Last month, we took a road trip with the girls to Nova Scotia on the East Coast. From Ottawa to Nova Scotia, it was a 16-hour drive (1,000 miles/1,600 km)! I knew the girls traveled well, so I wasn’t worried about taking them along for such a long distance. They were calm and slept most of the way in the car. Ally had the big pillow to herself and Lizzie preferred to stay on the floor behind my seat where she could stay close to me and get her chin scratched. We gave them all the space at the back of the car and still she stayed on the floor!
I was excited to bring them to the coast where I knew they’d love to run on the beach and go swimming! Funny thing is, Lizzie and Ally enjoy very different beach activities. Ally is your typical retriever, chasing after the ball, running non-stop and digging for rocks and shells in the sand. She follows us closely and never strays too far. I always tell her she’s my good girl because she listens so well.
Lizzie has different ideas of what fun on the beach means. She’s more like a hound dog, nose to the ground and looking for interesting (smelly) creatures. Because of that, she tends to stray a bit more and we have to watch her closely and call her back regularly. She found tasty mussels and didn’t hesitate to eat a few. I tried not to let her eat them, but she managed to sneak a few. Luckily, she has an iron stomach and never got sick. It’s amazing what they can eat sometimes!
Years ago, when they saw waves for the very first time, they wouldn’t go near them. They’ve gotten much better over time and now they go right in. Some beaches had smaller waves so the girls could swim more easily. Ally is a true retriever, not afraid of deep water and dog paddles with ease. Lizzie will only go in as deep as she can walk! When we threw the ball in the water, they’d both make a run for it, but Lizzie would stop and let Ally fetch it if it was too far out. Miss Ally was a bit of a ball hog, too. If Lizzie caught the ball first, Ally would try to take it from her right away. She’s always been that way from the day we brought her home at 8 weeks!
All in all, it was a good trip. I loved to see how happy the girls were running in the big open space on the beach, and how eager they were to explore new places along the coast. If I was to do it again, I’d choose a location closer to home, though. We did a lot of driving over two weeks, exploring the coast and going to different beaches. I would have preferred less driving time and more beach time!
A road trip to the beach with dogs isn’t for everyone, though. It’s a lot more work than if you left your pet at home (but not nearly as much fun in my opinion). They don’t travel light, they get covered in sand and salt water, they need baths, they need their daily walks, and can’t be left alone all day while you go to the beach or shopping. I knew that it was going to be a bit of a sacrifice bringing them along, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
If I can give you one piece of advice for traveling with pets, it would be to plan ahead and be well organized before you leave. Book your pet-friendly hotels ahead of time and make sure you pack all essentials and bring everything you need for your pet in case of an emergency. Traveling with your dog can be loads of fun, provided you have realistic expectations and plan well in advance. For me, the benefits outweigh the sacrifices by a lot, and I’ll probably be doing it again next summer.
Are you planning any travel adventures with your pup? Share with us in the comments below about what you’re looking forward to most!
Hi! I’m Fran and we are @lizzie.bear. I’m a mother of two kids and two furry girls, Lizzie and Ally. They are both Golden Retrievers but different in so many ways! We adopted Lizzie when she was two and one year later, we brought puppy Ally home at only 8 weeks old. The girls developed an amazing bond almost right away despite their differences. Lizzie is more of a people dog, craving affection and human contact, Ally is our happy-go-lucky tomboy! She’s all about balls, sticks, playing with other dogs and swimming like a true retriever. Lizzie and Ally share their love of food, adventures, snuggles and people (mostly me!).
My passion for photography started a long time ago but it became more serious when I decided I wanted to document the girls on our outings and at home. Hope you’ll follow along the daily adventures of Lizzie and Ally @lizzie.bear!