Going on vacation without your pet? That doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend the entire time dog-less. Here are five ways to hang out with dogs while on vacation.
United Paws Program
Traveling can be super stressful, especially during the holidays. Thousands of anxious travelers running through airports, figuring out their gate number, and rummaging through carry-on bags makes for a tense environment. That’s why United Airlines created the United Paws Program.
During popular holiday travel dates, like Christmas and Spring Break, they send therapy pets to some of the busiest airports in the United States to help calm travelers and relieve holiday stress. You can pet the dogs, take photos with them, and even sneak a few cuddles.
Rent a Pet
Sad and lonely without your furry pal? Then borrow a pet for the day! The Aspen Animal Shelter in Colorado has a Rent-A-Pet program that allows visitors to spend the day with a dog outside of the shelter. The pup is socialized and loved, and they fill the void for lonely travelers. Social site Borrow My Doggy connects busy dog owners with dog lovers to share the care of a dog by scheduling playdates and meet ups. Potcake Place in Turks & Caicos lets travelers borrow puppies and spend the day with them at the beach, and Best Friends Animal Society in Utah pairs people with dogs, complete with a list of outing activities. Contact shelters in your destination to see what similar programs they offer.
Not every traveler can take their pets with them. There are various online communities, like Trusted Housesitters, Nomador, and MindMyHouse that connect pet owners with pet lovers around the globe who are happy to stay in their home and care for their pet for free. Housesitters enjoy free accommodations and a furry friend, while pet owners get to head out knowing their beloved pet is being looked after. This beats dropping your pup off at a kennel, or forcing them to leave the comfort of their own home. There are thousands of sits available worldwide, for varying lengths of time (from days to months!), and all across the world.
Host a Pajama Pawty
Don’t want to sleep alone? These dog rescues and hotels will let you borrow a dog to keep you company. Best Friends Animal Society in Utah lets you host your own animal sleepover, giving a rescue pet some much needed quality time, and a break from the shelter. Plus, you get to fill them in on what the pooch is like one-on-one, away from their doggy friends, and in a home environment. This gives future adopters more info on their new furry friend. Snuggling with a dog and helping them get adopted? It’s a win-win!
The Nikko hotel in San Francisco is happy to lend out their resident dog Buster to lonely guests. Nikko, whose official position is COO (Canine Operating Officer), has been on the job since 2015. He loves to hang out at the hotel, meet new people, and share the love. Follow him on Instagram to see what he’s up to.
Take a Hike
Active vacationer? A shelter dog can join you in the great outdoors! Help them stretch their legs while working on their social skills. United for Animals, an animal welfare group in Guatemala, organizes mountain walks with volunteers and their available dogs. Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, will match guests with a dog from a local shelter to take on a hike through their program Pound Puppy Hike. The Aspen Animal Shelter in Colorado has a Dog Walking Program that allows guests to help exercise adoptable dogs by going on long walks or hikes in the area, and Fairmont hotels lets guest borrow their canine ambassadors for hikes and walks in over eight locations. Both the Kauai Humane Society and the Maui Humane Society in Hawaii encourage visitors to take shelter dogs on field trips. Other shelters with similar programs include the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Montgomery County Animal Services & Adoption Center, and the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
Want more than one dog? Then visit Territorio de Zaguates, a no-kill shelter in Costa Rica, where guests can take scenic walking tours with over 900 free range dogs. Talk about doggy heaven.