation’ time with THEIR best friend…you! Just as you crave a chance to totally relax, have fun and leave life’s stresses behind, so, too, do dogs love to be the center of their owner’s universe for a week, rather than competing with ‘real life’ — jobs, bills, chores and all those other responsibilities. And a vacation with your dog is a chance for you to both do things you might not otherwise do — explore nature, meet new people and dogs, try new activities and just rediscover why the human-canine bond is so very powerful! Plus, it’s just plain fun!”

Q. Where is your vacation held?

Janice: “We hold our Getaway at the Roaring Brook Ranch in Lake George, NY. We love the location because of the stunning mountain views, scenic hiking trails and proximity to the lake. Plus, the hotel has nearly 300-acres, so there’s plenty of space for the dogs to explore! The town itself is just a few minutes away, with great outlet shopping, boating, fishing and plenty of dog-friendly shops perfect for browsing with our canine BFF.”

Q.  Is this vacation primarily for couples, or do people come by themselves?

Janice: “Both, actually! We generally get about one third couples and two thirds singles, with many people attending who don’t know anyone at all when they get there. But dog lovers are such a friendly group, and the dogs tend to make friends pretty quickly as well, so even if you attend alone, you and your dog are likely to have plenty of new friends before you leave!”

Q. Do dogs need special training to attend Canine Camp Getway?

Janice: “We have dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds. Generally, we get roughly half large dogs and half small dogs, and a good mix of pure breeds and mixed breeds ranging in age from four-month-old puppies to senior dogs. We don’t require obedience training to attend, but dogs must be good with both people and other dogs, due to the social nature of the vacation experience.”

Q.  What if someone attending has never done any of the dog activities offered? Is that a problem?

Janice: “We have a full staff of talented and highly experienced instructors, so whether their dog is new to dog sports or a seasoned pro, they can still participate in the activities. In fact, many times our human guests are surprised to find that their dogs have many hidden talents! What’s also nice is that there are so many different activities, you can try a little bit of everything and see what your dog likes best.”

So if this sounds like the type of vacation you and your dog are drooling over, for more information or an application, check out the Canine Camp Getaway website. Or you can email Janice directly at Janice@caninecampgetaway.com or call at 877-592-2674. And for updates check out their Facebook page too.

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