Vacations were created for extended recreation and temporarily taking a sabbatical from your everyday stressful circumstances. It sounds like an ideal concept. However, for me, the idea of vacations stresses me out even more. Sure, I have the typical vacationer’s dilemma wondering how will my job survive without me, will someone break into my house because they see an abundance of mail falling out of my unchecked mailbox, or what if there is an emergency and I am the only person who can fix the world’s problems? Sounds a bit neurotic I realize. I can’t help it. But the single thing that stresses me out more than anything else is wondering what I will do with my dog.
I struggle over whether to board him, ask a friend to pet-sit, or leave him outside and hope the neighbor remembers to feed him. None of these situations are ideal. I am convinced that boarding houses are really doggie jails and my little chihuahua will come out with a jailhouse tattoo and picking up a smoking habit. Asking a friend is also a grueling process because although I love my friends, I always question their living arrangements. Factors like having other pets that don’t get along with my puppy, whether or not they will force my dog to stay outside during inclement weather, and if they will spend enough quality time with my pooch to justify continuing my friendship with them when I return. Asking the neighbors to watch my little dog poses a similar concern and any harm that comes to my precious angel may result in the repeat of the battle between the Hatfields and McCoys. Most of the time, I end up picking fights with my husband until he has resigned to stay home or we end up doing the same camping trip that we do every year for the last decade of our marriage.
Pet lovers understand my dilemma. We are not the type of people that just like our four-legged fur babies. We LOVE them. Seriously… passionately… LOVE them. I am not ashamed to say that I love my little Tanner just as much, if not more than my teenagers. They are aware of this too. Tanner doesn’t give me attitude about cleaning his room or roll his eyes when I want to spend time with him. My teenagers have accepted that I love my dog more and therefore they have been reduced in ranking in our pack.
Many vacation destinations don’t allow pets which always causes me chest pains. However, it would appear that pet lovers have united and there has been a surge of new pet-friendly vacation spots. This has become such a huge relief for me knowing that I can continue my relationships with my friends and neighbors because the safety of my dog will no longer divide us. My husband is thrilled to be able to travel and sleep in a real bed instead of a thinly padded mattress in a cramped camper. Sure, I will continue to worry about how the world will survive without me in my short absence but it brings me peace of mind knowing that I no longer have to choose between caring for my dog and caring for my sanity.
Check out one of my favorite vacation spots in the North Georgia Mountains: